From the Principal - Rebuilding the village through music

Posted 26 September 2019 4:39pm

People are returning to live music concerts in droves. More tickets were sold in Australia in the last year than any previous year. At the heart of these real-world experiences lies the importance of human connection. Music is for the benefit of all, not just the enlightened.

We hear a lot about the mainstream concepts of automation and the possible elimination of many tasks which, until now, have been delivered by humans. Many question, somewhat fearfully, what will happen to the values and relationships that have shaped our modern world? We are told of the benefits that new and emerging technologies, such as AI and mass automation, will bring to our lives, but even those tasked with creating and constructing the technologies have little understanding of the effects they will have on our societies. And yet, despite the proliferation of screens and social media, or in fact perhaps because of this, many young people are seeking out more tactile, tangible and physical experiences in this ultra-high definition environment we call the ‘real’ world.

I invited a committed musician, Emma McMaster (Year 10 Deakin), to take me into her world, and help me understand her passion for music. She shared the following:

1. Tell me about your first memory of the time you decided you loved music?

From a young age, I’ve always had a sense of motivation and passion driving me forward. Whether it’s exploring unique opportunities or learning additional skills, I bring these values to every experience throughout my life on a personal and professional level.

My first memory of deciding I loved music was when I moved on from violin to trumpet. Trumpet is my main instrument which has delivered many exceptional opportunities. I decided I loved music through playing the trumpet; at first, it was something I did but proceeded to become something I pushed myself to improve and develop.

2. What is your favourite instrument, and have you tried other instruments? How do you choose?

My favourite instrument  is trumpet because it has a large range of what you can do with it; not only with stylistically, but physically. The trumpet can be used in classical, jazz, fanfare, pop, and much more. As well as this, the tone of the instrument is beautiful when there is commitment to it. I also have tried violin, French horn, guitar and voice. Although I continue playing guitar and singing regularly, I find that trumpet still attracts my attention the most.

3. The statement below describes the CGGS music program. As a music student, how do you feel and see examples of the impacts of such a purposeful goal? The School’s music program creates a culture of respect and trust, setting the stage for girls to collaborate, experience empathy and develop a sense of our shared humanity.

I find the School’s music program does create a culture of respect and trust. Making a safe and secure place for girls to develop their musical abilities is a vital part of a school community and is achieved through the Music Academy. Through music, it is evident there is collaboration between different ensembles and choirs which is very significant. An example of this is through the Gala Festival that was held just last week on Friday, 20 September when all band groups and choirs came together to recite a piece at the start. At the Fete, the Adelaide Avenue Jazz Band and Decibelles choir will be combining to create a beautiful set to perform. As demonstrated, this is a highly purposeful goal and makes an exceptional difference in the music academy.

4. What broader life lessons have you learned from music and your involvement in music?

Through music, I have learned that to achieve something, you must keep learning, there is no end; in fact, I was once told that as you get older, you don't learn more but question more and have more to learn. In conclusion, I have also learned that life is not fair, and you must work for what you want; probably one of the most vital pieces of advice I have received.

5. What advice would you give Years 3 or 4 girls who are considering taking up music as a co-curricular opportunity?

The advice I would give is to not stress. Music is something that you should love doing and be surrounded by. If you are going to utilise your time in something, you should love it. Try various instruments and choose your favourite! Practise hard and don't push yourself too hard. Make sure to just have fun with it too, your teachers, classmates, and older music students are here to support you and help you with your music adventures!

I believe this is the most important advice someone can give to a beginning musician.

We look forward to continuing to share the fruits of these rich, broad and varied musical experiences with the whole Canberra Girls Grammar School community.

Thank you Emma, it was fun!

Anna Owen

Photo below: Emma McMaster playing the trumpet.