Students from Challis Community Primary School in Western Australia will continue to reap the benefits from their time on ABC TV’s Don’t Stop the Music when they enter high school. A documentary that followed a group of Year Four students at Challis as they embarked on a new music education program with instruments donated by the community, it also saw the creation of a national instrument donation campaign for use in similar programs. Over 8000 instruments were donated, with the documentary credited for shining a light on the transformative effects of music education in primary schools.

Armadale Senior High School students. Photo supplied

Students from Challis will now have the opportunity to further their music education as secondary students at Armadale Senior High School, which has established a new Year Seven concert band program with the support of Healthway and Musica Viva. Currently, 27 students are learning either trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet or percussion in an ensemble format during class time, as well as receiving extra group lessons with instrumental tutors.

“Learning an instrument through ensemble-based classes is a not a technique used widely, with only a handful of schools in Western Australia having implemented the same program,” said Armadale Senior High School teacher, Anea Duratovic. “However, to me it makes complete sense. Music is a practical subject, so you learn it through playing an instrument, not through copious amounts of written work.”

“It’s wonderful to see teachers taking initiative to ensure students can continue their musical development. It encourages creativity and collaboration in the classroom and supports strong engagement with their peers, learning environment and individual well-being,” said Musica Viva’s Director of Education, Colette Vella.

Healthway CEO Susan Hunt has expressed pride at the organisation’s partnership with Musica Viva in the New Life Instrument Program. “This is a really special program. Members of our community donate used musical instruments that are then gifted to schools for use in their music programs.”

“Through this partnership, children and young people at the Challis Community Primary School and Armadale Senior High School have benefited from the joy of learning and participating in music and performance. This opens up new areas of experience for many and contributes to individual well-being and also positive mental health,” Hunt added.

“The advantages of studying an instrument are well known,” said Duratovic. “A sense of achievement, emotional development and engagement in school are just some of the benefits I am witnessing as I run this program. Being in a low socioeconomic area, I believe learning an instrument will be a crucial element in helping these students grow positively through their high school career.”

Media and the community will have the chance to see the Armadale Senior High School Year 7 Concert Band give its first public performance on June 27 at the Armadale Senior High School Performing Arts Centre