17 January 2011
It's never quiet at Padstow Park Public School. That's because every one of its 340 students plays an instrument of some kind.
Padstow Park won the 2010 national FLAME Awards which reward and recognise Australia's inspiring school music programs. The school won a $10,000 cash prize as part of the award.
The school's eclectic music program includes an ensemble made up of recorders, violins, didgeridoos, laptops, African drums and instruments made from recycled materials.
What makes the program so successful is the involvement of teachers and students as fellow learners and performers. The older and more capable students teach others while the program occurs inside and outside school hours and draws on the cultural background of its students.
Music teacher Kay Taylor said every student attends at least one music class a week where they can experiment with a wide range of instruments and musical styles.
"The program teaches teamwork and cooperation, and motivates pupils who don't participate well in other classes," Mrs Taylor said.
"Most importantly we all have fun."
Late last year 200 pupils performed together on stage at school in the Music Count Us In Performance, 15 students were part of a mass recorder ensemble at the Sydney Opera House at the Festival of Instrumental Music and the school's choir was involved in the Schools Spectacular.
"The $10,000 we received as our prize money will be spent on instruments that everyone can use," Mrs Taylor said.
"I enjoy being a teacher and seeing the difference that music makes to children's lives."
Photo by Kay Taylor