We wrap up the term with an incredible event that took place on the night of Tuesday 18 September at Hamer Hall. The ACCent on Music Spectacular brought together all ACC schools in 11 combined ensembles to perform and celebrate music. It was a wonderful experience for the students involved.
I had the privilege of being invited to address the audience to speak on music advocacy. This is what I had to say:
Teaching music is the best.
Music and sport are the two most important activities a person can do. They are, for the most part, screen‐free and require human engagement. Tonight, though, it’s about the music.
I’ve studied the benefits of learning music, how it fires up those unique neural pathways, how music makes you a more successful learner and how music learning gives you those all‐so‐important transferable skills… all of this is true. In this world where the young people you see on stage tonight are expected to have 17 jobs over 5 careers, we really need those transferable skills.
But learning music is far more than that. If someone told me to learn a musical instrument because it would make me better at other things, I would have laughed. My first priority was to play the opening of Stairway to Heaven then start a rock band with my friends. The only thing I wanted to be better at was music itself.
Learning a musical instrument is challenging. It’s unromantic. It takes a while to develop your muscles and your mind. These days, where information is at our fingertips, artistic endeavours continue to be slow, conscious and deliberate. Isn’t that wonderful? To be compelled to be conscious? Then, once you play for a bit longer, grow a little more confident, join a band, start a band, write a song, perform for an audience… then the journey has really begun.
I like to think of music learning in phases:
- Phase 1 – turn up
- Phase 2 – enjoy it
- Phase 3 – strive for it
- Phase 4 – encourage someone else to turn up
Music, for many of the young people playing tonight, is a tightly woven tapestry of social connection, or perhaps of retreat and self‐care. For the modern‐day version of my younger‐self, they just need to play Seven Nation Army. Each of our musicians will be scattered across the four phases and the rest of us play a part in helping them make connections.
Educationally, studies show that there are 5 reasons for students to continue learning music. They include:
- A love of performing
- Unity of purpose
- Desire for challenge and professionalism
- Quality of relationships (with peers/ teacher)
- Opportunities for individual growth and wellbeing
In our ACC schools, we are meeting these targets collectively and individually. These musicians on stage tonight are clever, they are funny, and they have worked hard to perform for you tonight. The other teachers back at school had a rough day today because we took all the good kids.
To the parents of our musicians – thank you for investing in music. We share incredible moments with your sons through our work and we will continue to invest in them.
May we never go a day without being lifted by music.
Ms Cindy Frost