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.

2021 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 11 June 2021 (Term 2 Week  8)
Email to:

Finalists will be notified in Term 3.

Finals in Term 4.

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.
  • Email your URL video link to along with the following information:
    Name of band/ensemble
    Name of audition piece (please also indicate if it is a cover or an original song)
    Years represented by students involved in the band/ensemble.

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. 

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.


Peter Hayward
Arts Coordination Officer
Nirimba Education Office


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