Surround Sound

Region: Rural North Rural South and West | Rural and remote schools
Years 7 to 12
Local arts program Public schools Music

Surround Sound is a band competition for students from secondary schools in rural and remote areas. 

Bands must have between 3 and 16 members and may perform covers or originals in any style of contemporary music.

All performers must be students currently enrolled at a NSW public school in Years 7 to 12. No teachers or tutors can perform as part of the band.

Round 1 will be held by video submission. 

Schools chosen as finalists will be visited by an industry mentor for a workshop at a time to be negotiated.

Finalists will prepare a 15 minute set for a performance at a live event in Sydney in Term 4. Song choice will be subject to copyright advice. Bands will be supported to travel to Sydney and accommodated for their performance at the final.

2022 dates

Expressions of interest for schools who wish to participate are now open.

Complete your Surround Sound Round 1 expression of interest form as soon as possible.

Closing date for Round 1 video submissions:
Friday 27 May 2022 (Term 2 Week 5)

Finalists will be notified in Term 3.

Finals in Term 4.

Surrouns Sound 2021 sponsor block

To receive further information on opportunities to support Surround Sound, please contact Sandra Copeman on 0408 696 571 or by email

How to apply

  • Complete your Surround Sound expression of interest form as soon as possible.
  • Schools only need to complete this form once. Audition videos from multiple bands can be submitted from each school once this form has been completed.
  • Prepare your video submission.
  • Upload your video to an online platform, such as YouTube, Vimeo or Google docs link.
  • Ensure the settings on your URL are set to allow the panel to view it.
  • Have each student complete and return a Surround Sound 2022 Permission to Publish form
  • Complete your Surround Sound 2022 application form with the following information:
  • Name of band/ensemble
    Name of audition piece (please also indicate if it is a cover or an original song).

Round 1 - Video submission

Round 1 is judged on video submission. 

  • Bands are required to submit one song of up to 5 minutes.
  • The song can be a cover or an original.
  • The video should be filmed as one continuous live take from a single static camera with no camera movement (including zoom, pan or tilt) with live audio from the room taken into the camera. 
  • A video taken with a smart phone or tablet, using the sound from the internal microphone of that device will be sufficient. 
  • Quality of video and audio recording will not be considered as part of the judging criteria.
  • Video filmed at a school or community event may be used as the round 1 submission if it meets the above requirements.

Judging criteria

In Round 1, bands will be judged on:

  • ensemble skills
  • technical proficiency
  • musicality
  • performance skills.

Finalists will be judged on the same criteria as above, as well as their ability to engage an audience. 

Watch the video as students from Mulwaree High School talk about their band M Funk.

Surround Sound Promo

Duration: 2:17


Make Music Day

As part of the annual Make Music Day Celebrations on June 21, Surround Sound participating schools are offered the opportunity to join the Make Music Day celebrations and upload their video to the Make Music Day website, click here to find out how. Participating schools that do will go into the draw for a range of prizes– sponsored by Yamaha Music, Taylor Guitars, Fender Guitars and Kawai Australia.

Surround Sound is coordinated by the NSW Department of Education’s Arts Unit.

Schools who enter the Surround Sound competition can upload their video entry to the Make Music Day website and will be eligible for one of five prizes including:

  • 1 x Yamaha P45B keyboard
  • 1 x Kawai ES110 digital portable piano with stand kit.
  • 1 x Fender Player Stratocaster electric guitar
  • 1 x Squire Telecaster electric guitar
  • 1x Taylor 214ce-Koa Acoustic Guitar

Make Music Day is a free celebration of music making around the world, taking place on 21 June each year. Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, it is now held on the same day in more than 800 cities in 120 countries. It is now in its fifth year in NSW.

Make Music Day is open to anyone who wants to take part. It’s a DIY Music Festival! Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — can organise their own gig, or join the many organisations that will host events, to share their music with friends, neighbours and now with regional high schools in NSW.

Steps to Enter the Surround Sound for the Make Music Day Prize Draw

1.Enter the Surround Sound band competition by submitting your video entry.

2. Once you’ve entered the Surround Sound band competition, upload your entry to the Make Music Day website by the 19 June at 5pm to be included in the prize draw.

  • Post your video and add the hashtags #MakeMusicDay2022 #MakeMusicDay #MakeMusicDayNSW #MMD2022 #CreateNSW
  • All entries received by the 19 June at 5pm will go into a draw for the prizes.
  • Prizes will be drawn on the Make Music Day, 21 June and the winners will be notified.
  • Prizes will be delivered to the schools.

Create NSW and Sponsors will not be participating in the judging of the Surround Sound band competition.

The Make Music Day Prize Draw is proudly supported by;

Sponsor logos for Taylor, Fender, Kawaii and Yamaha

Registration is open


COVID-19 notice

The operation of this program is contingent on advice provided by the NSW Department of Education in consultation with NSW Health. All activities will adhere to the DoE COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.

Visit the COVID-19 and public schools in NSW web page for more information.


Simon Kermode
Arts Coordination Officer
Coffs Harbour
Peter Hayward
Arts Coordination Officer
Nirimba Education Office