Conservatorium of Music

FAQ Broadening (Ensemble) units



"I never thought there would be such a unique unit like this offered. The diverse group of students with varying levels of musical knowledge, and tutors with enthusiasm and passion in abundance meant rehearsals were less of a class and more of a pastime. It was refreshing to divert my mind out of the familiarity of commerce and into the musical world. I recommended this unit to anyone."

Hamish Ioppolo

The Conservatorium of Music offers a number of stimulating and enjoyable broadening units that will accrue credit towards your degree.

Do I need to have had music experience/training to take a Music Ensemble Unit?

There are both auditioned and non-auditioned ensembles.  Those students with music training and experience can enrol in either.  ‘Ensembles for All’ will suit those with little or no music training/experience. 

Auditioned ensembles

  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Wind Orchestra
  • The Winthrop Singers – 30 spaces
  • Con-Cantorum (vocal)
  • Concordia Vocalis (vocal)
  • Jazz Ensemble – unlimited spaces
  • Brass Ensemble
  • Flute Choir
  • Ukulele Ensemble - Advanced (20 spaces)

‘Ensembles for All’
  • Show Choir  - 35 maximum spaces
  • Mixed Percussion Ensemble – 20 maximum per group
  • World Percussion Ensemble – 18 maximum per group
  • Percussion Fiesta Ensemble – 20 maximum per group
  • Symphonic Chorus – 50 spaces
  • Ukulele Ensemble – 20 spaces per group
  • Guitar Ensemble - 20 spaces
  • Handbell Ensemble - 25 spaces

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How are the Music Ensemble units structured?


  • 3 x 2hr Seminars delivered via LMS
  • 10 weeks of participation in your selected ensemble


  • 3 x 2hr Seminars delivered in a lecture scenario
  • 10 weeks of participation in your selected ensemble


  • 3 x 2hr seminars delivered via LMS
  • 10 weeks of participation in your selected ensemble


  • 3 x 2hr seminars delivered in a group scenario
  • 10 weeks of participation in your selected ensemble

Attendance in all of the above is compulsory.  Special Consideration must be sought if you cannot make either a class or a seminar.

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How do I enrol?

  • Enrol in one of the ensemble unit codes via Student Connect MUSC1981, MUSC1982, MUSC2981, MUSC2982.
  • Select three preferences via Class Allocation System (CAS) for your favoured ensembles.  The system registers three preferences, if you only enter one, it will default and make random selections.
  • Once the allocations are run, CAS will enrol you in your preferences. 
  • Please note, if you have a clash with another unit, the system will default and select other preferences which work with your timetable.   In this instance please email as soon as possible.

Once I’ve enrolled in an ensemble can I change my preference?

Our advice is select carefully in the first place!  

Non auditioned ensembles fill up very fast so we suggest you enrol as soon as CAS opens. Preference entry mode only lasts one week before allocations are run.  There is an opportunity for adjustment after this but only if there are spaces available.  In extraordinary cases a manual allocation can be made by the office, email

Please note training for sports activities and clashing work schedules are not considered extraordinary. 

What if I have a clash with an online lecture for another unit?

If you can take the lecture online then we can manually allocate you to your favoured ensemble. Email with your name, student number, details of the clash.

Can I repeat an ensemble under a different unit code?  If so, where is the point of difference?  

Yes, you are able to take the same ensemble more than once.  The difference is the progression reflected in the written component of the unit. It begins with MUSC1981 as a reflective journal about your experience and grows to MUSC2982 as a self-driven essay about the musical activity.

Can I take more than one ensemble in a semester?

In some cases yes, a decision is made on a case by case basis by the Unit Coordinator. If this is something you are considering please email. If it is agreed to, you will be required to enrol in a different ensemble for each unit code i.e. you cannot enrol in two unit codes but take the same ensemble for both.

In some instances students can take an ensemble as an extra-curricular activity.  Generally speaking this is only permitted when the student plays an instrument essential to complete the Conservatorium of Music orchestra. Commitment to rehearsals and performances is a necessity.  

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What is the difference between the Percussion Ensembles?

World Percussion – non auditioned
This ensemble focuses on the music of West Africa, primarily Zimbabwean marimba music and West African djembe drumming. Students will learn improvisation, rhythm and groove skills on both djembe and marimbas.

Percussion Fiesta – non auditioned
In this unit, students learn Cuban Rumba, Brazilian Samba and have an opportunity to play congas, djembes, the marimba (giant xylophone originally from Africa) and even home-made instruments like the PVC thongaphone and tuned bottles.

