The arts at Somerville House inspire students to reach for their creative potential in a supportive environment where they can greatly develop and nurture their artistic skills.

Art (Years 7 to 10)

Year 7
In Year 7, all students study Visual Art. The units of study include Making and Responding tasks that explore overall concepts and themes. These are – The Natural World and Our Future World.

In the units of study, students build on their awareness of how and why artists, craftspeople and designers realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, processes and viewpoints.  They extend their thinking, understanding and use of perceptual and conceptual skills.  Students continue to use and apply appropriate visual language and visual conventions with increasing complexity and consider the qualities and sustainable properties of materials, techniques, technologies and processes and combine these to create and produce solutions to their artworks.

Year 8
In Year 8, all students choose to continue their studies in Visual Art.  The units of study include Making and Responding tasks that explore overall concepts and themes.  These are – Seeing beyond the Ordinary and Portraiture and Self.

In the units of study, students build on their awareness of how and why artists, craftspeople and designers realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, processes and viewpoints.  They extend their thinking, understanding and use of perceptual and conceptual skills.  Students continue to use and apply appropriate visual language and visual conventions with increasing complexity and consider the qualities and sustainable properties of materials, techniques, technologies and processes and combine these to create and produce solutions to their artworks.

Year 9
In Year 9, students are able to choose to continue their studies in Visual Art.  The units of study include Making and Responding tasks that explore given concepts. These are – Picturing History and Time and Is it Art?

In the units of study, students build on their awareness of how and why artists, craftspeople and designers realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, processes and viewpoints.  They begin to refine their own personal aesthetic through working and responding perceptively and conceptually as artists. They draw on artworks from a range of cultures, times and locations as they experience Visual Art.  Students reflect on the development of different traditional and contemporary styles and how artists can be identified through the style of their artworks as they explore different forms in Visual Art.

Students use historical and conceptual explanations to critically reflect on the contribution of Visual Arts practitioners as they make and respond to visual artworks.

Year 10
In Year 10 Visual Art students build on the broad base of skills and experiences that they have acquired in Years 8 and 9. Students Make and Respond to artists and artworks as they develop their ability to work through Inquiry processes of Research, Development, Resolution and Reflection. Year 10 Visual Art is preparatory for Senior Visual Art as students complete Projects, bodies of work, in response to given concepts and focuses. 

Students become more independent in their thinking and are supported to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of techniques and processes as well developing their own personal responses to given stimulus. Students -

  • build on their awareness of how and why artists, craftspeople and designers realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, processes and viewpoints
  • research and analyse the characteristics, qualities, properties and constraints of materials, technologies and processes across a range of forms, styles and practices
  • draw on artworks from a range of cultures, times and locations, including the influences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and those of the Asia region as they experience Visual Art
  • reflect on the development of different traditional and contemporary styles and how artists can be identified through the style of their artworks as they explore different forms in visual art
  • adapt ideas, representations and practices from selected artists and use them to inform their own personal responses when producing a series of artworks that are conceptually linked, and present their work to an audience.
Visual Art (Years 11 and 12)

Visual Art provides students with opportunities to understand and appreciate the role of visual art in past and present traditions and cultures, as well as the contributions of contemporary visual artists and their aesthetic, historical and cultural influences. Students interact with artists, artworks, institutions and communities to enrich their experiences and understandings of their own and others’ art practices. 

Students have opportunities to construct knowledge and communicate personal interpretations by working as both artist and audience. They use their imagination and creativity to solve problems innovatively and experiment with visual language and expression.

Through an inquiry-learning model, students develop critical and creative thinking skills. They create individualised responses and meaning by applying diverse materials, techniques, technologies and art processes.

In responding to artworks, students employ essential literacy skills to investigate artistic expression and critically analyse artworks in diverse contexts. They consider meaning, purposes and theoretical approaches when ascribing aesthetic value and challenging ideas.

Subject recommendation: Completing Year 10 Art is highly preferable; however, not a prerequisite. Students who have not completed Year 10 Art and who are keen to do Senior Art should arrange an interview with the Head of Department to discuss their suitability. Due to the foundational nature of the Year 11 Art course, interested students who have not done Art in Year 10 have ample time to establish themselves artistically for the demands of Year 12 Art, and assessment for Units 1 and 2 is formative.

Drama (Years 7 to 12)

Years 7 to 10
Drama is the expression and exploration of personal, cultural and social worlds through role and situation that engages, entertains and challenges. Students create meaning as drama makers, performers and audiences, as they enjoy and analyse their own and others’ stories and points of view. Like all art forms, drama has the capacity to engage, inspire and enrich all students, excite the imagination and encourage students to reach their creative and expressive potential.

Years 11 and 12
Students experience, reflect on, understand, communicate, collaborate and appreciate different perspectives of themselves, others and the world in which they live. They learn about the dramatic languages and how these contribute to the creation, interpretation and critique of dramatic action and meaning for a range of purposes. They study a range of forms, styles and their conventions in a variety of inherited traditions, current practice and emerging trends, including those from different cultures and contexts.

Students learn how to engage with dramatic works as both artists and audience through the use of critical literacies. The study of drama develops students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in the making of and responding to dramatic works to help them realise their creative and expressive potential as individuals. Students learn to pose and solve problems, and work independently and collaboratively.

