What is a typical SMP student’s school timetable like?

  • Year 9 SMP students will have a subject timetable much the same as other year nine students, consisting of core/compulsory subjects (Maths, English, Science, PE/Health, Social Studies) and optional subjects, one of which must be Music.
  • SMP students will be placed in a Performance Music form class where all students are selected on the basis of a strong musical background. These classes are of above-average academic ability. The Performance Music (9PMU) classroom course is of a more advanced level than general music classes (9MUO) and covers areas such as Music Theory, Aural, Composition, Music History and Ensemble Performance.
  • Year 10 – 13 SMP students must select Music as an option.
  • Timetabled lessons are five hours per fortnight in Years 9 and 10.
  • NCEA Music courses in years 11 to13 are timetabled for four hours per week.

Do SMP students spend time out of classes that they then have to catch up on?

No. However, as with all BHS students, if SMP students miss classes due to a school trip or illness they are expected to catch up on any work missed.

What SMP activities take place after school?

  1. Private weekly instrumental/vocal lesson
  2. SMP workshop and all associated concerts, masterclasses and activities as arranged by the director
  3. At least one large ensemble e.g Orchestra, Big Band, Senior Choirs
  4. Chamber music
  5. Personal practice

How long would an SMP student be expected to practice each day?

  • All SMP students should allow at least one hour per day for practice on their first instrument by the end of year 9.
  • String players and pianists will generally have to allow more than this amount of time for practice due to the technical demands of playing their instrument to a high level.
  • Students learning a second instrument will also have to allow more practice time.
  • Singers tend to spend less time on the actual voice, but will need to allow time for learning languages and words as there is an expectation that all songs will be performed from memory.

Do students have to play more than one instrument to be a member of SMP?

No. SMP is about specialising in one instrument.

What competitions are students likely to compete in?

  • Chamber Music New Zealand Schools Competition
  • New Zealand Choral Federation Big Sing
  • Barbershop
  • Rockquest
  • JazzQuest
  • NZSM Jazz Competition
  • KBB Orchestral Competition

Are students able to belong to non-music groups, eg. sports, at the school as well as being in SMP?

Yes. All Burnside High School students are encouraged to take part in a sport. SMP students and parents are given the general advice that activities should not impinge on individual practice time. Students must not commit themselves to activities that clash with SMP workshops.