In many ways, I became a “music learner”. The students and the experience of sharing in music lessons has taught me so much.
We started out with minimal percussion instruments and dated programs, and in a short time with the help of donations and grants, have built up our resources. Every student now has the opportunity to play an instrument – ranging from ukulele to djembe (West African drum) – in an exciting and engaging way.
A highlight of our musical experience at St Mary’s so far, was our decision to perform and showcase our newfound musical talents and skills in an end-of-year concert last year. It was ambitious but the kids were excited and driven.
In fact, it was the students’ ownership of their performance and their learning that made the whole experience a privilege for me as their teacher. Little did we know that during our showcase, Aussie chart topper Guy Sebastian and cricket legend Steve Waugh would be in the audience. It was a music debut to remember.
I can quote lots of research and data that tells us how important music is to our children’s development. For me and our wider school community, the proof is in our wonderful students. I have seen students prepared to take risks, create, collaborate but more importantly I have seen self-confidence grow, and self-pride and happiness shared.
At a time when our community, a proud farming town, was doing it really tough last year with the ongoing drought and then this year with the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding COVID-19, music has provided a form of escape and fun and has proved to be a powerful tool in enhancing the wellbeing of our kids.
Hence the reason for saying it has been the most rewarding year of my teaching career thus far. In an age where positive education is rightly at the forefront, music learning is a powerful driving force that enables our students and school to flourish.
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