About Grammar


Music at St Ives

Music has a central place in the culture of the whole school.

At St Ives, class programmes teach five basic areas of elementary music – singing, moving, creating, listening and playing. Lessons on most orchestral instruments are available from specialist tutors and a number of choirs, chamber groups, ensembles and a full orchestra rehearse each week. Recitals and concerts are held regularly. There are also occasional opportunities for musical tours away from the School.

Music Lessons

Many boys enjoy learning a musical instrument at Sydney Grammar School.

The School has a specialised music teaching staff offering tuition on a wide range of instruments, most of which are available to hire.

As well as weekly lessons on a chosen instrument, there are many opportunities to participate in the musical life of the School through ensembles, orchestra, recitals, group lessons and chamber music groups. Every two or three years a tour is conducted. In the past we have visited Perth, the North and South Islands of New Zealand and, most recently, Singapore.

We offer tuition on the following instruments:

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Violoncello
  • Double Bass
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Alto saxophone
  • Cornet
  • Trumpet
  • French horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone/Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Piano*
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Orchestral Percussion
  • Taiko Drumming – group lessons offered to boys in Years 5 and 6 only

*Availability of an acoustic piano in the home is preferred. However, a digital piano that meets the following specifications is acceptable for beginner level up to Grade 4:

  • Keyboard size – 88 notes
  • Action – weighted and touch sensitive keys
  • Pedals – fixed and functioning as for acoustic pianos

Instrumental Music for P–2

To boys in the P–2 Department we offer piano, violin, cello or double bass lessons.

These are instruments that can accommodate younger players. Flute, clarinet, trumpet or trombone tuition may be possible after consultation with the Director of Music. There are string ensembles  and performance opportunities for Infants boys.

Lesson Times

Music lessons are scheduled for each week of the term.

Lessons for boys in Years K-6 are scheduled between 8:40am and 3:00pm on a rotating basis throughout the 10 period day. If a boy learns two instruments through the School, the lesson time for one instrument will take place outside school hours. For parents who wish to attend their son’s beginner lessons, we endeavour to find a suitable time.

Discontinuing Music Lessons

To withdraw your son from music lessons at School after his first year of learning an instrument, written notice must be received by Friday, Week 5 of a term, to take effect from the end of that term.

Missed Lessons

If your son fails to attend his allocated music lesson time it will be counted as having been given.

In the event of illness or injury, 24 hours' notice to the Main Office and the Music Office is required. If the Headmaster grants leave and your son has a music lesson, separate notification to the Music Department is required.

Fees 2019

Music lessons for Preschool boys may commence in Semester 2 after consultation with the Director of Music.

The lesson duration for Preschool boys is 20 minutes. Boys in K-6 receive 30 minute lessons.

P   $623 Semester II (14 lessons)
K-6 $1,068 Semester I (16 lessons) $934 Semester II (14 lessons)

Extra Lessons

If, after your son has received 30 lessons there are still teaching weeks remaining, you may arrange with your son's music tutor for extra lessons. Payment for these lessons will be added to your next school account.

Instrument Hire

The School has a limited number of instruments available to hire for a period of one year.

This gives the boys an opportunity to test their skill and interest and delays the purchase of an instrument. However, after this period, parents are expected to buy an instrument (although the more expensive instruments may be excepted). When allocating instruments for hire, preference is given to boys starting an instrument. Hire fees are $55 per term and are billed to your School account twice a year. Instruments should be clearly labelled with your son's name and current class on the outside of the case and contact address and phone number inside.

Repairs and Damage

If an instrument is damaged in any way DO NOT try to repair it yourself as instrument repair is a specialised field.

Bring it to the Music Department where the damage can be assessed and a repairer contacted. Maintenance costs will be met by the Department but parents are responsible for the cost of any damage to school instruments. As the School's insurance policy does not cover loss or damage to instruments, we recommend coverage be made through your own insurance policy.


All ensembles are graded so that boys work together at the appropriate level of performance.

It is expected that boys who learn an instrument through the School will participate in the ensemble programme. Places in advanced ensembles are determined by the Director of Music. Boys who learn an instrument either at school or outside are welcome to join. Places are granted with the understanding that a year's commitment is expected by boys learning either in or outside School.

AMEB Examinations

Boys are encouraged to sit for AMEB examinations as advised by the boy’s music tutor and the Director of Music.

If, when the time comes, a boy is considered to be underprepared, he may be withdrawn from sitting for the examination after consultation with the Director of Music.


Vocal and Instrumental Scholarships providing a remission of music tuition fees are offered by audition in Year 5 to boys entering Year 6. Application forms are available from the Music Office towards the end of Term 3.


Commitment to Lessons

Sometimes we forget that music is an art form.

Mastering new skills takes time and practice. You will make the best progress on your instrument if you can remember these things:

  • Be organised for your lesson by being on time and having your music and instrument with you.
  • Listen to your teacher and practise the things you work on in your lesson.
  • Remember to read your Music Record Book for your teacher's practice instructions for the week.
  • Remember that the saying “Practice makes perfect” applies to YOU and regular home practice (most days of the week) will help you make the best possible progress and accelerate your enjoyment of music!

