Phoenix College students learn from the best

Phoenix P-12 Community College students rehearse a song together.
Phoenix P-12 Community College students rehearse a song together.

PHOENIX P-12 Community College musicians are learning from the best. 

The school is hosting a nine-week program with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music alumni providing training for its students. 

The Smith Family program, known as SmArts, will culminate in the students performing at Federation Hall, Southbank, in September. 

Smith Family Ballarat team leader Brenton Hancock said schools did not always have access to such highly skilled professionals. 

“They have so many different ideas and different music they can teach the students,” he said. 

Melbourne conservatorium alumni and freelance music teacher Vanessa George was at the College on Thursday to inspire the students.

“Trumpets give me more, ‘this is the moment. This is the arrival of Superman’,” Ms George said. 

“What do you guys think? Should we swing it or play it straight?” 

Ms George said she wanted to give students a voice throughout the program. 

“Music is what got me through school. Without it, I don’t know where I would have ended up,’’ Ms George said.

“I get to share what I love about music.”

Year 12 student and clarinet player Michelle Clark said she has found the program invaluable. 

“I’ve learnt different techniques, different ways to read and think about music,” she said. 

School head of music John Netherway said students came from a  variety of backgrounds, and the conservatorium teachers offered the students invaluable exposure to different types of music. 

“I’m not a trained brass player, so it’s great to get trained brass players of the highest level come in and teach them,” Mr Netherway said.


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