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.

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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*
  • Classical Guitar
  • 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 Preschool – Year 2

To boys in Preschool – Year 2, we offer piano, violin, cello or double bass lessons.

These are instruments that can accommodate younger players. Boys in K-2 have the opportunity to join a string ensemble. We also have training flutes and fagottino bassoons. Preschool boys may learn from Semester 2 (on assessment).

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

Fees 2023

The lesson duration for Preschool boys is 20 minutes. Boys in K-6 receive 30 minute lessons. Fees are billed to parent accounts twice a year.

P $698.33 Semester II (14 lessons)
K-6 $1197.13 Semester I (16 lessons) $1047.48 Semester II (14 lessons)

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.

Applying for Music Lessons

To enrol your son for individual instrumental tuition, please complete the application form via the link below.

Music Lesson Application Form

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.

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 $57.50 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.


Instrumental, Vocal and Composition Scholarships providing remission of music tuition fees are offered by audition to Year 5 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.


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, Year 3 Cello Ensemble
Lunch Flute Ensemble, Carrington Cellos, Percussion Powerhouse, Blues Group
3:00pm - 3:30pm Thundersticks Percussion
Tuesday 7:30 – 8:15am Senior Strings, Maffey Strings
Lunch Snives Jazz Ensemble
3:00 – 3:45pm Murray and Pennington Strings
Wednesday 7:30 – 8:15am RJ Stevens Wind Ensemble, Bergonzi Strings
7:30 – 8:00am Barrios Guitar Ensemble
7:55 - 8:25am Year 2 Choir
Lunch Alhambra Guitar Ensemble
Thursday 7:30 – 8:15am Amati Strings, Sartory Strings, RJ Lee Singers
Lunch Ogden Guitar Group, Saxophone Ensemble, Blues Guitar
Lunch and Choir Periods Taiko Drumming Years 5 and 6
3:00 – 3:45pm Kenyon Concert Band, Noiseworks
3:00 – 4:30pm School Orchestra
Friday 7:30 – 8:00am Behind Bars Mallet Percussion
7:30 - 8:15am School Choir
3:00pm Arcangelo Strings