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Last night, I attended the preview screening of Wide Open Sky, now showing in cinemas around Australia. I went for personal reasons as Mack (one of the featured children) is one of my piano students, but I came away inspired about the impact that music-making can have on rural communities. The film focuses on Moorambilla Voices, its conductor Michelle Leonard and the high-quality choral program that reaches rural children from outback NSW. Leonard is a passionate advocate of choral singing and her high expectations help to realise childrens' singing potential, pushing them beyond where they thought they could reach and developing a confidence in their own ability. The children featured in the film were all able to beautifully articulate how important music and singing is to them, and how the program enables them to find other types just like themselves amongst rural school communities where they usually feel like the odd-one-out. Some of the stories like Opal from Grawin are touching, and there are gorgeous moments between friends Ella and Katelyn from Cobar.
The film mainly dealt with the junior choir but Leonard's work also extends to a senior choir consisting of high schoolers who have developed choral skills through the program over a number of years. The program instills excellent musical role models which help the high musical outcomes including the incorporation of professional musicians for the gala performance, the camp staff who have musical backgrounds, the composers-in-residence who work to make new music with the childrens' input, and junior mentors who have graduated from the program.
Moorimbilla Voices relies on philanthropy to run its life-changing program as many of the children involved come from disadvantaged families, so financial support from the public is always welcome.
This film is a must-see for those who have a love of music and who are committed to quality music education. The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. If you do get along to the film and are inspired as I was, make sure you donate to the cause.
To financially support the outback kids of the Moorambilla Voices, go to www.moorambillablog.wordpress.com
For more information about the movie, go to www.wideopenskymovie.com
Here's a gorgeous short film by the talented Stuart Bowen. I was lucky enough to be asked to play for some of this, it's bit exciting that my hands have been seen at so many film festivals!
"Ever since he was a child, Woody has dreamt of playing piano. The problem is that he only has wooden paddles for hands. Stuck in a job he doesn't want, Woody spends his days dreaming of being a concert pianist. His dreams are big…but they're about to get out of hand."
Woody is a stop-motion animation shot in Sydney, Australia (2013).
I'm currently studying MTeach in secondary school teaching and have put together a number of webpages to meet assignment/prac requirements. These pages have resources, presentations, and online activities that both students and teachers can use. Please contact me if you want to use any of the quizzes as I will have to alter them to make it work for you. Here is a list of these resources which I'll keep updating.
19th Century Music
Music of Africa
Music of the Baroque period: keyboard instruments
Music of a Culture: Jewish music
Music of a Culture: Yolngu music
Music of a Culture: Balinese Gamelan music
Music for Multimedia: Gaming Music
Music for Radio, Television, Film and Multimedia: Advertising Music
Music for Radio, Television, Film and Multimedia: Music for Film
Music and Technology: Electronic Music
Music and Technology: Minimalism
Popular Music: Soul Music
Popular Music: Australian Rock Music
Music 2, Year 12 Aural Exam (created by R.Hocking)
Rhythm: triple time
Stuart Bowen has put together a film that is a must-see for all pianists. Stuart came over to film me (well, my fingers) playing the Chopin Revolutionary Etude. Have a look at http://woodyshortfilm.com/ - I'm dying to see it, couldn't make it to the official opening, so hopefully will see it down the track. It's won a few awards to date.
Reflections/news on music, piano and music teaching, and anything else that pops up.