At St Ursula’s College all students have the opportunity to develop their musical abilities and potential. All students study Music at some stage either as part of the curriculum or through their involvement in extra-curricular programmes and ensembles. Music is seen as an important part in the education of the whole person and plays a part in producing confident and well rounded individuals. The College is equipped with a music complex that consists of two classrooms, a band/orchestral rehearsal space, three teaching studios and a large store room. All rehearsal spaces and studios are equipped with a piano and there is access to computers in the band/orchestral rehearsal space to support and enhance student learning. All students have the opportunity to build essential skills in music composition through the use of specialist music computer software programmes that include Sibelius and Finale. The music learning programmes are well supported through the performance opportunities that are available within the College. Students regularly perform at College events such as Assemblies, Masses and Liturgies. In addition there are also several concerts held each year, ranging from elective showcase evenings to larger scale concerts such as the annual Music Extravaganza held with Marist College Kogarah. Participation in external competitions and eisteddfods is also encouraged as a means of extending and enriching talented music students within the College.
Stage 4 (Years 7 and 8)
This is the Compulsory course and students study Music for one semester each year. In Year 7 students learn about the music concepts (pitch, duration, dynamic and expressive techniques, tone colour, texture and structure), the instruments of the orchestra and Australian Music. They learn the skills of playing the keyboard and singing using these as a performance tool within the classroom. In Year 8 students learn to play the guitar through a study of early popular music and continue to build their understanding of the music concepts.
Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10)
Students have the opportunity to study Music as either a 100 or 200 hour elective course. This course forms the foundation for the study of Music in the senior years. During Stage 5 Music students study the mandatory topic of Australian Music and a variety of other topics that include; Music for the Theatre, Popular Music, Baroque Music, Classical Music, 20th Century Art Music and Music for Film, Television and the Media. Within these topics listening, composing and performing activities are always integrated into the student learning programmes. Students studying Stage 5 Music are encouraged to commence (or continue) private tuition on their chosen instrument as well as join a College Music Ensemble to enable them to become more confident performers.
Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12)
Both HSC Music Courses are offered, Music 1 and Music 2. Outstanding Music 2 candidates also have the option of taking Music Extension. Music 1 is a two unit NSW Board of Studies HSC course that caters for the majority of students studying Music in Stage 6. It allows students to specialise in Popular Music styles as well as the flexibility to study more traditional genres if desired. In the HSC year students are also able to specialise in the area of performance, composition or musicology. In addition all students must perform one piece and an aural examination as part of the mandatory requirements of the course. Music 2 is also a two unit HSC Course developed by the NSW Board of Studies that focuses on the history of Western Art Music from 1600 to the present day. It is a demanding course designed for students who have an extensive musical background. In the HSC year students complete the following mandatory components; core topic Music of the Last 25 Years (Australian Focus), core performance which includes sight singing, core composition and a ninety minute musicology and aural examination. HSC Music Extension can be studied by Music 2 students in Year 12. This course allows students to specialise in performance, composition or musicology at an exceptionally high level.
Through playbuilding and a range of other dramatic contexts, the students are able to develop creativity and confidence. As the students progress from Stage 5 to Stage 6 they are able to devise exciting and increasingly complex performances drawn from a variety of dramatic traditions. They learn performance styles and techniques from different cultural traditions and historical periods and skilfully incorporate these into their own devised performance works.
The College is equipped with an air-conditioned Drama studio which provides an excellent learning environment for the students to explore all areas of making and performing theatre. Evening performances in the Drama studio showcase the students’ work for parents and friends.
The Drama department promotes students’ involvement in Theatresports which develops their skills in improvisation and performance. Teams are entered in the Theatresports Schools Competition. In 2008 the Senior competition team and in 2009 the Intermediate competition team reached the Grand Final at Enmore Theatre.
The learning activities in Drama develop from and reinforce the Catholic ethos of the College. Students build on the whole-College culture of mutual trust and cooperation. Their work is mutually enriching and, through their interaction with each other, they develop not only the academic but also the spiritual dimension of their lives.
Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10)
Students complete 100 hours of study. They are required to engage in an integrated study of the elements of Drama through the compulsory context of playbuilding and at least one other dramatic context. The other contexts that the students study include Commedia dell’Arte and Shakespeare. Students may also choose to study Drama for another 100 hours in Stage 5. This involves exploring aspects of Drama in greater depth through playbuilding and other dramatic contexts. This additional content includes study of Melodrama and Improvisation.
Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12)
Students engage in the practices of making, performing and critically studying. Improvisation and playbuilding are key components of the Preliminary Year course. The students are also exposed to variety of theatrical traditions and performance styles. For the HSC course, the students are required to complete an individual project, chosen from a range of options including performance, design and script writing, and they must present a self-devised group performance. They also study two other topics, Australian Drama and Theatre and Studies in Drama and Theatre. Each of these topics involves the study of two plays within the context of the society and culture from which they have come.