The Festival of Instrumental Music - Recorders


Public schools are invited to enter recorder players from Years 3 - 6. Schools new to the program are encouraged to apply. Comprehensive support materials and professional learning workshops are available for any school that applies.

  • Successful schools are selected for one performance only.
  • Individual students may only be nominated for one combined ensemble - either recorders or strings.
  • A non-refundable participation fee of $37.00* (plus GST) per student will be payable upon acceptance into the program. 
  • This festival allows students and teachers to access the 2019 repertoire and teaching CDs.
  • One teacher from each accepted metropolitan school MUST attend the Teachers’ Workshop at the Conservatorium of Music on Wednesday 13 February 2019. All NSW public schools will have access to comprehensive teacher professional learning. Teachers may opt to attend only the professional learning component of the program. The 2019 Festival of Instrumental Music Teachers Information Book and Repertoire Book will be available at this workshop.
  • Participating metropolitan schools must attend a preliminary rehearsal at the Salvation Army Congress Hall Monday 24 to Thursday 27 June 2019, 9:15 am - 1:00 pm. 

* As part of The Arts Unit's support of the Department of Education's Rural and Remote Education blueprint for action, we are excited  to be able to offer a Participation Subsidy of $20 to students from rural and remote schools to participate in the Festival of Instrumental Music. If interest exceeds available funds, allocation of the subsidy will be prioritised on remoteness. Subsidies will be confirmed with acceptance notification. 

The 2019 Repertoire

The recorder repertoire for the 2019 Festival of Instrumental Music has been carefully written and arranged to suit young musicians in their early years of instrumental training.  In 2019 three works will be presented: Three Brothers,  a specially commissioned work by Alex Cronin has already been released to schools that participated in the Festival in 2018; Simple Gifts, a traditional Shaker song, arranged by Tracy Burjan and Susan Sukkar; and finally, Andrew Robertson has composed a light hearted new jazz work, Blues For Suz, for the Combined Recorder and Combined String concert finale.  Please contact Susan Sukkar, Arts Coordination Officer, on 8512 1183 or email  or Susan Hill, Music Projects Assistant, on 8512 1185, if you have any questions. 

Soloist Applications
In 2019 we will feature a sopranino soloist in Three Brothers, and an advanced descant and advanced treble soloist in Simple Gifts - apply here.

Recorder Standard

Two levels of recorder players will be catered for: Descant II (formerly referred to as Beginner Descant) together with Treble II (with a 5 note range for players new to the treble) and Extension consisting of descants, trebles, tenors and basses.
Indicative ranges are as follows:

  • Descant II: D to E
  • Treble II: C to G
  • Extension (Descant and Tenor): C to A
  • Extension (Treble and Bass): F to D

Although the level of musical difficulty varies from the more elementary Descant II and Treble II and Extension parts, the main differences lie in the degree of technical fluency required and the amount of musical material to be learnt by students.

While all schools are encouraged to participate in the recorder program, generally recorder players in their first year will not have reached a sufficient standard to participate in the performance at the Sydney Opera House. As places are limited, please consider enrolling only your more senior students (Stage 3) for Opera House performances.

Instrumental and Vocal Individual Items

All primary and secondary schools are encouraged to submit outstanding music groups or soloists for inclusion in the Music Festivals. The item(s) may be vocal or instrumental, small or large e.g. a soloist, string quartet, concert band, percussion ensemble or vocal group. Applications open Monday 29 April and close Friday 31 May 2019. 

For further information concerning the 2019 Music Festivals, please contact Ian Jefferson, Student Music Programs Officer (K-8) at The Arts Unit, on 8512 1181 or email