Eastern Fleurieu School Strathalbyn's R-6 campus scores $10,000 to create junior concert band

CHEERING: Annabel, Cooper, Levi, Jessica, teacher Ashleigh Tarling, Brianna and Maddi look forward to having new instruments to start a concert band. Photo: Dani Brown.
CHEERING: Annabel, Cooper, Levi, Jessica, teacher Ashleigh Tarling, Brianna and Maddi look forward to having new instruments to start a concert band. Photo: Dani Brown.

A performing arts teacher's dream to create a junior concert band at the Eastern Fleurieu School (EFS) R-6 campus is one step closer to reality after the state government announced a $10,000 grant for the school.

Ashleigh Tarling was excited to hear the school was one of 19 successful Music Innovation Fund applicants, and now they will purchase basic woodwind and brass instruments for students to use in a junior band.

Mrs Tarling said there was a high drop out rate for instrumental lessons and concert band involvement when students moved from the junior campus to the senior campus.

"There is a concert band at the high school (EFS's 7-12 campus) but students here can't transition smoothly, because the high school band is too advanced," Mrs Tarling said.

"The gap is getting too big for (young students) to have confidence to play in the concert band."

Another reason for the high drop out rate was the financial side for families.

She said music and other arts-related activities had huge mental health benefits and wanted to have music as an option for all children.

"We'll have the instruments at school so they don't have to use hired instruments. We'll have the set up so money isn't a barrier," she said.

The instruments will be sourced during term four so they can be bought in time for the start of the new school year.

Mrs Tarling's goal was to make music part of the school's culture, and that would start by having the concert band perform at assemblies.

She said providing more music and arts-related activities had led to an increase in student engagement.

"Behaviour issues have gone down massively. It's great for the brain, great for the soul, great for social connection," she said.

The Music Innovation Fund aims to create more opportunities for South Australian children to participate in music education.

Applications for round two of the Music Innovation Fund close on Friday, October 11.

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