Born and raised in Sydney, and now living in Auckland, outstanding pianist Rosemary Song brings a truly unique flavour to ACG Parnell College’s music programme.
She has been a choir accompanist and piano teacher at Sydney’s Loreto Normanhurst, a Year 2 class teacher at Handong International School in South Korea, and a music teacher at St. Aloysius College in Sydney. Plus, she taught music history and musicianship at the Australian Academy of Music and Performing Arts.
An invaluable member of the ACG Parnell College teaching team since 2016, Rosemary plays an instrumental role in preparing students for participation and success in music and singing competitions such as Kids Sing and Reddam House Concours D’Arts.
How long has music been a part of your life?
I’ve been playing the piano since I was six, so almost 30 years. Classical music is my favourite, and that’s what I specialised in when I was studying piano performance at university. I studied at both the Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney and the University of New England. After finishing my Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance), I went on to gain a Master of Teaching and a Master of Music Studies (Piano Performance).
I play all the instruments that I teach in class, like marimba, recorder and ukulele, but my main passion will always be piano.
Do you sing?
I’d like to join a choir at some point when my little one is a bit older. I’ve been playing for a lot of choirs as a collaborative pianist, but I have never been in one myself. So it’s on my to-do list.
Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn music?
Research shows there are so many benefits to learning music. It helps brain development, boosts social life, teaches perseverance, discipline and teamwork, enhances creativity, and relieves stress. And most importantly, it is fun!
Tell us about your role at ACG Parnell College and what you love about it.
I teach music to Years 0 to 4, organise concerts for Years 5 and 6, support itinerant teachers, take the Primary choir and marimba group and organise productions. I enjoy seeing the students building their social skills through various musical group activities and feeling proud of their hard work and achievements.
What has been your proudest musical achievement?
I remember doing our first production called ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World’. I loved how every student enjoyed being on stage after practising very hard, and I could see how proud the families felt.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Organising the second production ‘Landing in Imagination’ because it needed so many dance and music rehearsals and we wanted to include everyone in school. It also involved a lot of organisation in terms of sound, microphone, staging and costumes. With help from many talented people (including parents, teachers and senior students), the show was a huge success. Although it was one of my greatest challenges, it was also one of my most memorable moments.
What are some of the most exciting competitions you prepare ACG students for?
The Kids Sing competition is fantastic. Students generally love singing but performing in front of an audience can be a nerve-racking experience. At Kids Sing, they get to meet students from other schools, and although it’s a competition, the environment is very friendly and supportive. I love how proud students feel after performing in front of an audience of hundreds. These are the sorts of memories that will last a lifetime.
What has been your most memorable teaching moment?
There are many moments, such as when a student who cannot mingle well socially can shine in class when playing an instrument. I also get lovely emails from parents about how much they value having music around their children.
Where can we find you outside of school hours?
I’ll be playing with my baby girl in a playground or performing on the piano with students or my husband, who is a cellist. He and I are putting on a concert at the Pah Homestead in March 2022, so we are doing a lot of rehearsing at the moment.
What advice do you give your students to take into the future?
Keep persevering! Music gives lots of fun, but it also requires perseverance to learn to have fun. Especially, learning an instrument can be frustrating, and it tests your patience, but the benefits will remain with you for the rest of your life.
Rosemary will be on parental leave for 2022. We wish her well with her new baby and look forward to her return in 2023.