Creative and Performing Arts

A modern approach to instrumental practice
Currently students enrolled in Secondary elective Music classes here at the College are exploring new ways and strategies to improve and enhance their instrumental practice time at home. Students have been engaged in evaluating their development of learner attributes along the learning progressions used to measure competencies relating to the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) 6 Competencies. Music students have focussed on the competency character to support and develop their ability to deep learn, and to equip themselves with the essential social and emotional character traits of self-directed learning, including grit, tenacity, perseverance, and resilience; the ability to make learning an integral part of living; and to proactively change outcomes for themselves and potentially others.

One of the learning dimensions that has had a considerable impact on Music students approach to instrumental practice is that of leveraging digital. This entails student’s engagement with digital resources to enhance their ability to learn from and reflect on their learning and the development of traits such as grit and tenacity. In other words, when a student gets stuck on something when learning a new piece of music, they identify strategies that make use of digital resources to get themselves back on track. Students have numerous digital resources at their fingertips that can assist in learning an instrument including sourcing practice resources relating to their instrument. This may include a metronome app, sourcing and/or editing digital scores/charts, engaging with instrumental tutorials online that provide real-time feedback, making use of a recording application to document and evaluate performance progress, and sourcing and/or creating backing tracks. These tools have never been easier to use and access.

In the younger years, parental involvement in children’s instrumental practice is extremely important. In her paper Learning a musical instrument: The case for parental support (Article in Music Education Research March 2014), Dr Andrea Creech explored ways in which parents may most constructively support their children’s musical development. She concluded:
“The extent to which parents engaged in various types of support was found to vary according to interpersonal relating style, and the interaction types in turn were found to impact on learning outcomes. Learning outcomes, including enjoyment of music, motivation, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and personal satisfaction with music lessons, were found to be enhanced when parents:
a) elicited their children’s views regarding appropriate parental involvement
b) negotiated with their children over practising issues, within parameters set by the teacher
c) provided a structured home environment for practice
d) took an interest in promoting good teacher-pupil rapport
e) communicated with the teacher in relation to the child’s progress
f) remained as a supremely interested audience.”

The need for student’s practice time to be efficient, and their use of effective strategies to be tailored, has never been more important given the context of their lives, as children are now engaged in far more activities before and after school hours than ever before.

Instrumental Teacher Profile
Amanda Hovenden has been listening to and creating music from a very young age. When she was 5 she began learning the Violin through the Macquarie Conservatorium in Dubbo.

In 2016 she moved to Newcastle to continue her musical studies and in 2018 completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Violin Performance, with Distinction and a Faculty Medal. During this time Amanda received several awards including the Valasi Bleazard Memorial Scholarship in Music, the Friends of the University of Newcastle Music Scholarship and The Con Ellis Prize.

While completing her degree Amanda performed regularly with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra, University of Newcastle Orchestra and numerous small ensembles around Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast. She also began teaching Violin to students around Newcastle and built up a private teaching studio. Amanda enjoys the challenge of discovering the best way to teach each of her students and encourage them to discover their musical potential.

Amanda is currently completing her Master of Teaching degree at the University of Newcastle while continuing to teach and perform in and around Newcastle.

Currently, Ms Hovenden is a member of the College String Team, and conducts both the College’s Year 3 and 4 Violin and Intermediate String ensembles.

At Bishop Tyrrell we offer Instrumental lessons with some of the most qualified and experienced Instrumental teachers in the Hunter region. Lessons are currently available online before, during and after College hours throughout the week – according to the availability of the individual tutors. Please click on the Instrumental Music Lessons tab on the College Caleb Co-Curricular page and you will be directed to the available instrumental teaching staff and gain access to their College contact details.

Gareth Ross
Head of Creative Arts and Performance