AS THE nationwide Music: Count Us In singing event looms on October 31, an Inverell teacher has relayed a passionate message about the importance of music.
Music: Count Us In involves more than half a million students across Australia, from Kindergarten to Year 12, singing the same song at the same time.
Despite its popularity, Peter Schuhmacher, a music teacher at Macintyre High School, Inverell which was involved in the event’s pilot program in 2006, is concerned music is at risk of disappearing from school curriculums.
While sport was just as important, he said, music was seen as less of a career-oriented pursuit and was not necessarily pushed as hard as a worthwhile subject.
“The unfortunate thing about music in any school setting is it has to compete for space,” Mr Schuhmacher said.
“It uses both sides of the brain, so it’s an essential tool for key competencies, for example, thinking skills.
“It’s a bonus for anyone who becomes a musician, but the skills you learn through any musical activity are beneficial, full stop – that’s because it activates both sides of your brain.
“The idea is if you can get as much enjoyment running through your school and show the public how good it is, how beneficial music can be ... then it should be an essential part of a student’s education.”
Other schools participating in Music: Count Us In are Moree Public, Moree Christian School and Tintinhull Public, near Tamworth.
The event is Australia’s largest school music advocacy and participation program, growing steadily since 2007.
“It goes in the Guinness Book of Records – it’s the largest event of this type in the world for a synchronised thing across the country,” Mr Schuhmacher said.
This year’s song, Keep On, was penned by four students mentored by singer-songwriter Katie Noonan of the band George.
Tintinhull Public School teacher Sally Robinson said all 59 of the school’s pupils would sing this year – up from the full school quota of 42 pupils who sang last year.
It was the third time the school had been in Music: Count Us In and the pupils had been practising every Monday for the past five weeks to prepare for the big day.
It took a while for the children to get into the song. “It’s not as catchy a tune as the last one, I think – the last one was more upbeat; this one’s quieter,” Mrs Robinson said.