Applications for entry to the SMP Programme for 2018 are now open.

    Key dates:


    Westburn School runs a Specialist Music Programme (SMP) that has two sections. The Specialist Music Group is for students between Years 5 – 8 who are accepted after a successful audition. Westburn School introduced a junior version of SMP in 2010 to provide appropriate music extension for even younger children. This is called Junior Extension Music (JEM) and is available, by audition, for children in Years 2-4.

    How is the programme run?

    There are 4 parts to SMP at Westburn School.

    1. Enrichment classes: These commence each Wednesday at 1.15pm in the music room and finish at 3.15pm. During this time students are tutored in specialised music topics such as the history of music, composition, movement and music and experience a variety of different styles of music. They also get the opportunity to belong to ensemble and chamber groups.
    2. Choir: As a member of SMP students are required to be at Westburn School by 8.15am on Wednesday for senior choir practice.
    3. Orchestra: As a member of SMP, students are required to remain at School on Thursday between 3 – 4.15pm for Orchestra practice.
    4. Performance: Throughout the year students will be required to attend and perform at various concerts.
      Some will be within school hours while others will be in the evening.

    SMP sessions

    DSC06130SMP is an auditioned programme with sessions that are held weekly, starting from approximately Week 5 of Term 1. They take place on Wednesday afternoons. Children come out of class to attend. SMP starts at 1.15 (15 mins before the end of lunch ) and goes until 3.15 (15 mins after regular school finishes). During this time the students spend some time on choral and orchestral ensemble work, some time on special topic work and some time in chamber groups. The type of special topic work varies from term to term and has included things such as:
    Composition, African Drumming, Samba Band, Musical Medleys, Cantatas – with singing and dance, Instrument and Composer Studies, Bell Ringing, Ethnic Music and more!
 Students in the programme are required to pay an SMP fee in addition to normal school fees.

    Chamber Groups

    From Term 2 students are placed in a Chamber Group with a dedicated tutor. They learn and rehearse a number of pieces for performances during the year. The make-up of Chamber Groups change depending on the students strengths. There are often String groups, a Woodwind group, a Vocal group and a Percussion group.


    SMP Camp provides an opportunity for all students to get to know each other and to integrate new students into the programme. It is usually held in the second weekend of Term 2. It runs from 5pm on Friday night through until around 8pm on Saturday evening.

    Parents volunteer to assist with food, travelling on the Friday evening to a ‘fun’ venue, supervision for sleep-over Friday night, helping with breakfast and lunch on Saturday and providing a plate for that evening’s light shared dinner.

    After going to a fun place for a couple of hours on Friday night, students sleep over in the administration block at Westburn School. During Saturday they attend workshops relating to music and think about musical goals for their year. Parents return for a small concert at 5.30pm followed by a shared dinner.

    Westburn Senior Choir

    IMG_1689All SMP students are members of this choir. The Westburn Senior Choir practise each Wednesday from 8.15am until 9.15am and is led by Jasmine Webster. The choir will usually be between 60 – 75 members.

    They perform at the North West festival in June, the Christchurch Schools Music Festival in October, throughout the year at events as required and at the end of year prize giving.

    They are a very motivated choir who pride themselves on performing to their best.


    All SMP students are members of the Westburn Orchestra.

    The Westburn Orchestra practices once a week on Thursdays after school and is led by Carolyn Pritchard. Depending on the year the orchestra will have between 40 – 60 members. They have strong string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections with many students learning instruments through the itinerant music scheme available at school. They play a variety of music to engage and stretch the children’s knowledge, appreciation and understanding of music. Their performances are keenly anticipated and of a very high standard.

    They perform at the North West Festival in June, throughout the year as required and at the end of year prize giving.

    Junior Extension Music (JEM)

    Junior Extension Music was begun mid-way through 2010 and by the end of that year, it became obvious that this was an aspect of the Specialist Programme well worth developing.

    It is a programme that is designed to extend musical children who are in Years 2-4 at school. Celia Stewart, an ex- music advisor to primary schools, takes this programme bases it on the music development of Carl Orff. Improvising and creativity are encouraged. It is taken on a Monday afternoon from 2 – 3pm. The children are withdrawn from their general class lessons to be part of this. Currently, there are two groups that run for 45 minutes each.

    It is an auditioned programme, which means that all children who apply must go through an audition of simple rhythm tests before being accepted. Students do not need to perform on an instrument, but are able to do so if they wish. Once a child has been accepted into Junior Extension Music, they do not need to re-audition each year to remain in it. However, if they wish to be part of SMP for Years 5-8 students, they must audition to be accepted, as the criteria and programme differ slightly from Junior Extension Music.

    This year, a new component will be added for Year 5 students only. In terms 2, 3 and 4, Yr 4 students will be given an extra weekly session to help prepare them to read and interpret music notation. This will be optional for students.

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