Do you know any school aged children? Do you teach school aged children? If you love a chance to sing with your fledgling and older song birds whilst advocating for the value of music and music education in all schools, this year’s Music: Count Us In program might be just the ticket. On Thursday November 2nd at 12.30pm AEDT, more than half a million children across the country will put down their pens to sing up in ‘a celebration of music and music education.’
Music: Count Us In (MCUI) is a free program conceived and run by Music Australia to celebrate and advocate for music in Australian schools. Now in its eleventh year, it’s a way for students and teachers to develop their skills as they learn and rehearse a specially written song over several months to be sung at the same time on the same day. Music Australia describe it as ‘the song that stops a nation’ and last year it engaged over 600,000 children from more than 2,500 schools.
While it is recognised that exposure to music in schools enhances student engagement and wellbeing, improves learning and promotes personal and social development, less than a quarter of government schools across Australia are currently able to provide a comprehensive music education.
The MCUI program is one way for children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to access free music education and delivers professional music development and learning resources directly to classroom teachers. This year the professional development sessions will be streamed live for greater outreach to teachers in remote, rural and regional areas.
And there’s more good news. Research based on the participation of schools in previous years indicates that involvement in the program leads to greater recognition of the benefit of music education, within those schools.
“Generalist teachers develop increased confidence and skills, and specialist teachers use the program as an opportunity to bring the whole school together to celebrate music. Participating in Music: Count Us In is also a great way for schools to engage with their local community, seek local media coverage, advocate directly to their Government representatives and create opportunities to showcase talented and dedicated students and teachers. More students might put their hands up to join existing choirs and music ensembles, Principals might decide to allocate more time and resources to music, teachers might offer more regular music classes per week ….There are so many ways to bring more music into students lives. Music: Count Us In is just the beginning!” Music Australia
A new song is written each year by a selection of school children in collaboration with a ‘music mentor’. This year, the music mentor is singer songwriter Taylor Henderson who will be working with five students from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria together with the MCUI program ambassador John Foreman OAM. The song and the teaching resources pack will be good to go in July.
MCUI is open to all schools from early childhood through to high school, in both the government and private sectors. If you are interested in registering or if you’d like to encourage somebody else to, more information can be found here.
The more kids who take part, the more powerful the message to the powers that be about the value and importance of a decent music education for all school aged children.
Deb Carveth: online editor for Community Music Victoria