Music at Essington

The Essington International School Darwin commenced its music education program in 1999 and has continued to build and expand its programs since.

Music is valued at the school as a rich source of expression, inspiration and pleasure for all students. The School’s philosophy is that there are many good reasons why it is important for a child to learn a musical instrument. Educationally there is much evidence to show improved intellectual and academic performance among children who make music. The most important reason, however, is that playing a musical instrument is a pathway to self discovery and to the joy of music making with others. Our major goal in Music is the development of the individual child’s skill, sensitivity and imagination in music.


All students from Transition to Year 7 participate in classroom music education programs based on their competency and interest. Classroom music is part of the primary curriculum program for all students with interest and extension groups as needed. All students in Years 3 to 5 are able to learn to play the violin, viola or cello as part of their classroom music program free of charge.


Students in Years 8 to 10 are able to complete various music programs through their Middle Schools elective program.


The 2005 national review of music education in Australian schools recognised the importance of music in the school curriculum. In this review The Essington School Darwin was identified as one of the ‘exemplary’ music schools in Australia. Since then the School has continued to develop its music programs across the school.

Specialist teachers are employed on a sessional basis to teach piano, keyboard, violin, guitar, and recorder. Students are also able to take lessons at the school in most instruments. These students make up our School various wind and ensemble groups at the school.

The Essington School Darwin strong foundation in music learning and appreciation is recognized in its successful entries in the North Australian Eisteddfod. Students win or are highly commended for many of the events they have entered.

The School provides opportunities for students to undertake singing lessons on a one to one basis or in small groups. A number of choirs are conducted during the school day. These choirs have been highly acclaimed and have achieved excellent results at the annual North Australian Eisteddfod. School Choirs are often requested to perform at community events and at shopping centres and other public places. The school sees itself as a part of the Darwin community and encourages its students to join in community events and performances.

How to ensure success and joy with instrumental and vocal music

As a parent, your support and encouragement is invaluable to your child’s success in music. Here are some suggestions on how, together with the music teacher and the school, you can help your child enjoy and succeed.

At home:

  • Praise and encourage your child – positive reinforcement goes a long way. Make sure you show interest in what he/she is learning and don’t make fun of any “funny” sounds!
  • The first few years are not so easy – don’t expect too much too soon; it takes effort to achieve.
  • A regular routine for practice is vital. Set aside a quiet area free from disruptions such as TV, telephones and brothers and sisters.
  • Make sure your child has access to the resources required – reeds, strings, tutor books valve oil etc
  • Piano/keyboard students need a backless seat for correct posture, with the keyboard at a suitable height. Your teacher will advise you.
  • For players of hand held instruments and vocalists, a music stand is essential. It encourages correct posture and tone production, resulting in better sound and minimal fatigue and strain when playing.
  • Make sure our child has a safe and secure place to store his/her instrument and that the instrument is well cared for.
  • Use the Music Practice Book effectively – be sure to sign and comment each week. This provides an open line of communication between you, your child and the teacher. It also shows your child you value his/her practice and progress.
  • The teacher will encourage your child to set personal goals each week. Congratulate them when they achieve these – every small step counts.
  • Help your child to take personal responsibility for the privilege of learning an instrument –your child should be responsible for taking the instrument , Music Practice Book, music and other relevant equipment to school on lesson day as required.
  • Plan ahead for the provision of an instrument – compare prices, budget for the instrument if necessary and look out for the quality re-loved instruments. Hiring an expensive instrument for a couple of terms is a good idea in case the child does not take to that particular instrument. W
Waiting until school commences is too late.
  • Encourage a love of all music and explore other music experiences – concerts, music libraries, classical radio, music shops and internet sites.
  • Encourage your child to play for friends and family at gatherings (but don’t force them). This shows that you are proud of their achievements and will build their self esteem at the same time.
  • When the going gets tough, try not to let them quit! Talk to the teacher and encourage your child to work through the tough times and to learn that practice and perseverance brings many rewards.
  • At school
  • Lesson time is precious – ensure your child is on time for lessons, rehearsals and performances
  • Attend your child’s performances – assemblies, workshops and concerts – it will mean a lot.
  • Stay in touch with the teacher through the Music Practice Book and don’t hesitate to engage in personal contact .
  • Ensure classroom work does not suffer. Students should be conscious of lessons missed and complete the required classwork.
  • Don’t over extend your child. Instrumental/vocal music needs out of school commitment. Consider how many activities your child is participating in eg. Sport, dance etc and help him/her maintain a healthy balance.

Become involved in the school’s music program – it will help the school, you’ll meet like-minded parents, and you’ll have fun!

