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The Power of Teaching Artists

The positive effects of The Song Room’s program are felt well beyond the classroom. Our Teaching Artists help to build confidence, self-esteem and critical thinking skills in students – all while they’re participating in one of the most important parts of childhood, play.

Literacy and numeracy skills are incredibly important to develop, but it’s often in the arts where children find the passion and curiosity which ultimately steers the direction of their lives. Participation in the arts levels the playing field for those kids challenged by mainstream education expectations.

This semester, acclaimed performer and Teaching Artist, Tess Duddy has been running a Song Room program at St. Teresa’s Primary School in Melbourne. With a background in opera and musical theatre, Tess has helped instil a love of music in her class and given them an outlet and opportunity to express themselves. She uses a combination of singing, composition and simple instrumental exercises to improve her student’s motor skills and their ability to cooperate, be a part of a cohesive team, and build better relationships with each other.

When we visited recently we met a group of students who were eager to share their experiences. Watch the video above to meet a young man who beautifully articulates what his time in her class has meant to him. During Tess’s weekly workshops he was able to develop his passion for music to the point where he is now applying for a music scholarship at his local high school. For any child to find passion and focus at a young age is a significant achievement, and when that child has experienced extreme hardship at home the results are magnified.

The school has a cohort of varied cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Tess’s Song Room program has allowed the school as a whole to build stronger community ties. Parents have been invited to deliver dance workshops from their own cultures. These opportunities for parents to contribute to school life empowers teachers, parents and students to find commonality and a sense of belonging at the school.

Tess’s Song Room program gives children of all learning abilities the chance to thrive. By improving their confidence and connection with their peers during their Song Room class they’re better able to connect with the learning set by their teachers in other classes and work more collaboratively with others.


*Some faces have been blurred to protect privacy.

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