Excellent HSC Results for 2011 plus advice on getting high marks

Results for the 2011 Higher School Certificate exam are out, and all the  Jazz Workshop Australia students have done well in music, many brilliantly.

One highlight was Edward Tan, who attended Port Hacking High School. He scored 100% in Music Extension for performance. But there were lots of really good results. Carlo Antonioli scored 97/100 in Music 2 and 49/50 in Music Extension. Edward and Carlo were both saxophone students of Richard Savery.

Brian Heo, drum student of Jamie Cameron, scored 97% in Music 1. Nick Henderson (bass student of Saul Richardson) and Freya Edwards-Fitzsimons (trumpet student of Andy Fiddes) also scored high “Band 6” results. “Band 6” refers to those students scoring 90% or higher, and is the top result in HSC courses.

Also, four JWA students were nominated for “Encore“, the Board of Studies showcase of outstanding HSC performances and compositions. These included Nick Henderson (for composition), Brian Heo (for performance) and Edward Tan (for performance).

In total seven Jazz Workshop students sat for HSC music exams this year, and six of them achieved Band 6. The seventh was just one mark away from Band 6 on 89%, still a High Distinction. The students with the highest marks all had at least two years of experience playing in a jazz combo. All but one of our high achievers had at least two years of experience playing in a jazz combo. Every high achieving JWA student who played all or mostly jazz in their performances also played in jazz combos. Every one of our “Band 6” students specifically asked their JWA teacher for help preparing for their Music HSC.

Of these students, five played programs of exclusively or mostly jazz repertoire.


How to  give yourself the best chance at high marks

The key to doing well in HSC music is probably a mix of several fctors, but a couple of things always seem to be linked to Higher School Certificate succes:

1. The choice of pieces is crucial. You must select repertoire that allows you to demonstrate the kinds of thing, in the kinds of way, that HSC music demands. If you ignore this, you probably don’t have any realistic chance of doing very well.

2. You need your private instrument teacher to work with you through the year on helping you select repertoire and preparing you for the performance exam. You should ask them to do this. If they can’t or won’t, just find a new teacher a soon as you can (if HSC music is important to you). Even here at JWA, some of the teachers are not interested in or knowledgable about HSC music – their strengths are in other areas. Don’t pick a teacher just because they are a famous player, it means nothing when it comes to teaching. Find someone who knows what you need, understands HSC music and has a good track record. We have teachers like that too, and if you are one of our students then you should make sure you are working with the right person.

3. You have to work hard over the whole of Year 12. You can’t leave music to the last minute, not in HSC music. Virtually noone does well that way.

4. Be realistic about how you really compare to other musicians around the state. Hear other people play, and get objective assessments of your own playing. Your school teacher and your parents cannot give you an objective assessment. Just because you are top of your class doesn’t mean you are top of the State.

5. Get as much experience as you can playing regularly in small ensembles and as a soloist. If you are going to play jazz, then you should play in jazz groups. Not just a big band or stage band, but a combo where you have to develop independence and solo/small ensemble skills. If you are playing classical music, play in a chamber group. Get as music performing experience as you can.


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