Subject recommendation: While it is recommended that students have studied Drama in Years 9 and 10, those who take up Drama in Year 11 are not disadvantaged as assessments in Units 1 and 2 are formative. An excursion schedule is provided at the start of each year. Performances are selected carefully to compliment the course of study and, as such, attendance at all performances or workshops is compulsory.

Music (Years 7 to 12)

Year 7
Music in Year 7 is designed to develop the students' knowledge, understanding and skills through direct participation in the 'experience of music'.

The course is taught through two dimensions of Making (Composing and Performing) and Responding. Students experience an integrated approach using glockenspiel, ukulele and their voice. There is an emphasis on improving the understanding of Music as a language through reading, writing, listening, performing and creating.

Year 8 
Music in Year 8 is an elective subject and is designed to develop the students' knowledge, understanding and skills through direct participation in the 'experience of music'.

The course is taught through the two dimensions of Making (Composing and Performing) and Responding. Students learn through an integrated approach using their own voices, guitar, piano keyboards and other instruments.

Year 9
Music in Year 9 is an elective subject, where students can enjoy the challenge of furthering their musicianship skills. The development of these skills directly influences their capacity to understand and perform the music of other artists, and to create their own original music.

The course is also taught through the two dimensions of Making (Composing and Performing) and Responding. Students learn through an integrated approach using their own voices, piano keyboards and other instruments.

Years 10 to 12
Music is sound. Any experience of music is essentially and fundamentally aural. In the senior years of schooling, the study of Music recognises this by focusing learning experiences on the development of aural musicianship skills. This is the process by which the brain makes sense of what the ear hears. Students build on the foundation established in the compulsory years of schooling by applying their developing musicianship through an exploration of the musical elements. They explore a variety of contexts, genres and styles to achieve the interrelated dimensions of Composition, Musicology and Performance.

  • Composition involves the creation of music in a variety of genres and styles by combining musical elements and compositional devices. Students are encouraged to move towards developing their own creative style.
  • Musicology involves deconstructing music as a way of evaluating repertoire from a variety of social and cultural contexts. It also serves as a tool to enhance performing and a model to assist composing.
  • Performance involves interpreting musical repertoire by playing an instrument, singing or conducting. Performing may include solo or ensemble experiences.

Through this course of study, the students are provided with opportunities to interpret the ‘experience of music’ framework in a structured learning sequence. The learning sequence is designed to provide a variety of learning experiences which are selected to:

  • develop a thorough understanding of the elements of music (Duration; Expressive devices; Pitch; Melody, Harmony, Tonality, Structure; Texture and Timbre)
  • develop a deep understanding of the significant historical contributions to the body of Music
  • come from a range of genres, styles, cultural and historical contexts including Australian music
  • include both vocal and instrumental experiences

Attendance at selected professional live performances outside the school community, such as orchestral performances, operas and musicals is strongly encouraged as it is considered part of the total learning experience of a Music student. These are organised by the school at different points in the year.

During the Senior School course, the following broad units are studied:

Year 10

  • Semester 1: Vocal Music
  • Semester 2: Instrumental Music

Year 11

  • Unit 1: Designs in Music
  • Unit 2: Musical Identities
  • Unit 3: Innovations in Music

Year 12

  • Unit 3 Innovations in Music (continued)
  • Unit 4 Narratives in Music
Music Extension (Year 12)

Students can elect to undertake one of three Music Extension course options: Composition, Musicology or Performance.

Year 12 Music Extension is designed for students with specific abilities in Music. It is an extension of the senior syllabus in Music and is studied for the final two semesters, concurrently with Units 3 and 4 of the parent subject. The course is designed for students interested in exploring in greater depth one of the three areas of study in the Senior Music syllabus and offers more challenge than Senior Music. The challenge of the subject involves the expectation of accelerated independent learning, as well as meeting the challenge of increased cognitive, expressive and musical demands in the assessment task requirements.

Seeking out and maintaining a meaningful connection with an individual tutor or mentor from the chosen specialisation is highly recommended.

Composition is an extension of the Music General senior syllabus. It provides an opportunity for students with specific abilities in music to extend their expertise. Students select one specialisation only, and follow an individual program of study designed to continue the development of refined musicianship skills. Music Extension encourages students to investigate music concepts and ideas relevant to their specialisation.

In the Composition specialisation (making), students create and resolve new music works. They demonstrate use of music concepts and manipulate music concepts to express meaning and/or emotion to an audience through resolved compositions.

Musicology is an extension of the Music General senior syllabus. It provides an opportunity for students with specific abilities in music to extend their expertise. Students select one specialisation only, and follow an individual program of study designed to continue the development of refined musicianship skills. Music Extension encourages students to investigate music concepts and ideas relevant to their specialisation.

In the Musicology specialisation (responding), students investigate and analyse music works and ideas. They synthesise analytical information about music, and document sources and references about music to support research.

Performance is an extension of the Music General senior syllabus. It provides an opportunity for students with specific abilities in music to extend their expertise. Students select one specialisation only, and follow an individual program of study designed to continue the development of refined musicianship skills. Music Extension encourages students to investigate music concepts and ideas relevant to their specialisation.

In the Performance specialisation (making), students realise music works, demonstrating technical skills and understanding. They make decisions about music, interpret music elements and concepts, and express music ideas to realise their performances.