About the Music Programme
The music programme is adapted each year to adjust the interests and strengths of students. The following are currently available:
- There are about 250 students learning instruments from twenty specialist itinerant teachers who visit the school weekly. Instruments available include violin, flute, keyboard/piano, drums, guitar, bass guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, vocals, beatboxing, bagpipes, Scottish drumming and cello.
- There are a number of instruments available for hire to students.
- School orchestra. All students are welcome to join the orchestra as soon as they have basic skills on their instrument. Most music is especially arranged for the players and some repertoire is selected by the students.
- Jazz band. This group provides an excellent opportunity for students to combine classical music skills (such as reading and technique) with more contemporary sounds (such as drum kit and bass guitar). It exposes them to a variety of jazz styles, such as blues, Latin, swing, and ballads. It also gives them experience in combo and big band settings, and gives them some contact with the jazz standard repertoire. It is particularly good for developing their rhythmic feel, and jazz students are able to learn skills of improvising, trading, jazz scales and chords, and phrasing and articulation. They perform at JazzQuest and have achieved bronze, silver and gold awards at this high school event as well as awards at the NZSM Jazz festival in Wellington in 2011 and 2012. The band has many opportunities to gig and tour. They performed in an international Festival in China in 2019.
- Rua Te Kakano and Pasifika. Chisnallwood School has strong Maori and Pacific cultural groups taken by Te Huaki Puanaki, Miss Woodall and Mr Enosa.
- Theory club. This popular after-school club learns music theory through interactive games as well as working through conventional theory books with the opportunity to sit exams at any level.
- School production. In alternating years the school puts on a production (or movie) which involves many music students either in the orchestra or singing on stage.
- Percussion/Marimba ensemble. This group is available to any student interested in playing percussion instruments, including drum kit, marimba, and even “found” instruments such as 44-gallon drums. They perform annually at “Re-Percussion” an end of year concert for all ChCh percussion groups hosted by Pandemonium, and perform in the annual Marimba Festival, now “Strum Strike and Blow” for primary schools.
- Ukulele Band. Ukuleles as well as rhythm section. They performed at Chartfest in 2010, coming 2nd in the schools competition and also came 3rd in the Auckland Kiwilele competition in 2011. The group has performed in Auckland as part of this festival a number of times. They hosted the ChCh 2012 Uke Fest and have been a strong part of the Strum Strike and Blow Festival since it began in 2013.
- Recorder ensemble. This is for recorder players. The school has bass, tenor and alto recorders available and plays at the Strum Strike and Blow festival.
- Irish/Celtic Band. This group features stylistic playing and instruments such as fiddle, tin whistle, recorder, bass, guitar etc.
- Choirs. The Performance Choir is taken by Jody Keehan. The choir takes part in the Christchurch School’s Music Festival as well as other performances such as the popular secondary schools’ Voices Festival. The choir learn theory and vocal technique as well as performance repertoire.
- Rock Bands. Groove, ensemble skills, rhythm section, vocal technique, stage presence, song writing, setting up a PA. They have the opportunity to perform at Rockquest, BandQuest and Pasifika Beats. Many bands from Chisnallwood have made it to the regional finals at RockQuest, a competition for high schools. Since BandQuest started in 2011, our bands have won 1st place the regional finals 8 times, over 30 individual and song writing regional awards, and 4 national awards including 1st in the national finals in 2017 and 3rd in 2019.
- Technical skills. Interested students are trained in sound production, lighting, camera, recording and other technical aspects supporting music performance. Training happens in the April holidays for this.
- Computer music. A well-equipped computer music lab and recording studio is available for students.
Other possible smaller ensembles:
- Saxophone ensemble. Taken by Jody Keehan and performs in term 4.
- Flute Ensemble. For flute students to develop ensemble skills.
- String ensemble. For Violin, viola, cello and double bass students.
- Brass group. A group for any brass players. A mixture of fanfares, chorales and fun repertoire.
- Chamber group. Small groups of players are selected to play in chamber groups. In this environment students are solely responsible for their part. There is no conductor so they must learn to listen and work together. They came first in the 2009 ASB Primary School’s Chamber competition.