Manly West's highly acclaimed band was started in 1993 by a group of dedicated parents.

Much of the Manly West Band's success is the result of our wonderful, dedicated staff and parents.

We invite you and your child to join this special part of the school community.

Why join the Band program?


Being a member of a band can be a truly rewarding experience.  Apart from the joy of playing a musical instrument students develop self-discipline, teamwork and confidence through rehearsing and performing. 


Bands also bring pleasure through music to the wider community.


Being able to play an instrument well by Year 6 may also create opportunities to participate in specialised high school music programs.

Who can join?

Band membership is open to any interested student in Years 3–6.  No prior musical experience is needed to join the Training Band.

Who leads our Band program?

The School community is very fortunate to have Penny Coucill B.Mus.Ed as our Band Director.  Penny has been with Manly West since 2004, and has led our bands to a proud record of achievement in competitions and local performances, as well as providing our students with wonderful opportunities for individual development.

How many bands are there?

We have four bands at Manly West, each with brass, wind and percussion instruments. Percussion includes bass guitar and keyboards.

In order of their playing standard, they are:

  • Training Band (mainly year 3 students)

  • Intermediate Band (mainly year 4 students)

  • Concert Band (a mix of some Year 4 and 5 students)

  • Performance Band (a mix of some Year 5 and Year 6 students)

Progress through the bands is by audition in late November/early December each year.  New students to the school are invited to audition at any time.

What instruments are played?
  • Clarinet

  • Bass clarinet

  • Flute

  • Percussion

  • Piccolo

  • Trumpet

  • Trombone

  • Alto saxophone

  • Tenor saxophone

  • Euphonium

  • Bass guitar

  • French horn

  • Keyboard

Which instrument will my child play?

In late November, Year 2 students wanting to join the Training Band in the following year will try out various instruments (a ‘blow test’) and put forward their first preferences.  Allocation of instruments by the Band Director is then based on the suitability of the instrument to the student, instrument ownership, and the balance of instruments across the band.  In later years, the student and the Band Director may agree on changes to instruments on the same criteria.

Do you need your own instrument?

Beyond Training Band, most band members will need to buy their own instrument, new or second hand.


It is assumed that all Training Band members, as well as some larger instrument players from higher bands, will hire an instrument through the School.  Hire fees are listed below.


An instrument taken home for hire is the student’s responsibility.  The student also needs to take care of the instrument at school on band rehearsal days including seeking permission from teachers to store instruments in classroom during the school day.

The Band Committee will arrange for annual servicing of hired instruments but damage caused by misuse or accident must be repaired at the hirer’s expense by a qualified technician nominated by the Band Director.

Parents are also responsible for buying additional personal items needed for some of the instruments, such as reeds, cork grease, pull through cleaners, valve oil etc.

What commitment will we be making?

Joining the Band program involves commitment of time and resources.

The ongoing availability of the Band program depends on Band parents volunteering some time to assist.


Band volunteers are scheduled on a roster basis to assist the Band Director. Normally parents will be called on once a term to support band. This might include driving large instruments to the occasional performance or by helping with planning and set-up of the Band Camp.  

Each week during term time, students will also need to allow time for:

  • 2 full band rehearsals

  • a sectional tutorial (not for Training Band)

  • a half-hour private lesson/ week

  • 3-5 practice sessions of at least 20 minutes

Through the year there are performances within and outside the School, annual band competitions and Band Camp.  All Band members must attend the band competitions and Band Camp.

Children who join the Band program must be prepared to participate fully and understand that they have made a firm commitment to remain in their Band for the full year.

It is not necessary that Band members take external, graded music examinations. But if this is of interest to parents, please discuss the options directly with your child’s private teacher.

While there will always be unavoidable absences, Band commitments need to take precedence over other extra-curricular activities.  A band sounds very different if key players are away for a performance or a rehearsal.


Private instrument lessons

Private lessons must be organised outside school hours and paid for independently.  The Band Committee has a list of tutors who are known to the Band Director and typically hold lessons at School before and after school hours.

Please obtain the latest list through the Band Committee Co-ordinator or via the School office.

Band rehearsal schedule

Morning Session – starting 8.00am


Monday         Concert

Tuesday          Intermediate

Wednesday   Training

Thursday        Performance

Afternoon Session – starting 3.30pm


Monday         Training

Tuesday         Performance

Wednesday   Intermediate

Thursday       Concert

Sectional Tutorials

All members of Intermediate, Concert and Performance Bands must attend a weekly half hour tutorial for their section (eg. trumpets, percussion) in addition to full band rehearsals.  The details of the time and place of these tutorials will be included in the school newsletter at the beginning of each year and emailed directly to families of band members. This is usually sent at the end of the previous year.

Band Camp

All band members attend a two-day musical camp at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation in Term 2. The camp is the highlight of the school year for many. Training Band members only attend Day One of the camp.  Other band members stay overnight.

Band fees

Band participation is an extra-curricular activity and as such is not funded by the school or the NSW Department of Education.

Band fees directly cover the costs of paying the Band Director and the sectional tutors.  They also cover competition entry fees and music charts (sheet music). The instrument hire fees pay for ongoing instrument maintenance and replacement.  


Band fees are issued on a Semester basis which means that the fees cover 2 terms. The success and viability of the Band program depends upon the timely payment of fees.  Ongoing participation by individual students in Band is, therefore, conditional upon the timely payment of these fees.  If fees remain outstanding from the previous year, a student will not be able to participate again in the next year.

FEES for 2019
Training Band
  • One off joining fee $75

  • Semester Band fees: $280

  • Instrument Hire fees: $130

  • Annual percussion hire fee: $35

  • Band Camp: varies approx. $128

  • Private tutorial: $25-40 per half hour (organised and paid for by parents directly)

Intermediate, Concert & Performance Bands
  • Semester Band Fees: $330 (including sectional tutorials)

  • Instrument hire fees: $130

  • Annual Percussion fee: $35

  • Band Camp: $268

  • Private tutorial: $25-40 per half hour (organised and paid for by parents directly)

Band uniform

Band Members are required to wear full band uniform at special performances such as competitions.

The uniform is:

  • White long-sleeved shirt

  • Long black pants (no jeans, track pants or jazz pants)

  • Blue Manly West Band tie

  • Black socks

  • Royal blue hair ribbons


Band ties and black pants are available at the Manly West Uniform Shop.  Manly West library bags are recommended for carrying music books and folders.


Band performances

Every year Manly West bands perform at events such as the Yamaha Band Festival, NSW School Band Festival, the Northern Beaches Instrumental Festival and the local Battle of the Bands. Before Christmas, two of bands perform for the children at the Arranounbai School at Frenchs Forest.  Manly West Performance Band has also been selected to play at the Opera House as part of the Department of Education and Communities’ State-wide combined schools music festivals.


The Band Committee

The Band program is overseen by the Band Director in consultation with the School but is supported in a wide range of administrative ways by a P&C sub-committee of volunteer parents.  The Committee meets regularly to talk about band direction, how the program can be improved, outings and concerts.  If anyone is interested in joining the Committee or volunteering to help in other ways, please contact the parent Band Co-ordinators at band@manlywestpandc.org.au


band handbook

The Band Handbook is updated at the beginning of each school year.

Click below to download a copy.