Music Skills Workshop Day and Concert


On Friday 17 May the second Music Skills Workshop Day and Concert were held at Coonabarabran High School. For this event, various musicians visited the school and ran workshops with small groups of students to help them learn new musical skills and develop their existing techniques.

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David Henry, a professional trombone player from Sydney, ran some brass workshops via Skype. He worked with three school students (Caleb Smith, Alexander McWhirter and Lachlan Eshman) individually before conducting a group session. The three students workshopped a brass trio and performed this piece at the concert in the evening.

Paul Armstrong ran guitar workshops for the guitarists in Years 9, 10 and 11, as well as a beginner guitar group with some younger students. Paul furthermore worked with one of the school’s bass guitarists. The Year 9 to 11 guitarists all rehearsed and workshopped a piece called Nothing Else Matters and this piece also featured in the concert that night.

Mr James Moffatt worked with a group of 13 students and taught them drumming techniques in a very dynamic and engaging workshop.

Ex-student Annie McKinnon visited all the way from Sydney. She ran composition/song writing workshops with the Year 9/10 and later the Year 11 Music students. Annie played some of her songs to students and engaged the Year 9/10 students in some “one-note” performances as well as rhythmic compositions. She worked with the Year 11 students on writing a chord progression as a starting point for a song. Students joined in by playing guitar and piano and, together with her, created some chords for a song. In the last session, Annie spoke to the Year 12 Music, D&T, Art and Photography students about some of her installations and portfolio work.

Jenny Binovec, the assistant director of the Riverina Conservatorium, ran workshops with clarinet, saxophone and flute students. She worked with these students in small groups. Jenny then workshopped two woodwind ensemble pieces with the students, which they performed at the concert. Jenny also worked with the school’s Jazz Band during the last session.

In the evening, the presenters and music students performed in a music concert. Thirty four students performed to a large audience. The guitar ensemble, brass trio, woodwind ensemble and jazz band performed pieces they had workshopped during the Music Skills Day. Other performances featured the school choir, the Year 12 Music students, solos by Milly Smith, Liam Russell, Angus Lambert (with Mr Paul Armstrong) and Lachlan Meier, as well as a group item by Liam, Angus and Jayden Moore. Paul Armstrong, Jenny Binovec and Annie McKinnon also entertained the students and audience members with some stunning performances.

A very big thank you goes to all of these presenters for taking time out of very busy schedules to work with the students of Coonabarabran High School and for their beautiful performances. The students benefited a lot from these sessions and learnt many new skills. We hope to see them again soon!!

Mrs Aimee Rossler