The Bellingen Youth Orchestra take great pride in all musical pathways offered. One particular pathway our players can access is our ‘Gappies Program’.

The BYO Gappie program has been running for 6 years now to train, support and employ graduating high school music students interested in teaching music in their gap year. 

Our music teachers  train, support and guide our student teachers over the course of the gappie year.  Student teachers have usually ended up working as strings teachers for around 3 – 4 days each week for their gap year – an incredible employment and training opportunity for them and an injection of youthful energy into the music education in the Bellingen Shire. 

This year, our lovely Gappie Lily has provided us with a reflection on her gappie experiences with the BYO.

I’m writing to share a little insight into my experiences of the Gappie program this year.
As a student violinist with little previous experience in teaching, the sessions with Gappie mentors Jacquie, Liz and Lizzy helped me feel much more prepared and confident about starting work as a violin tutor.
As well as practical skills like invoicing and lesson organisation, something that I took away from the program was the idea of violin pedagogy and how to introduce each stage throughout the musical development of young players in ways that are engaging and fun. It has been really interesting to learn about the processes involved from a teacher’s perspective as I had only ever experienced being on the other side – the student.
I constantly draw upon the useful tips and strategies I was given and appreciate the continual support of my mentors. It’s wonderful to have experienced teachers available to give advice and help me through challenges as I learn this new skill.
The Gappie program really gave me the foundations on which to develop as a violin teacher, allowing me to work within the field of my passion while still continuing to study and grow as a student myself.
If you are interested in providing sponsorship or in making a donation to support the sustainability of this program, please email

More than just an orchestra
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