About the Eltham High School Music Program

About Eltham High School

Eltham High School has a strong connection to the artistic and architectural heritage of Nillumbik — something that the school has been associated with on an ongoing basis since the school’s founding in 1926. This association includes many prominent local architects, builders, building material suppliers and mudbrick house owners being Eltham High School Alumni. In 1989 Eltham High was the first school to receive the Premier’s commission for the “outstanding contribution made to the State of Victoria”.

Another key and close relationship is that between the School and Montsalvat, with many of Montsalvat’s artist community attending Eltham High School, the Montsalvat Board’s support of the School’s Arts students and co-exhibitions, and Montsalvat’s strong support of the Mudbrick Tour in recent years.

In the last 80 Years Eltham High School has established a tradition through its strong commitment to the areas of inspiring through excellence, creativity, individuality and social justice.

About the Eltham High School Instrumental Music Program

The Instrumental Music Program at Eltham High School has grown from its inception in 1980 to be nationally renowned for its excellence and recognised as one of the finest of its type in Australia. The program involves more than 350 students with four Wind Ensembles, three String Ensembles, three Jazz Bands, one Choir, and students have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of Chamber Ensembles.

All year seven students are provided the opportunity to take up an instrument for the first time, from the full range of brass, woodwind, strings and percussion.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.



The vision for Eltham High School’s Music Program is to promote a life-long love for music and the creative process. At Eltham we believe in educating the whole child and by providing opportunities in music we ensure that your child is given every opportunity to develop in all dimensions of educational and human experiences. Instrumental music at Eltham provides students the opportunity to expand their educational horizons and to take part in the rich and vibrant cultural life of our school.

Balanced alongside the development of the physical and technical skills of playing and performing, the Music Program at Eltham High School encourages students to become creative thinkers, build strong friendships, socialise with students in other year levels and develop the confidence to perform publicly. We emphasise the importance of developing leadership skills and involvement in team environments, while increasing self-confidence and a strong sense of ownership and belonging.

The Instrumental Music Program is a very important part of the school curriculum at Eltham High School and is viewed as an integral part of a student’s total development. It is certainly not a coincidence that many of the strongest academic students in the school are also students involved with the Music Department. All ensembles are built around a strong sense of community, dedication and pride. What the students in our Ensemble Program achieve is outstanding and requires an extraordinary commitment.

Representing Nillumbik

All of the instrumental bands and ensembles at Eltham High School achieve outstanding results each year at the various music eisteddfods and festivals in the State. In 2019 we will play and compete at events including the Royal South Street in Ballarat, the (National) Generations in Jazz competition in Mount Gambier, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Wind Symphony Day, Victorian Schools Music Festival (VSMF) and Boroondara Eisteddfod at Hawthorn Arts Centre, Clasax Competition at Fintona Girls School, CAVE Performance and the Essentially Ellington Competition.

In 2018 our Concert Band and Symphonic Band both achieved Platinum standard at the VSMF, the highest level possible. Our Jazz bands regularly achieve top three placings at Generations in Jazz, with individual players being selected to be part of the “Super Bands”. Our bands and ensembles place in the top three at the Royal South Street each year, most recently in 2018 with first places by Concert Band, Intermediate Band, Jazz Band, and Junior Strings; Symphonic band placing second; and Stage band and Senior Strings placing third in their respective sections.

The Eltham High School music program allowed me to further develop musicality and achieve excellence through the phenomenal band program. Eltham always supported me as a student and the care and dedication the teachers exuded allowed me to achieve my personal best academically and musically.

Gabriella Alberti Class of 2015

Overseas Tours

Students involved in the Music Program will be provided with many life-changing opportunities. 2010 saw the Symphonic Band, the most senior of our four Wind Ensembles, visit Beijing and Shanghai with performances at the Forbidden City Concert Hall Beijing and at the Oriental Art Centre Shanghai.

In December 2014, Symphonic Band toured Washington, New York and Chicago. As part of this tour students had the opportunity to perform with some of the world’s greatest composers and educators, as well as attend concerts by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The United States Air Force Band.

In December 2017 the Symphonic Band toured Japan, once again representing Eltham on the world stage, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Students attended a masterclass with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and workshop/performed at the Tokyo International School, Shinonoi High School, Nagoya College of Music, and Otemon Gakuin High School, and attended the Kobe Japan Australia Society.

In 2019 Symphonic Band will workshop with The Royal Australian Air Force Band and undertake a music tour of Brisbane, with a Tour to the US Midwest being planned for 2020.

Eltham High School Mid Year Concert 2015

Our contribution to the Nillumbik Shire Community

The Eltham High School music department supports many of the Primary and High schools in Nillumbik through mentoring and assistance in setting up and running their own music programs, and providing access to our practice and performance facilities. Talented primary school musicians are invited to join the music program at a suitable level, in some cases the intermediate or concert bands. The reputation of our music program draws new residents to the Eltham area so that their children can take advantage of the amazing opportunities it presents.

Eltham High School is a focal point for visiting local, city, regional, interstate and international schools, universities and professional musicians, conductors and bands that workshop and perform pieces with our students. In 2018-19, we hosted the Brigham Young University wind symphony, who visited from Utah USA; Sri KL International School Malaysia; Guest Conductor Jason Issac; Melbourne University Percussion ensemble; and the Christian College Geelong.

We also commission and play music compositions by local composers, for example the extraordinary “Moondani Black” by St Andrews resident Taran Carter, a memorial to the events and victims of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, and “Somewhere Near 1770” by Taran Carter, inspired by and chronicles Joseph Banks’ time on the Endeavour during its historic trip to Australia in 1770.

Eltham High seizes opportunities for our musicians to play within and for the local community, supporting the Anzac Day dawn service for many years, the annual Eltham Jazz Festival and the Mudbrick Tour itself.

Eltham High School and Friends of Music

The Eltham High School Friends of Music (FOM) is a dedicated group of parents who provide fund raising and logistical support for the Eltham High School Music Program. This Program involves more than 300 students and is widely regarded as one of the preeminent secondary school music programs in Australia. The Eltham Mudbrick Tour is the major annual fund raising event for the FOM.