Australian school music programme turns to signing during pandemic

Music Count Us In 2020

While many music events have been cancelled by Covid-19, Australia’s Count Us In schools’ music programme will celebrate its 14th year in unique style and is hoping for all Australian schools to participate.

The development of Count Us In followed a report from the Australian government that expressed concern about the diminishing provision of music education in schools. The programme was created to assist teachers by providing a full term of pre-prepared lesson plans created by music educators in alignment with the Australian Arts Curriculum.

The programme encompasses instrumental and vocal ensemble arrangements, guided teaching demonstration videos and face-to-face or on-line professional development opportunities.

In normal circumstances, the programme culminates in a national celebration day when schools across Australia sing a new song at the same time via live stream. Aimed at being as inclusive as possible, the song is always supplied to schools with Auslan (Australian sign language) training videos, braille scores and indigenous Australian translations, which many schools teach to the children. The pandemic, however, has resulted in lockdown for many schools and restrictions on choral and wind instrument usage in those schools that are open.

So, for 2020, all schools are being encouraged to learn the Auslan translation of the song to be led by the Signing Choir from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s Thomas Pattison School.

Video: The 2020 Program Song, You Won’t Bring Us Down.  The song draws on themes of young people standing up for what they believe in, inspired by climate change and the recent Australian bushfires.

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