Some words of wisdom from parents

“Singing to me is like chocolate, it’s addictive and makes me feel good afterwards (singing is better for you though). I love singing to fun songs and listening to music. If you feel bad you can start singing and you will feel better"

“I like singing because it’s fun and I get to be with my friends. It also releases my soul to the world of happiness, no seriously.”

“We tell her we are proud of her ability to play an instrument.”

“My child sometimes finds it easier if practice time is split between morning and afternoon.”

“Times of low interest are tolerated as the child’s interest will return – ups and downs are inevitable. Praise is essential to encourage perseverance.”

“My child limes me listening to his playing, I make sure I set that time aside.”

“Encourage your child to listen to other mediums of music, for example CDs and the radio. Go to concerts too.”

“Allow kids to select their own practice time and stick to it. My boys prefer to practise straight after dinner – not when they arrive home from school.”

“Our son knows that we enjoy hearing him play – every musician needs an audience no matter where they are and this encourages him to practice.”

“When my children were members of school ensembles and bands they would practice so they didn’t let the team down.

“He plays and records his music to send back to England for his grandparents to enjoy.”

“Praise any progress or improvement and support them when there is a difficulty – you don’t need to be a musician. What you need is just a slightly better problem-solving skill.”

“get involved in the Music Parent Support Group and you will get to meet and talk to other parents – this really helps.”

Music Practice……. What can parents do?

Engage ask what your child has been asked to practice

Encourage be very warm about wanting to hear your child play

if necessary!

Ensure that the student is on task, adopting good posture, not watching TV, eating, or I-podding at the same time.
Enlist the support of the whole family – although ‘strange’ or accidental notes and squeaks may be heard these may not be wrong – a masterpiece is in progress.
Even Bach and Mozart had to start somewhere!
Enthuse use heaps of positive reinforcement, even if the practice has been quite short

Enthuse your child’s progress by capturing their achievements in practice, in photos or in a recording (well –maybe)

Otherwise, just
Encourage, Listen, Encourage, Listen

The Essington School Darwin Instrumental/Vocal program

  • Students will be required to purchase all books, accessories etc as directed by the music tutor.In order to progress, students will need to practice at least five days per week for a length of time as suggested by the music tutor.
  • Unacceptable absences will incur a fee.
  • A Music Tuition Statement provides further details and is provided along with the Music Application Form.
  • Where possible, students are required to be actively involved in the school ensemble group 
program, including attending ensemble rehearsals and performances.
  • Many performance opportunities are made available to students, including weekly assemblies, lunch time recitals, night time recitals, Graduation nights, and the school’s yearly Celebration concert. The school band, ensemble groups and choirs also perform at out of school venues.
  • Students are encouraged to sit for music examinations with the Australian Music Examinations Board and other music examination bodies, although it is not a strict requirement.
  • Parents are invited to join the school’s F.O.E.M. (Friends of Essington Music) group with a view to assisting our music teachers as they develop the school’s music program.

For further information regarding the Instrumental/Vocal program, please contact the Music Director on (08)89850190 who will provide you with a Music Application and Music Tuition Statement.

I look forward to the growth of self-esteem, excitement and joy your child experiences while striving for excellence in his/her chosen musical field.


Essington recognised for its ‘outstanding’ music education programs

In 2005 the Australian Government funded the University of Western Australia to complete a National Review of Music Education. In early 2006 their report was released. The Essington School Darwin was identified as one of twenty two ‘outstanding’ music education programs in Australia. Two Northern Territory schools were indentified and The Essington School Darwin was the only primary and secondary (middle) school to be identified.

What the National Review Report said about our Music Education program

“the music programme (only five years old) attempts to offer a wide variety of performance experiences. The school has a culture of affirmation about music and there are music symbols everywhere attesting to this”.

“The school seeks out the best teachers and invites them to teach at the school.”“In addition to educating students about music the school strongly supports music education for parents of students and the professional development of its music teachers”

“There is no doubt that the implementation of a music programme has been highly successful at TESD”.“One of the major success factors (for being highly successful) is that the principal and music coordinator both have a strong vision for music education at TESD and are highly creative in finding means to achieve their goals. Both the principal and the music coordinator are passionate about the value of music making in children’s lives and have a strong working partnership to make ‘music live at Essington’”.

“The entire school community from the top down (Principal, teaching staff, students and parents) positions music as something to be valued. The high status, profile and worth of music are well supported by TESD’s value-added approach to the curriculum, which allows for music to be nurtured, developed and expanded”.“The School is constantly looking to and learning from the experiences of other schools nationally and internationally to source ways and means to develop their music programme”.