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The Composition Showcase at Scots celebrates boys’ creativity and artistry through musical expression. This year, over 60 entries were received from boys who love composing music.

On the evening of Monday 11 October, the boys’ compositions were presented to a virtual audience with each image selected representing what the boys intended to emote in producing these pieces. Although the crowd may have not been visible, per say, the support the boys received was no less. With the final performances being a testament to, not only the boys’ talents but, their perseverance when faced with unprecedented obstacles.

Hear from the Assistant Director of Music, Mr Christopher Paton as he discusses the innovative approaches applied by his team during home-based learning this year resulting in a new standard of music being composed by Scots students.

From the Assistant Director of Music, Mr Christopher Paton

“What a year we have had! It has been a strange and challenging experience for all students, teachers and parents in NSW and throughout Australia. As a teacher, 2021 has been both exhausting and awe-inspiring. One positive aspect of home-based learning this year has been the opportunity to re-evaluate and try out new approaches to teaching and learning.

“The most inspiring moments for me, have occurred during my online classes with students. I was often amazed at how resilient our students are and how well they have adapted to and thrived in new learning settings.

“However, the single most significant and pleasing improvement this year, across all year groups, has been the standard of music composition. Students have raised the bar, especially in the Junior years.

“I believe this outcome directly resulted from the new approaches implemented by teachers during home-based learning. The number of applications we received for the Composition Showcase – our highest ever – also reflects the increased engagement in music composition. Over 60 students applied to have their creations included in the Showcase this year.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to include every composition in the Showcase tonight. However, the pieces you will hear are wideranging in terms of style, genre, and musicianship. We have strived to showcase student creativity and invention across all year groups in the Senior School. Music has been composed for various purposes, including classroom assessment tasks, HSC Music submissions and Co-Curricular Music projects. Some students, though, have created pieces of music simply because they enjoy the creative process and appreciate the opportunity it gives them to express themselves in different ways.

“Thank you to everyone that submitted their compositions for consideration this year. I encourage all students to continue their musical journey of creation and invention and keep writing and experimenting. Thank you for watching at home and for your continued support this year. Please enjoy the show and all the best for the remainder of Term 4.”

Discover how these innovative approaches have influenced a student’s perspective on composing in the Captain of Music’s address below.

From the Captain of Music 

“As a College, it has been critical to maintain a sense of community and support throughout the pandemic restrictions. Online musical events organised by the Music Department have provided students with meaningful and rewarding alternatives to the usual in-person events in the last two years.

“The Composition Showcase has served as an excellent source of motivation and helped students continue engaging in their music making. Most importantly, this event provided students with a valuable outlet to engage with the broader Scots community.

“When one reflects on the word ‘music making’, musicianship and music performance typically come to mind. However, a valuable musical experience, that I feel students often overlook, is music composition – the process of creating music. Much like writing a poem or story in English, music composition allows students to tell stories and create various moods and themes through music.

“From Year 9 Elective Music, I began to engage more seriously with music composition. Now, moving closer to graduation, I understand how vital music composition and creativity has been to my academic development and achievement. I believe that composing and improvising are two of the most crucial skills every musician must develop. In my view, it is one of the highest forms and displays of creativity. Its skills and knowledge expand and reinforces your understanding of music, making you a better performer. It has also improved my analytical skills when studying musical works of the great composers.

“All music students at the College have access to expert musicians, teachers and resources. As an elective music student, I was lucky to have been mentored by some of Australia’s most renowned composers. I encourage all students to explore the multiple musical experiences and opportunities available.

“I want to thank Mr Paton and Mr Vickers for their continued support of music and composition at the College. I also thank Dr Huw Belling for his excellent mentoring of composition students. Finally, I want to thank Dr Lambert and the College Council for their continued support of music education at Scots.”

It is evident that through community, support and the ability to adapt, true innovation can be formed. The Composition Showcase is a celebration of creativity, artistry and expression – a true representation of artistic integrity.

Members of the Scots community can sit back, relax and watch the talented performances via the showcase video and e-program on the Music Schoolbox page here.

The Scots College is a proud member of the following associations.

The Presbyterian Church (New South Wales) Property Trust T/A The Scots College, Sydney Australia
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William Elder


Mr Alan Elder was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents at a young age. He attended The Scots College for all his schooling, graduating in 1944. He played 1st XI Cricket and was a member of the College Cadet Unit. After leaving school Mr Elder studied accountancy and retained a life-long love of the College, especially the Pipes and Drums. Mr Elder never married, however the significant bequest he left will allow his Scots family to remember him through the Lang Walker Business Centre.