Meet the Maestros: Mark Brown

‘Meet the Maestros’ is a series of articles that celebrates the diverse professional talent and musical expertise of Sydney Catholic Schools’ Amadeus Music Education Program tutors.

Here trombonist Mark Brown shares his journey from The Metropolitan Orchestra and cruise ships to the Amadeus classroom.

Former band master at St Patrick’s College Sutherland, Mark Brown, remembers going cap in hand to the principal in the early 2000’s hoping it was in the budget to buy a new clarinet. 

Last year Mr Brown returned to the college – where he was also once a student – as a tutor in the well-resourced and ambitious Amadeus Music Education Program.

“My first day of Amadeus instruction, I walked into my old school to a classroom that had pallets of instruments there waiting to hand out to the kids,” he said.

“I literally had tears in my eyes. The excitement of the kids when you open up a brand new instrument and hand it to them is just amazing.”

Amadeus is an initiative of Sydney Catholic Schools that will put 52,000 instruments into the hands of every Sydney Catholic Schools’ student in years 3 to 8 by Term 1, 2024.

The program has been integrated into the normal school curriculum and provides the students with classroom music lessons, ensemble lessons and small group tuition.

Career capers

The Amadeus tutor role is the latest in a long and varied professional music career for Mr Brown, who has played trombone with The Metropolitan Orchestra, Australian Wind Orchestra, for major theatre productions including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and on cruise ships.

Mr Brown has studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, trained as a conductor in the Czech Republic, and tutored and conducted bands throughout his career.

He brings this remarkable career experience to his role as Amadeus tutor and band master at St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney, inspiring the next generation of musicians.

Amadeus in action

Mr Brown said the many benefits of the Amadeus program include improved academic outcomes, discipline, self-motivation and teamwork skills.

“There is data that confirms that learning an instrument improves literacy and numeracy, because the left and right brain are creating more synapses that cross over from your creative to your analytical side,” Mr Brown said.

“When you’re part of an ensemble, you’re part of a whole. Whether you’re playing third clarinet or first clarinet in a performance, the applause is the same.  It’s so great for the students’ self-esteem.”