Commitment to Ensembles

Remember that when you are in an ensemble you are part of a team.

Morning rehearsals begin at 7:30am and all boys are expected to arrive 10 minutes beforehand to unpack and tune. If, for any reason, a boy cannot attend his ensemble rehearsal, an explanatory note to the conductor is appreciated.

Music Calendar

1 Tue 23-Jul-19 Term 3 Commences    
  Fri 26-Jul-19 3-6 Athletics Carnival Homebush All Day
  Sat 27-Jul-19 Singapore Tour Rehearsal St Ives 1:00-5:00pm
2 Mon 29-Jul-19 Taiko Snives Ensemble Room 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 30-Jul-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
  Thu 1-Aug-19 P-2 Athletics Carnival Cowper Fields 12:30-2:30pm
      Combined Bands Concert JVH College St 6:30pm
  Fri 2-Aug-19 Twilight Concert Ensemble Room 3:30pm
3 Mon 5-Aug-19 Taiko Snives Ensemble Room 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 6-Aug-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
      Group Homes Visit Garrick Road St Ives 1:15pm
  Fri 9-Aug-19 Twilight Concert Ensemble Room 3:30pm
4 Mon 12-Aug-19 Taiko Snives Ensemble Room 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 13-Aug-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
  Fri 16-Aug-19 Hansel and Gretel Performance Hall 7:00-9:00pm
  Sat 17-Aug-19 Hansel and Gretel Performance Hall 2:00-4:30pm
5 Mon 19-Aug-19 AMEB rehearsals this week    
      Taiko Snives Hall 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 20-Aug-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
      Group Homes Visit Garrick Road St Ives 1:15pm
  Thu 22-Aug-19 Classical Guitar Concert AMT College St 6:30pm
  Sat 24-Aug-19 AMEB Rehearsals Ensemble Room All Day
6 Mon 26-Aug-19 AMEB Rehearsals this week    
      Taiko Snives Ensemble Room 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 27-Aug-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
    Group Homes Visit Garrick Road St Ives 1:15pm  
    COLLEGE ST Term 3 Concert JVH College St 6:30pm  
  Fri 30-Aug-19 Twilight Concert Ensemble Room 3:30pm
  Sat 31-Aug-19 AMEB Rehearsals Ensemble Room All Day
7 Mon 2-Sep-19 AMEB Examinations this week Various All Day
      Taiko Snives Ensemble Room 1:00-4:45pm
  Tue 3-Sep-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
      Group Homes Visit Garrick Road St Ives 1:15pm
  Thu 5-Sep-10 Singapore Tour Orchestra Rehearsal Hall 8:40am-1:05p
  Fri 6-Sep-19 Cushion Concert Hall 6:30pm
8 Mon 9-Sep-19 Year 6 Study Tour Canberra 9 - 11 Sept    
  Tue 10-Sep-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
      Group Homes Visit Garrick Road St Ives 1:15pm
  Wed 11-Sep-19 Year 5 Study Tour Bathurst 11 - 13 Sept Bathurst  
9 Mon 16-Sep-19 Taiko Hall  
  Tues 17-Sep-19 Lunchtime Concert Ensemble Room 1:30pm
  Sat 21-Sep-19 Singapore Tour Orchestra Rehearsal Hall 1:00-5:00pm
10 Mon 23-Sep-19 Taiko Hall  
  Tue 24-Sep-19 Term 3 CONCERT Hall 6:30pm
  Wed 25-Sep-19 End of Term   3:00pm
  Thu 26-Sep-19 Singapore Orchestra Tour departs    
  Thu 3-Oct-19 Singapore Orchestra Tour returns    


Prompt arrival at all rehearsals is expected: Remember that if, on occasions, a boy is unable to attend, a note of explanation to the conductor is appreciated:

Monday 7:30 – 8:00am Beat Buster Percussion, St Ives Brass
Lunch Flute Ensemble
Lunch. P9, 3:00pm and 3:45pm Taiko Groups
Tuesday 7:30 – 8:15am Senior Strings, Maffey Strings
Lunch Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble,
3:00 – 3:45pm Bambini and Pennington Strings
Wednesday 7:30 – 8:15am RJ Stevens Wind Ensemble
7:30 – 8:00am Barrios Guitar Ensemble
Lunch Bergonzi Strings
3:00pm Bassoon Quartet
Thursday 7:30 – 8:15am Amati Strings, Sartory Strings, RJ Lee Singers
7:30 - 8:00am Blues Guitar Group
8:00 - 8:30am Alhambra Guitar Ensemble
3:00 – 3:45pm Kenyon Concert Band
3:00 – 4:30pm School Orchestra
Friday 7:30 – 8:00am Behind Bars Mallet Percussion, Ogden Guitar Group
Lunch Percussion Powerhouse ,Kain Guitar Group
3:00pm Arcangelo Strings