Department of Education

Provision of Instruments


Which instruments at what stage?

Following are two tables showing the instruments offered to primary schools and secondary schools, with class sizes and lesson durations. Please note that not all instruments are available to all schools, and some are extremely limited in their availability. The allocation of beginner classes will be reviewed if less than a full class of students is available.

Choice of instruments

Instrumental music classes are designed to lead to the development of performing groups such as a concert band or orchestra at the secondary level. The number and types of instruments offered at any stage depends on this overall plan. Starting too many students on one type of instrument can lead to frustration in student performers who might then be unable to fully participate in performance groups. It can also result in unsatisfactory ensembles. However, wherever possible, individual student preferences in the choice of instruments will be accommodated.

The student's physical suitability for a particular instrument is also a factor.

Starting age

Most instruments are offered at Year 5 level, but strings commence earlier. Some instruments are not made available until Year 7 because of health and safety concerns relating to the physical readiness of young students to handle awkward and/or weighty instruments.

(See the following table.)

Changing instruments

Once students have chosen their instrument, they are expected to continue on that instrument for the entire period of learning. However, in some special instances, particularly where a student's progress will be enhanced, or where the balance of a performance ensemble can be improved, a change of instrument may be negotiated.

Instrumental classes available to primary schools

Year of
Instrument Class size Teaching time
in minutes
3 Violin 4 All groups : 30
4 Cello 3
5 or 6 Double Bass
Classical Guitar
Brass (mixed)

Instrumental classes available to secondary schools

Year Instrument Class size Teaching time
in minutes
7, 8 & 9 Oboe and bassoon
French horn and saxophone
All other instruments
(Beginner classes in violin,
viola and cello are not available)
As for primary
All groups : 30
10 All groups : 40
11 ATAR 1 20
12 ATAR 1 30
11-12 General Time depends on class size
11-12 Cert III & CERT IV 1 20
11-12 Cert II Time depends on class size
11-12 PIMS (endorsed program) Time depends on class size


  • At secondary school an additional time allocation is made for ensemble performance (e.g. concert band, orchestra, guitar ensemble)
  • Years 11 and 12: Students continue instruction on the instrument commenced in earlier years. Class sizes and time allocations depend on which course the student is undertaking.
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Provision of Instruments

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