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"The social impact of this program has been outstanding. It has lead to a marked improvement in school attendance. Chronic late arrivals are now here before school and many behaviours we experienced because children were coming to school hungry have disappeared."

Stephen Stobbs Welfare Teacher Claymore Public School

Daystar Music Club

There are two elements to Daystar’s Music Club - providing a music teacher to teach musically talented students where the school is unable to fund its own teacher; and providing music therapy to assist intellectually disabled and emotionally disturbed students to improve their communication and cognitive skills.

Congratulations must go to our collaborative partner Australian Children’s Music Foundation and music tutor Alan Caswell for their work with students from Sarah Refern High School. Working with these musically talented students since 2006, students have been able to catch on to, and harness, the techniques and nuances of song writing and have since written the most profound lyrics and music to such a degree that they have laid demo tracks of their music in preparation for possible recording. Additionally, one song entered in the Australian Schools Songwriting Competition - a very prestigious competition for budding singer/songwriters across Australia - came in third place and won certificates for the boys involved as well as several hundred dollars worth of musical equipment for the Music Club. These boys, who had never received any awards at end of year ceremonies, were paraded before the school and community. These young people were not only seen as winners but it has empowered them to create and reach for higher goals.

Two Music Club members have moved to other schools as a direct result of their Music Club experience. One student won a scholarship to Macarthur Anglican College to receive further expert tuition as a guitarist. The other was invited by Campbelltown Performing Arts High School to take up an offer to join the vocal class full time; according to Sarah Redfern High School’s Principal he is the first student to be offered a place without an audition. While we might mourn the loss of these gifted and talented students we also rejoice in their achievements.

Two members of Music Club also went on to become the Head and Vice Head of Sarah Redfern High School in 2008. The Vice Head also won an AFS scholarship to study flamenco guitar in Spain and has recorded an album with 7-times Golden Guitar winner Alan Caswell.

In May 2009, Alan Caswell also began teaching students at James Meehan High School.

Our music therapy program commenced in July 2008 with our not-for-profit partner, Nordoff-Robbins, working from the University of Western Sydney. All of the participating students (from James Meehan High School and Claymore Public School) have been diagnosed with a behaviour and/or emotional disorder, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct Disorder. These disorders often lead students to aggression and other antisocial behaviour.

The first impact of the program is the reduction in truancy and absenteeism, as all students turn up for school on the day they attend music therapy! Other results to date are very encouraging with therapists and teachers seeing improvement in the areas of:

  • An increase in each student’s success in forming relationships - between student and therapist, student and teacher and between the students themselves.
  • A building or strengthening in each student’s experience of self-regulation, listening and concentration, expressing their emotions and feelings as well as self-esteem and self-confidence - teachers have noticed students are staying on task longer resulting in improved work quality.
  • An increase in the students’ social skills in the areas of tolerance and co-operation.

View the most recent Evaluation Report from Nordoff-Robbins for June 2009 to July 2010.

Watch Music Club film

James Meehan High School Song - "When Someone Lights the Flame" Play song

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