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Harmony in Strings program gains exceptional in-kind support

The University of Melbourne has recognized the value of a new program delivered by The Song Room by offering in-kind support through student placement and volunteer students to assist in delivering the program to kids in need in Melbourne’s inner city schools. The Harmony in Strings project pilots the use of an innovative model of cello and violin music education in a disadvantaged school to encourage music education and social cohesion through into secondary school. Students from Years 4, 5 and 6 at Sacred Heart Primary will participate in the program over 3 years which is generously funded by the William Buckland Foundation.

University students put in as much as 11 hours per week at the school with The Song Room and in-turn receive the benefit of teaching experience. Angela Ho started with Harmony in Strings at the beginning of term one, 2011 as a Placement Student and when her placement finished, Angela requested that she continue with her role, but as a volunteer. Throughout the year, Angela has become a valued part of our team and a favorite amongst Sacred Heart students. Angela says that she has “had the chance to interact with children from refugee backgrounds and understand the difficulties some children may be having, be it social or academic (such as language). I was given opportunities to actively help with the classroom teaching during my time there and this had been very rewarding in terms of both instrumental teaching and small group behavioral management. My time with Harmony in Strings has been an extremely fulfilling and enriching one”

Students at Sacred Heart School have made incredible progress with their instruments this year and now have a wide variety of songs in their repertoire. They have enjoyed the learning process and many students are now asking for violins or cellos for Christmas and Birthday presents.

Principal Mary Lawrey adds: “People were very doubtful at the beginning of the year that some of our kids would be able to sit still and play a violin, or sit with a group and play in a group. At the end-of-year concert a couple of weeks ago, the students not only sat still and played their instruments, but performed their own compositions created in class and individually.

“Our kids have learnt how to behave in different situations, how to behave as an audience, as a performer, and how to enjoy all of those,” she said. “It teaches them self-management skills, builds their concentration and how to work in a group, and builds their self-esteem.” she said.

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