Mrs Jenny Groom has been teaching music at Canberra Girls Grammar School for as long as most current students can remember - and she has many stories to tell. The Junior School’s four Music Captains sat down with her and asked her about all things music.
Navya Weerasinghe (Mackellar) asks, How long have you been working at CGGS?
“I’ve been working here since 2000, I first started in the Senior School when Ms Hur had her baby. Then I disappeared for a couple of years and started in the Junior School in 2003.”
Sarah Goswell (Gilmore) asks, What do you love most about teaching young people about the importance of music?
“What I like about teaching music is that we have lots of fun, and it’s very much about having fun together. In a lot of other subjects, you’re working on your own, whereas music is all about working with other people. And also music helps us in lots and lots of other subjects like Maths and English, so through music we learn many other things. Being an IB World School helps people understand the transdisciplinary nature of music and other subject areas.
“Music brings joy to everybody’s lives, especially last year we saw how important music, and the arts, were when we were in lockdown. A lot of people turned to the arts as a way of getting through really hard times.”
Nevanti Wickramaratne (Bates) asks, What is your favourite music-related memory from your time at CGGS?
“From a personal point of view, the tour of Europe two years ago with the choir. Being in places where Beethoven had been, and Mozart, walking into concert halls where they had performed.
“But the funniest memory is of the Gala Performance a couple of years ago…we hadn’t practiced with the orchestra on stage and there were massive cymbal crashers and Minisingers hadn’t heard the orchestra play before. They reacted in two ways – the first was to crawl under the choir risers, holding their hands over their ears because it was so loud. And then the others decided they wanted to be percussionists so they stood on stage and every time the cymbals crashed, they would pretend to do the same thing! I don’t actually think many people ended up paying much attention to the orchestra!”
Lucy Kordaris (Chisholm) asks, Do you have a favourite instrument?
“I know the piano should be my favourite instrument, because it is my main instrument, but the French horn is my favourite. I haven’t played it since Mrs Tatchell’s farewell (2009) and it’s been sitting at the repairers for a couple of years.”
Navya asks, If you had to listen to one piece of music for the rest of the year, what would it be?
“The theme music for Inspector Morse, go figure! It’s got a beautiful horn passage in it, but in the background the violins play Morse code of the word ‘Morse’. It’s a beautiful piece of music.”
Sarah asks, What is your favourite year, from Prep to Year 6 to teach?
“Not Year 4 PE, which I did yesterday and it didn’t work too well! Usually, it’s Year 5, because they’re at that point where they are starting to understand more and they can do more, in a musical sense.”
Lucy asks, Who is your favourite composer?
“It changes. When I was at school it was Mompou, who wrote impressionistic piano music. But now, I’d still go with the impressionists, so probably Debussy.”
Nevanti asks, Would you ever consider teaching Junior Primary?
“I have taught Junior Primary, at PLC in Melbourne my teaching load was Prep to Year 2 and Year 10 to Year 12 – the two extremes of the school. But I think while Mrs David’s here, I’m quite happy for her to have the little ones!”