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The Song Room at Whittington Primary School, Geelong

The Song Room program at Whittington Primary School has been going from strength to strength this year, empowering students with songs that focus on teamwork and confidence-building, and in turn encouraging a love of singing.

From the outset, the school’s goals for the partnership were to develop a music program that would increase student engagement with their learning, self-awareness, social dynamics and creativity through song. It appears to be working, with one student crafting this hilarious rhyme:

Before you came into our lives.
Our singing gave people hives!
Thanks for all that you’ve done.
You make singing really fun.”

Teaching Artist Adelle Gregory spent the first term working with the students and school teachers to develop foundations of musical concepts. Students have been working together, learning songs by repetition and echo techniques to improve listening, collaboration, literacy, familiarity with lyrics, and reading comprehension through whiteboard exercises.

The teachers haven’t been left out either, with some dusting off their own musical skills to jam with Adelle on piano and guitar, boosting class morale and further encouraging participation at all levels.

In Term 2 the school began working with a new Teaching Artist, Chanelle Tait who is a trained performer, singer and dancer. Chanelle is a Geelong local and has been working as a music specialist for places including Music Box Theatre Company and the Geelong Society of Operatic and Dramatic Art.

With great thanks to the program funders, Give Where You Live Foundation and Geelong Community Foundation, the students have also been able to visit both Circus Oz and the Melbourne Museum.

Many schools that The Song Room run programs in aren’t able to allocate adequate resources to support their students’ creative learning – this is not the case at Whittington, whose Principal, Craig Smith, understands the benefits a creative education can have on children:

“Whittington Primary School is committed to the arts. As some members of the Geelong community would know, construction work is currently underway for new teaching and learning spaces at Whittington including an art room and a music room. Due for completion at the end of 2018, we will finally be able to provide the children with the necessary modern space to express themselves through creativity. We look forward to transitioning into our new building facilities in 2019 by embedding music and performance within the school culture and student life.”

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