The reputation of Rose Bay Secondary College’s Music Ensemble Program (MEP) has spread well beyond the school gates since it was first set up by parents and teachers in 2006. The program caters for students of all abilities and encourages them to learn music across a number of genres and has evolved into two concert and two stage bands, choir, percussion, jazz, string and vocal ensembles, and over twenty rock bands.
Our bands’ high standards have been acknowledged at the NSW Band Festival, the Sydney Eisteddfods and through excellent HSC Music results. Being involved in the MEP is a great way to meet students in other classes and other years and to become part of the college. Students improve their musical skills and create music, and being part of the MEP helps boosts confidence, teaches vital team skills, and the discipline of rehearsal and performance helps students in other areas of study.
Our MEP bands are regularly booked for youth and community performances including Bondi BLYMP, Carols by the Bay and the City to Surf Youth Stage, and have a number of performance opportunities during the year including school assemblies, Rose Bay Rocks, mid-year and end-of-year concerts, and soirees.
We are very lucky to have attracted some of the most talented musicians and teachers to our Music Ensemble Program all of whom have the ability to help students reach their musical goals with their dedication, support, encouragement and innovation.
The MEP is a Covid-safe space and follows all NSW Government Department of Education health and safety guidelines.
The MEP is also a NSW Government Creative Kids Registered Provider.
Meet our Director
Murray Jackson commenced in his role as Rose Bay Secondary College’s MEP director in 2013. He also heads the band programs at Clovelly Public School and Tempe Public School, and was previously the band conductor at Randwick Public School.
Murray is a saxophonist who has a Graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance from ANU. He also studied composition and arranging at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. He is a regular performer with many of Australia’s best jazz performers at venues throughout Australia. As part of the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra Murray has performed with many international artists including Chis Potter, Maria Schneider, Bert Joris, Jim McNeely, Miguel Zenon, Darcy James-Argue and Florian Ross.
For the past ten years, Murray has been developing his keen interest in band education and continues to seek opportunities to broaden his experience and knowledge in this fascinating area. He has also studied with John Lynch, Simon Thew, Steve Williams, Harry Beeth and Jerry Nowak. As part of his role as Director of the Music Ensemble Program at Rose Bay Secondary College, Murray conducts the concert bands, stage bands and jazz ensemble.
The MEP has the following ensembles:
- Senior Concert Band ** – for accomplished musicians with at least three years of playing experience
- Stage Band – an extension group for members of the senior concert band
- Junior Concert Band **– for musicians with at least one year of playing experience
- Junior Stage Band – an extension group for members of the concert band
- Rose Vox ** – choir open to all students
- Rock Bands Fundamentals (Year 9+ only) ** –
- Rock Bands – some proficiency on chosen instrument needed, and mandatory participation in a core ensemble program
- Percussion Ensemble – for percussionists, drummers and keyboard/piano players; other interested students are welcome to apply
- String Ensemble ** – a bespoke string ensemble that suits students of different capabilities
** are core ensembles. Participation into at least one core ensemble is mandatory. This is to ensure that students gain experience in a variety of styles and cover essential bases in their technical and musical development.
To see the MEP rehearsal schedule, visit here.
All students participating in the MEP (other than singers) are expected to have a weekly lesson on their instrument. Students may make their own arrangements for instrumental lessons or use one of the MEP tutors. All MEP tutors are extremely well qualified and many perform professionally as well. At the moment lessons are available through the MEP for the following instruments: voice, flute, clarinet, sax, trumpet, lower brass, violin, viola, bass, piano, guitar, drums, percussion.
Events & performances
Depending on Department of Education health guidelines, the MEP holds several major showcase concerts throughout the year including winter and summer concerts. These concerts involve all the participants in the program and are a fantastic opportunity for friends and family to celebrate the achievements of the students. They are held at the school and are also run as a fundraiser with a cake stall and raffle.
Other performance opportunities involve specific ensembles, at events such as band competitions and fundraising occasions or formal occasions at the school such as open day or presentation nights.
Presentation is an important part of any performance, so the MEP does have a uniform, to be worn by all students in all ensembles in all performances. Students who are not correctly dressed will not be allowed to perform. The MEP shirt is available from the uniform shop. It should be worn with black pants or skirt and covered black shoes. Black clothing should not have any writing visible and should be a flat material (not denim or a shiny fabric).
The MEP has some instruments for hire, allocated on a first come, first served basis. Instruments are usually hired for the full year and fees are paid at the beginning of hire. To hire an instrument please see the forms here.
The MEP is one of the largest co-curricular program at Rose Bay Secondary College, involving some 150 students. The program receives significant financial support from the college and employs a program director, conductors and a rock band director and tutor.
The program is managed by the director and the Head of CAPA in consultation with the Principal, and a subcommittee formed by interested parents on the P&C. The executive includes a parent chair person, treasurer, secretary and other parent volunteers. In 2023, the committee will meet twice a term on Mondays on the third and eighth week of term at 7.30 pm. Meetings will be online unless notified otherwise and everyone is welcome.
The parents on the MEP subcommittee are all volunteers, who became part of the committee through a desire to help and be involved rather than because of any particular experience or expertise. For those who don’t get involved in an ongoing way, there are plenty of one-off or two-off things to do. The MEP rule of thumb is that every family should help out in some way at least once a year, generally at a performance or fundraiser. Fundraising is always on the agenda, and makes it possible for the program to buy expensive musical instruments that can remain at the school such as pianos, tubas or double basses, provide skills development opportunities for all members and offer fee relief to dedicated students from low-income backgrounds.
Emails asking for parent support are sent out as required – please make the time to help out when you can. And if you have any ideas or suggestions, please get in touch – parent input is always welcome.
Communication is always a big issue at high school and we are endeavouring to get this as hole-proof as we can. For information, check:
- Your emails: this is our main form of communication so it’s really important we have your email address and that you let us know if it changes (send details to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- This website: rbscmep.com
- Instagram @rbscmepofficial
We welcome the involvement of all parents in this program. If you have ideas, suggestions or are prepared to help out in any way, please let the program director or subcommittee know.
Playing music is a rich and wonderful experience and we’re sure you will find the MEP at RBSC immensely rewarding. To help everyone get the most they can out of it, we ask that students:
- attend all rehearsals and performances, and
- are punctual, organised and respectful of conductors and fellow ensemble members.
We also ask parents to support their children, by:
- encouraging them to practise their instruments
- making sure they get to rehearsals and performances on time and in good order (eg in MEP uniform)
- coming along to performances and enjoying the fantastic results of everyone’s commitment and hard work.