Hitting all the right notes

If music be the food of love, play on!

Entranced little faces were filled with rapture and joy at portside schools last year as halls swelled with the sounds of music from all over the world thanks to the dynamic Musica Viva In Schools program.

Almost 2000 children from a variety of local schools were treated to the very best in nationally and internationally acclaimed talent, with cultural performances by musicians from as far as Japan and Senegal entrancing teachers and children alike.

Musica Viva In Schools has been bringing interactive, dynamic and culturally diverse music to Australian schools for more than 35 years, giving students the opportunity to discover live music in their own way. A not-for-profit organisation, Musica Viva In Schools gives every child the opportunity to experience the best musicians this country offers.

Mary Scicchitano, National Education Manager for Muscia Viva In Schools, says the heart of the program is being able to provide comprehensive music education experiences for all students, including those with special learning requirements or from socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Newcastle.

‘Thanks to Port Watarah Coal Services, we’ve been able to better reach strategically targeted portside suburbs in 2017 and 2018 through a multi-layered music education program,’  Scicchitano says.

‘We have been able to broaden the kids’ horizons by showing them a performance of music from another culture and open their eyes to other opportunities. Music speaks to every child and every child has their own music to make.

‘We believe it is an essential experience for every student – there is nothing like the excitement and power of a live performance.’

In the past couple of years, students in the Hunter have been treated to performances by traditional Japanese drumming group Taikoz, an engrossing act in which students become sounding boards, vibrating along with the explosive energy coming off the stage; Senegalese group Teranga, a percussion-base act transporting audiences to a world of poetic, rhythmic storytelling in which tales of life in a small village become metaphors for how we live today; and Mara!, a multi-award winning ensemble of virtuoso musicians using woodwinds, double bass and plucked string instruments.

And while the performance is always the highlight of the program, Musica Viva In Schools also provides curriculum-aligned digital teaching resources, including a term’s worth of lesson plans, as well as training and support for teachers through accredited professional development.

‘This training means we can inspire teachers who may not necessarily be trained in teaching music to introduce music in their classrooms with confidence,’ Scicchitano says.

Musica Viva is one of the leading providers of music education in Australia reaching more than 900 schools and 280,000 students each year. It specialises in nationally and internationally-acclaimed performers who perform a wide variety of musical styles.

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