From the moment you arrive at Mansfield Steiner School,
you will hear music ringing between the buildings and through the gardens.
This is not uncommon, perhaps, for other schools. What is uncommon about the music that rings through our school is that it comes from every classroom and involves every student from the day they join our school until the day they leave to join the world.
At Mansfield Steiner School, Music grows with the students. It progresses with them through their phases of development. As they grow and understand more of the world, so too do they expand their understanding of music; it’s complexities, disciplines, and the intensity and joy of sharing it within their classroom and with the school and broader community. This is what marks the difference between the musical experience at Mansfield Steiner School and that of other schools.
‘Music is an art imbued with power to penetrate into the very depth of the soul, imbuing man with the love of virtue’.
Students here encounter music from the inside out, beginning with almost the reverse of Steiner’s observation. Rather than music penetrating the soul in the early years, students experience music as they find their voices and discover the sounds they can produce from within. The notes and tunes they sing are born of a simplicity that centres around the open interval of the fifth. They are not reading notes, nor are they intellectualising songs or music, they are feeling and experiencing sound and beginning to shape those sounds.
In moving onto recorder in Class 1, making music is drawn beyond the self into the outside world. Songs once internalised through singing are now created externally. Students now experience making familiar sounds with a new tool and new techniques. They also develop fine motor skills and begin to embody music. This development continues and is extended as students move onto their chosen stringed instrument in Class 3.
From this point the students forge a path of learning on these instruments all the way to Class 6 and beyond. They are undertaking a discipline. They will, alongside their classmates, wrestle with the challenge of nurturing a skill. It is not simply those with ‘talent’ who progress from here, it is each child. It is not just those who are ‘good’ at arts who benefit from their practice. Enabling every child to have the opportunity to develop and refine a musical skill, an art and a discipline, is a point of difference imbuing our students with persistence and confidence to meet challenges they will face in the world.
At the end of Class 6 the students can choose another instrument to extend their ability, interest and practice as they progress into the Secondary Contemporary Music Program. Even those new to the school and unfamiliar with music, can join the contemporary program. It’s about trying something, making mistakes and experiencing joy.
The program provides multiple pathways into music and the opportunity for alumni students to mentor a new generation of contemporary music students.
The intention of the Contemporary Music programme is that students leave Mansfield Steiner School with a love and basic understanding of music, and the richness it brings to one’s life.