About The Specialist Music Programme at Burnside High School

The Specialist Music Programme (SMP) at Burnside High School is for students of high musical ability.

It is expected that they will have a commitment to Music as a focus of study throughout their time at Burnside High School. Students are required to audition for this programme and, if successful, will be placed within the West Division Performance Music Class. Students unsure of their level of achievement are encouraged to audition.

About the programme

  • Performance
    • Solo performance on chosen instrument or voice
    • Keyboard skills (for non pianists)
    • Choral singing
    • Ensemble performance – Junior Strings, Junior Concert Band, Junior Jazz Band, Junior Choir, Junior Guitars
    • Chamber Music
    • An extensive range of co-curricular ensembles
  • Composition
  • Musical Knowledge
  • Aural Skills


  • Chamber Music is a compulsory part of the SMP from Year 10 for instrumentalists, and vocalists as appropriate. Students may be asked to participate when they are in Year 9 if an appropriate group is available.
  • Students involved in a BHS chamber group are not permitted to be part of any other external chamber group (either competing or non-competing).
  • Students in the Programme are required to pay SMP fees in addition to normal school fees.
  • Students in the Programme are required to continue learning their main instrument at their own expense and from a teacher approved by the Board of Studies. (Please contact the HOD Music, Burnside High School, if you require advice on this).
  • Students must play a full part in the various musical activities of the Programme and School Music Department, both within school time and outside school hours in co-curricular activities. SMP students are expected to be a member of one large ensemble, such as Orchestra, Big Band, Bel Canto, Malestrom or Aurora Voices. Chamber Music becomes a compulsory part of the SMP from Year 10 for instrumentalists and vocalists as appropriate.
  • Students are expected to keep up to date with their class school work and associated homework in all subjects.
  • Students admitted to the SMP must remain in and complete the programme to at least the end of Year 12. Advancement in successive years is dependent upon on-going satisfactory progress. The SMP tutors liaise closely with the HOD Music to ensure any concerns about student progress are identified as early as possible.
  • SMP Students must choose to study Music as a curriculum subject for as long as they remain in the programme.