Performing Arts

How learning to play an instrument enhances all learning

Have you ever wondered why awards for academic excellence and leadership in schools are received in disproportionate numbers by students who also learn and play a musical instrument?

Did you know that the University discipline with the highest academic requirements (Medicine), is also the only tertiary faculty that typically fields its own complete music ensembles outside of the Music faculty – not just in Australia, but all around the world?

New studies have revealed that engagement in learning and playing an instrument enhances social and cognitive functions such as mental focus, spoken and written language, self-control and empathy – all considered powerful tools to enable young people to make sense of the world.

Research has also proven there is a clear correlation between engagement in learning and playing an instrument, and brain development in young people, even from infanthood.  Please take the time to view this short clip. 

There have also been numerous controlled and published studies revealing that on average, students who learned to play a musical instrument for a number of years, and were now involved playing in a school band or orchestra, were the equivalent of about one academic year ahead of their peers with regards to English, Mathematics and Science skills.

What is the significance for your child? Why should you consider enrolling your child in instrumental lessons at Bishop Tyrrell?

In 2013, Google founders revised their previous hiring algorithms after reviewing their managers/staff performances.  They identified skills such as communication, insight into others, cooperation and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and ability to make connections across complex ideas, were imperatives and consistently evident among their top employees. What this shows is that these qualities, which are inextricably linked to involvement and ongoing experiences in learning and playing an instrument, enhance all learning and are integral in preparing students for the real world – regardless of their future career endeavours.

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 both on the College Campus before, during and after College hours and online throughout the week, according to the availability of the individual tutors.  For details on the Instrumental Music Lessons, click here to visit the Co-Curricular page on Caleb.


The College would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Joshua Rea who joins the College Instrumental Staff team, teaching both Cello and Piano.

Joshua is a multi-instrumentalist teacher and performer from Newcastle, Australia.  Born in the UK, he was taught and progressed through the grades on piano and cello, completing grade 8 with distinction on both instruments at the age of 14.  Upon moving to Newcastle at aged 15, he continued his musical journey through high school, followed by completing a postgraduate Bachelor of Music, majoring in Cello performance, from the University of Newcastle.

Joshua has been teaching a variety of instruments for a number of years now, as well as writing with various artists, touring and recording as a session musician under the Universal Music label and restoring vintage pianos through his side project ‘The Glassfront Project’.  Through the years, Joshua has continued to learn and develop his skills in many musical directions. He now performs and records on a professional level on six different instruments.

Gareth Ross
Head of Creative Arts and Performance