Mixed Percussion – non auditioned
The Mixed Percussion broadening unit is a ten week exploration of the percussion ensemble from African drumming to Samba to body percussion, xylophones, vibraphones and marimbas. Over the course of the semester we choose repertoire (often well-known songs & tunes), improvise and compose putting together a number of performance pieces for the final performance. The emphasis is on coming together as an ensemble and having fun making music together.

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What is the difference between the Vocal ensembles?

Symphonic Chorus – non auditioned

A large choir (60+) that is open to all students studying at UWA.  Each semester the Chorus performs a major choral work with the UWA Symphony Orchestra chosen from the Western Art Music repertoire (i.e. classical music).


Show Choir – non auditioned

A medium sized choir (approx. 30) that is specifically designed as a Broadening Unit for non-Music students. The Chorus performs an end of semester concert showcasing choral works or arrangements with piano chosen from the Musical Theatre and related repertoire.


Winthrop Singers – by audition (sight-reading skills essential)

A medium sized choir (8 sopranos, 6 altos, 6 tenors, 6 basses) that is open to all students at UWA.

The choir performs Evensong weekly at St George’s College Chapel, performs other key events each semester chosen from the Western Art Music repertoire (i.e. classical music) and sometimes join forces with other choirs and orchestras.


Con-Cantorum - by audition (sight-reading skills essential)

A number of small a cappella (unaccompanied) ensembles designed for Music Major Voice students and advanced non-Music students (whether as volunteers or as a Broadening Unit students). Students will be allocated as a solo member of various small ensembles (3-8 members) where each singer performs their own part, as well as singing in larger ensemble works. Each semester the Consort typically performs 20+ works chosen from both the Western Art Music repertoire (i.e. classical music) as well as arrangements of more contemporary popular standards. Non-Music students may participate as a Broadening Unit or as volunteers.  

Concordia Vocalis (Vocal Harmony) – by audition

This ensemble is the Conservatorium's premier vocal ensemble.  The 12-member ensemble sing predominantly A Capella works from all eras to modern day arrangements, in one-to-a-part as well as chamber pieces written specifically for elite singers.

Other Ensembles

Handbell Ensemble

Students will learn the basic skills of ringing handbells and handchimes focusing on control of the bell, different ringing techniques and ensemble playing whilst learning basic music theory, rhythm and note reading.  The repertoire is tailored to the level of the ringers it is fun and challenging!

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How do I Audition?

Prior to the commencement of the semester you will be contacted about your audition.  Auditions take place either in the week prior to, or the first week of, semester.

Once all auditionees have been heard, the panel will allocate parts and you will be notified of your result via email. If your first option is over-subscribed, or the standard is very high, you will be considered for your second and/or third ensemble preference. We ask that you include at least one Ensemble for all in your preferences so that you don't end up without an ensemble allocation.

What will the audition entail?

The audition process may vary slightly for each ensemble, generally you should prepare a piece that you enjoy and feel confident playing/singing, but that also shows your ability. You will be asked to play a short extract of that piece in front of a panel (no more than 5 minutes).

Percussion - Students auditioning for Symphony Orchestra or Wind Orchestra on percussion must prepare a snare drum piece and a mallet piece.   Mallets and sticks are not provided, students must supply their own for the audition, rehearsals and performance should their audition be successful. Percussion auditions take place 2 weeks before semester starts.

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What about instruments?

Participation in the ukulele ensemble requires you to purchase a ukulele (soprano).  Discounts on ukuleles are available from: 


Zenith Music

  • 309 Stirling Highway Claremont
  • Discounts on the range of ukuleles available with presentation of UWA student card
  • Plus a $40.00 electronic tuner for only $20.00 with any ukulele purchase

Crescendo Music

  • 454 Marmion Street, Myaree
  • 5% discount with presentation of UWA student card

What if I need a larger instrument, such as Tuba, Bassoon, Horn or Euphonium?

The Conservatorium of Music has some hire instruments for students enrolling in auditioned ensembles; this can be discussed at your audition. 

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If I’m taking a Music Ensemble unit, can I have access to School of Music Practice Rooms?

Limited access to the Conservatorium of Music Practice Rooms is available to Broadening students. For those occasions where students need to book a room please email at least a couple of days before your intended rehearsal, the office will then book a room.  Bookings will be after 4pm and a maximum of two hours is offered.

What if I have a question about my Ensemble?

If your question pertains to your ensemble, direct your question to your Ensemble Director.  If it is in relation to your written assessment, please direct it to the Unit Coordinator for that unit.  Details contained in the Unit Outline.

If your question has not been answered here, please email.

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