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Local Arts Programs

Local Arts Programs

Celebrating excellence in creative and performing arts education in our public schools

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Surround Sound

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.

Make Music Day is a free celebration of music making around the world, taking place on 21 June each year.  

This year Create NSW is offering a unique opportunity for schools who enter the Surround Sound competition to be a part of Make Music Day celebrations through the Make Music Day prize draw.  

For more information and how to apply download the
Make Music Day Surround Sound prize draw information 
(PDF 205KB)

2021 dates

Expressions of interest for schools who wish to participate in Surround Sound 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: surround.sound@det.nsw.edu.au

Finalists will be notified in Term 3.

Finals in Term 4.

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.


Peter Hayward - Arts Coordination Officer
Email: peter.s.hayward@det.nsw.edu.au
Phone: 0401 132 410

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 surround.sound@det.nsw.edu.au 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
  • Closing date for audition video submissions: Friday 11 June 2021 (Term 2 Week 8).

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.
Duration: 01:34