Firebird Forensics - student workshops

Firebird Forensics will give up to 30 government school students, studying music in Years 10, 11 & 12, the opportunity to dissect Stravinsky’s Firebird and expand and explore their own compositional skills and ideas under the guidance of Paul Rissmann. At the conclusion of the project, the students will present their work in a public performance.

All of the musical activities undertaken will relate directly to Stravinsky’s score. Students will explore thematic material, scales, modes, rhythms and structures from The Firebird and use them to create a new group composition. Guided by Paul, the students will experiment with Stravinsky’s raw material and then input their own ideas. It is important to stress that the project will not exclusively focus on composition. Irrespective of previous musical experience, the group will be encouraged to achieve the highest possible standard in their performance too. Firebird Forensics is both a composition project and a performance project.

Program outcomes

Students will solve musical problems and create music together, thereby gaining confidence musically and personally. During the workshop, small groups of students will devise elements of a composition which can be later performed as a whole.                                                                                             

Students will develop skills in:

  • Rhythmic security
  • Harmonic/Melodic Sense
  • Aural training
  • Playing techniques
  • Making artistic decisions together thereby gaining confidence and learning from one another.

Through the workshop activities students will further develop skills in performance, composition, musicology and aural.


Students attending government schools and studying Music in Years 10, 11 or 12

  • Already play an instrument or sing (to a proficient level)
  • Have a keen interest in composition
  • Have access to or own their own instrument
  • Be committed to the entire program and available for all dates and times required


There is no fee for these workshops. All participating students and families will be responsible organising meals, travel, accommodation, etc and meeting associated costs.

As part of The Arts Unit's support of the Department of Education's Rural and Remote Education blueprint for action, we are excited to be able to offer a participation subsidy of up to $100 each to students from rural and remote schools (download full spreadsheet to check the status of your school) to participate in this workshop. Please note: If interest exceeds available funds, allocation of the participation subsidy will be prioritised based on remoteness. Subsidies will be confirmed with acceptance notification.

How To Apply

Teachers are asked to nominate and rank students who they feel will benefit from, and embrace this experience. Teachers can nominate up to five students.

  • Students must be available for all of the workshops in April.   (NB this is the first week of the NSW school vacation period)

There are only 30 positions available in this project – selections will be based on:

  • equity of access
  • school rankings
  • teacher recommendations
  • ensemble balance

Nominate students here    Nominations close 20 March 2016

Permission materials will be forwarded once selections have been made

Further information: John Benson, Arts Programs and Initiatives Coordinator, Telephone 8512 1107,