Changing attitudes

November 09, 2017

McGuire College music co-ordinator Gabrielle Ryan with students who are practising for the Victorian School Music Festival.

McGuire College music co-ordinator Gabrielle Ryan conducts practice for the Victorian School Music Festival.

Students from Shepparton’s McGuire College are gearing up to take part in an experience their teacher hopes will transform their approach to music.

As part of the Victorian School Music Festival, Years 7 and 8 students, with mentors from Years 9 and 10, will form a young concert band and perform in front of hundreds of festival goers and esteemed musicians.

The event, on November 13, is something their music co-ordinator Gabrielle Ryan believes could change the students’ attitudes towards music.

‘‘It’s fantastic, for their music it’s fantastic because it really raises the standard of what they play, and it raises the standard of their own skills,’’ Ms Ryan said.

Bands from all around Victoria will be taking part in the event, offering a new competitive scene for the students.

For many of the students, the festival is the most significant competitive event they’ve performed in, offering the chance to be placed on the stage in front of professional adjudicators.

But Ms Ryan said the experience could really push the students.

‘‘I think it will be nerve wracking, because the performance venue is quite big and has fabulous acoustics, so really I think when they walk out there they’re going to be a bit intimidated,’’ she said.

‘‘So we’ve been doing special practises, just to make sure we’re fine-tuning how they sound as a band, and a lot of them have been practising really hard.

‘‘The kids really have to reach the standard though, it makes them work hard and it helps them to step up a notch for next year.’’

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