News November 16, 2018

School’s in: Tasmania trials program of students mentored by top songwriters

School’s in: Tasmania trials program of students mentored by top songwriters

Tasmania is trialling a new scheme in which school students will be mentored by, and collaborate with, major Australian songwriters.

Scheduled to launch this morning, the program is the result of a partnership between Tasmania’s Department of Education and national music organisation, APRA AMCOS.

It will test APRA AMCOS’ national in-school music mentoring scheme, SongMakers in the island state for the first time.

It signals a move on the part of the department to forge closer links between its students and teachers and the Australian music industry and to use the project to help build students’ overall career-ready skills.

As part of the pilot, five SongMakers ‘hub’ schools have been chosen across the state.

They are Claremont College, Launceston College, Ulverstone High School, New Norfolk High School and St Mary’s District School.

Each will host mentored songwriting and recording workshops for students from their own and neighbouring schools.

In addition to these cross-campus collaborations, the trial will also deliver industry-specific professional learning to more than 40 teachers from targeted secondary schools across the state.

At today’s media launch of the scheme, at 11 am, at Claremont College, music students and staff experienced a performance by ARIA Award-winning songwriter/performer and APRA AMCOS ambassador, Katie Wighton of All Our Exes Live in Texas.

Also in attendance will be wunderkind record producer/songwriter, Taka Perry, who was discovered in a SongMakers workshop while at school and whose production credits now include Dean Lewis, Ruel and Max Frost; and longtime music campaigner and project director, Tina Broad, who runs the SongMakers program.

According to Broad “The SongMakers program helps schools respond to the challenge of providing engaging learning experiences that connect to the world beyond the school gate.

“This is especially important in contemporary music, where things like recording technologies and digital distribution methods are changing so rapidly and revolutionising how original music gets made and heard.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Tasmania on innovations to the SongMakers program and we commend the Department of Education for its pioneering spirit in this collaboration with us.”

Added Jane Polley, curriculum leader, the arts, DoE Tas “Our strategic plan’s commitment to inspire and support all learners to be connected, resilient, creative and curious thinkers is encapsulated by the SongMakers program.

“We connect our learners to industry mentors and to other like-minded students, develop their resilience as they produce songs in a real-world scenario, extend their creativity and ‘student voice’ as they create original compositions and pique their curiosity about the music industry.

“Maybe we will produce the next famous Tasmanian export but more importantly we develop the transferable skills and attitudes our learners need for a fast-moving future: confidence, flexibility, adaptability and open-mindedness.”

The trial will run over Terms 1 and 2 in 2019 and will be evaluated in collaboration with education researchers at the University of Tasmania.

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