Instrumental Music School Services

Music is one of the five art forms within the arts learning area. It contributes to both the overarching outcomes and the four arts-specific outcomes of the curriculum framework and the specialised study of instrumental music further enhances student learning in music.

IMSS, formerly known as SIM, provides instrumental music services to Ocean Reef Primary School in Years 5 & 6. Through a selection process, outlined below, the school currently offers 5 guitar and 5 flute places to students starting in Year 5 which continue into Year 6.

In addition to weekly small group instrumental lessons, students have opportunities to participate in enrichment music activities which combine students working collaboratively across year levels and with students from other schools.

In addition to the IMSS programme, students at ORPS have the opportunity to join the school’s Drum Corps from Year 4.

Student selection and student commitment

Criteria for selection

To be accepted into an instrumental music program, students must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Scoring on or above the threshold mark in the Musical Aptitude Indicator. Students who apply for selection into instrumental music should generally achieve a score of 20 or more on the Music Aptitude Indicator or its equivalent on another musical aptitude test.
  • willingness to participate in the instrumental music program
  • enthusiasm and aptitude for music as demonstrated through participation in the classroom music program
  • adequate parental support (parents are interviewed wherever possible)
  • appropriate physical characteristics (for example, length of arms for trombone)
  • ability to meet the requirements of the program (students have to come out of other classes for their instrumental lesson and must be prepared to practise daily).
  • Teacher judgement based on their knowledge of the student.


Selection procedures

It is not possible to offer instrumental music tuition to all students; a careful selection procedure must therefore be followed.

Aptitude testing is arranged at the students’ schools and is administered by the school staff at a convenient time in Semester 2 of the previous year. Potential students will then be assessed on the other criteria and shortlisted. Instrumental music teachers will confer with school staff over the physical factors influencing selection of students for their particular instrument.

As more than one instrument is offered at the school, there is collaboration between all teachers in making the final offers. Students must be made aware of the range of instruments on offer to them and given the opportunity to state a preference.

The choice of offered instrument remains with the school, although students and their families will be consulted.


New classes should normally be operational in Week 2 of Term 1. However, Term 1 school activities such as swimming classes sometimes delay the commencement of classes.

Commitment to work

It is expected that students who are offered a position are prepared to consider commitment until at least the end of Year 10, and will plan to continue music studies at a secondary school that offers the instrumental music program for their instrument. Once a place has been accepted and lesson begun, it is very difficult to reallocate the space if a child withdraws.

Students have access to Department instruction on one instrument only.

If a student is learning from a private teacher they may not learn the same instrument from a Department teacher. This is to avoid conflicts of interest in teaching methodology. A student may, however, learn an instrument privately and play in an ensemble conducted by Department teachers after audition, and at the discretion of the ensemble director.

In the metropolitan area, information evenings for parents of beginner students are organised by the Instrumental Music School Services (IMSS) in Week 8 of Term 4. Details of these are posted on the IMSS website.

Whilst the tuition is free, there are costs associated with learning an instrument. Flutes can be hired, through the school, for the first year of learning but the correct specification classical guitar must be purchased at the start of the programme. Additional costs include music stands, books, tuners, etc. Further information about purchasing the correct instrument is available at

Before accepting a place in the program, careful consideration should be given by both students and their parents to the commitment required to learn instrumental music, particularly in the event of a clash with other interests such as sport, ballet, PEAC classes. Overcommitment in a number of activities making competing demands on student time is a big factor in student drop-out from instrumental music in the first two to three years.

For more information about Instrumental Music Services for Schools visit

Can I borrow an instrument?

Flutes are able to be hired for the first year of learning, at a cost of $110 but guitars have to be purchased right at the beginning. Parents are also responsible for buying additional items such as music stands, footstools, books and other sundry items.

When purchasing a guitar, a specific type of guitar is required. More information is available on their website here