Young students from Mornington Island State School were thrilled and proud to sing in sync with children country-wide for Australia’s biggest school initiative.
Music: Count Us In, saw students across the country sing the same song, on the same day, at the same time.
Music education was the star, but there were plenty of other good forces at play, said Mornington Island State School Music teacher, Stephanie Rosman.
“The kids love watching their 2015 performance on YouTube, they often get me to look up ‘Mornington Island State School’ and watch their performance,” Ms Rosman said.
“This year, the younger year levels had been practising in their own lunchtimes, singing and learning the Auslan words for ‘Shine Together’.”
At 11.30am on November 2, at the same time as everyone else across Australia, the whole school started singing.
“We performed it with our school, recorded it on video and uploaded it to YouTube. After we sang, I was able to show them the official live stream video from Melbourne, so they could see that they were all singing it at the same time,” Ms Rosman said,
This song ‘Shine Together’ was written by five students with help from professional songwriters, for a competition as part of Music: Count Us In. Ms Rosman hopes that some of her students will enter next year.
Ms Rosman said it was a chance to connect students from a remote area to other parts of the country.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for these kids to be able to participate in something that I knew schools in Brisbane were participating in, even though we are so far away,” Ms Rosman said.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do it was for them to be able to feel connected, and to actually show them the map of all the other schools who participated.
“For most of the students, the big city is Mount Isa.”
The music program also gave young ones a vital lesson about their precious ears and aural abilities.
“Indigenous kids have the highest rate of middle ear infections in the world,” Ms Rosman said.
“Quite a few of our kids are hard of hearing. So with us discussing deafness and the degrees of deafness, we’ve been able to talk about how people manage their hearing and the importance of looking after their ears.
“I have been able to instil in the kids that, even if we’re not completely deaf, if we have some hearing we need to really preserve that and look after it,” she said.
Ms Rosman is a graduate teacher and has enjoyed a full year of teaching music on the island.
“I really wanted to work in an Indigenous community, and I’m so glad that I chose Mornington Island School as my first teaching position,” Ms Rosman said.
The school has around 250 students and 15 teachers.
“For the first half of the year I taught Prep to Year 4 as well as a Year 4, 5, and 6 class, and the high school. In the second half of this year I have taught Year 4 to Year 10.”
Ms Rosman hopes to do some songwriting with the students at the end of this year.
“We have done small things like making up raps with rhyme, beatboxing and freestyling,” she said.
The song ‘Shine Together’ also taught the students about diversity and difference, she said.
“The lyrics actually say “It’s okay to be a little different,” so that was a positive message that came out of it.”
The story Mornington Island kids ‘Shine Together’ in nationwide music event first appeared on North Queensland Register.