The Tennant Creek High School and the town’s Charles Darwin University centre have teamed up to help year 11 and 12 students write, perform and develop their own CD as part of their music studies.
Music teacher Andy Mison wanted to provide his students with a music course that incorporated writing, performance, production and marketing to give students a broad insight into the music industry.
He approached CDU’s Kate Young, leader of the Tennant Creek centre to see if the Certificate II in Music could be offered. The VET course was adopted, with excellent outcomes for students, improving their self-esteem, knowledge and confidence.
The class included students who struggle in traditional learning environments and are considered at risk. Mison said they responded well to the course.
‘Engagement is the key with these students and the course presents them with challenges to overcome, he says.
‘Goal setting is all important and keeping them motivated is critical. The prospect of having a CD in their hands kept the students interested.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous students worked together in the complete cycle of music production. Seven original songs were produced, with three sung in the traditional Alyawarr, Waramungu and Warlpiri languages.
Recording was completed using industry standard equipment at the high school and the songs were mixed and mastered at the Winanjjikari Music Centre of Tennant Creek. Students designed the album covers and are now working to promote and market the CD around the Territory.
‘The CD represents a huge boost to the self esteem of students because it is symbolic of their efforts and talents throughout the year,’ Mison says.
Another critical outcome of the course was maintaining local Indigenous music and language.
‘Keeping local languages alive by representing them in contemporary music styles is a wonderful combination, and creatively exciting as these beautiful languages open new musical pathways,’ he says.
The greatest pleasure was in helping install pride and purpose in the students and seeing students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds working together.
‘This whole process was about pragmatic vocational education that can equip students with the basis for real employment and potential career paths, and building self-esteem and co-operative workplace skills, two elements crucial for the motivation and future success of the students,’ says Mison.
Students recently performed at the Tennant Creek school concert and have just received the CDs from Adelaide.