SYO Unveils Orchestral Musicianship Programs

Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO) is thrilled to announce the launch of its 2024 Orchestral Musicianship Programs, featuring the esteemed John Ockwell as the leading tutor. These programs invite students worldwide preparing for IB Music, HSC and VCE Music as well as preparatory music study to embark on a transformative journey through 400 years of orchestral music, guided by one of Sydney’s most experienced and passionate music educators.

Join John Ockwell and SYO for an Unforgettable Musical Experience:

Enrol in SYO’s Orchestral Musicianship Programs to benefit from John Ockwell’s expertise and passion for music education.

About the Orchestral Musicianship Programs:

  • Orchestral Musicianship Essentials (Open to External Musicians):
  • Ideal for high school music students; covers musical notation, chords, harmony, history, score reading, analysis, melodic and rhythmic dictation, and sight-singing.
  • Optional for SYO Symphonic Orchestral Program Musicians.
  • Orchestral Music (1600-1900) and Orchestral Music (1900 – Present) (Open to External Musicians):
  • Perfect preparation or extension add-on courses for students studying Music 2 and/or Music Extension.
  • Optional for SYO Symphonic Orchestral Program Musicians.
  • Focuses on essential general knowledge for the HSC Music 2 course.

Looking for resources for young musicians?

The SYO Beginners Program was developed with the support of the Crown and Packer Family Foundations during 2019/2020 to support the teaching and learning of Orchestral Instruments.

The SYO Beginners Program is a video resource library for musicians at the beginning of their musical journey. Featuring sequential resources, this library of over 480 short videos, activities, tips and tricks to assist young musicians and their families in the learning process.

In partnership with Learning for Good this teaching and learning resource is now available to schools and teachers through the Learning for Good digital platform.

Meet John Ockwell, Leading Tutor:

John Ockwell boasts a longstanding relationship with Sydney Youth Orchestras, dating back to his role as a member of the cello section when SYO began in 1973. By the 1980s, he was conducting junior string groups for the organisation. Inspired by SYO’s founder Peter Seymour, Ockwell emphasises Seymour’s dedication to providing young people with the experience of music itself.

Today, John conducts SYO’s Classical period orchestra, the Peter Seymour Orchestra. He also serves as the Director of Orchestra and Strings at Fort St High School in Sydney, a position held for the past 15 years, and is a co-conductor of The Arts Unit NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his roles at SYO and Fort St High School, John has been an Assistant Conductor and a steering committee member for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Education Program. He also held the position of Coordinator for the D.E.C. (Department of Education and Communities NSW) Primary String Festival for five years. John’s musical versatility is showcased in his contribution to Midnight Oil’s 1987 album “Diesel and Dust,” where he played cello in ‘The Dead Heart,’ though nowadays he’s more likely to be found playing double bass.

Celebrating over four decades as a music educator and over two decades as an HSC examiner, John Ockwell brings a wealth of experience and passion to SYO’s Orchestral Musicianship Programs.

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