How do students get involved in the Programme?

Any New Zealand primary school student can audition to become a member of the Westburn Specialist Music Programme (SMP). There are no ‘zone’ restrictions on students but successful applicants must enrol and attend Westburn School. Students wishing to join SMP are invited to audition during term 3 of the year before they wish to start. At the audition students are asked to play a piece of music with their instrument(s) (including voice), and respond to a few ear tests. A panel of 3-4 members of the SMP council consider each applicant and advise within 10 days the outcome of their audition.

Students are required to audition successfully once during their time at Westburn School. In the early years, if a student is not successful, it may be suggested they re-apply the following year. Application forms can be obtained from the Westburn School Office.

When does the Westburn Specialist Music Programme start?

A Parent Information Evening is held in Week 2 or 3 of Term One and Westburn SMP usually starts in Week 5 of Term One

What responsibilities / commitments do students have while they are part of the programme?

Students are expected to attend all choir practices, SMP classes and orchestra practices. As SMP classes are run during the school day, each student is required to find out what essential information they may have missed from the class they would otherwise have been in and obtain notes where necessary. They can choose to organise a buddy system where they obtain information from another student from their class who is not a member of SMP or seek out the relevant teacher and ask for information from them.

What Performances must Westburn SMP students attend?

It is expected that students will attend at all times when SMP students are requested to perform. Should a student be unable to attend a performance due to other commitments or illness, early notice to the teachers is appreciated.

The following is an example of performances students may be involved in during a year:

  • May: Camp
  • June: Open Night (evening), North West Festival
  • July/August: Daffodil Day Performance at National Bank (during school time), First Assessment Concert (evening)
  • Nov/Dec: Second Assessment Concert (evening)
  • December: Retirement Homes ( SMP time at school), Carol Singing in the Mall (evening)

This list may vary from year to year but is a guide. Chamber Groups may also be asked to perform from time to time. Tutors try to advise students of coming events with as much notice as possible.

What happens at an Assessment Concert?

There are two Assessment concerts each year. They are held in the evening and usually start at 7pm. Each child is asked to perform with their preferred instrument (including voice) while a panel of two assessors (one person is usually from the SMP council) listen and write notes. These notes are written to give feedback about their progress while they are in the programme and provide a framework for opportunities for improvement. They are of a most positive nature. They are handed to the students at their next SMP lesson.

Students are also asked to perform a piece (or pieces) with their chamber groups. Parents, family members, students’ music teachers and anyone else students may wish to invite are welcome to attend.

What is the dress code for Westburn SMP Performances?

There are two dress codes for SMP Performances.

For Assessment Performances, boys and girls are required to wear black and/or white clothing, including black or white shoes.

Unless advised otherwise, for all other performances students are required to wear the Westburn school Performance Uniform.

  • Girls: Pale blue long sleeved shirt, tartan skirt or pinafore, green tie, white socks, black shoes.
  • Boys: Pale Blue long sleeved shirt, grey shorts, green tie, long grey socks, black shoes.

Where do SMP Students get their uniform from?

Shirts and Ties are hired from Westburn School at a cost of $20.00. Please note: $10.00 will be refunded when the items are returned cleaned and in good condition and the other $10.00 will be placed in a replacement fund for the future. They are issued to each new student prior to the 1st performance of the year.

SMP Students retain their hired pieces of the ‘performance uniform’ until they leave Westburn Primary School permanently.

What fees are payable for being a member of Westburn SMP?

The current annual fee per student is $320. This fee includes costs of tutors, materials, computer programmes, some instruments, music stands and general maintenance.

What Scholarships are available to members of Westburn SMP?

Two Scholarships are currently available to students of Westburn SMP. They are:

  • Soroptimist Music Scholarship: Each year, a new entrant into Westburn SMP is awarded this scholarship by the Christchurch Chapter of Soroptimist International. The recipient of this award is determined at the SMP auditions. Funds (currently $750) are given on the understanding they will be used to further the recipient’s tuition and learning in their chosen musical field. Each recipient is also asked to perform at one of the chapters meetings in the following year.
  • Stewart Family Trust Award: At the end of each year a Year 8 student of Westburn SMP is awarded this scholarship. The recipient of this award is determined by the contribution the student has made during their time at SMP and their musicianship. The amount currently offered is $1000.

As well as scholarships, Westburn School awards two music trophies at the end of each year. One is a general prize available to all students; the other is awarded to an SMP student.

The Trophies are:

  • Pritchard-Badger Cup: Achievement in the Specialist Music Programme. This is awarded to the recipient of the Stewart Family Trust Award.
  • Hassall Family Cup: Achievement in Music.

What ongoing musical education is available on leaving Westburn School?

Students are welcome to audition for the Specialist Music Programme at Burnside High School. (NB: Being a member of Westburn SMP does not give a student automatic acceptance into the Burnside High School SMP Programme.)