Music: Count Us In counts down to Celebration Day

Typically, the month of August is one where the joyous sound of children’s voices ring out in music classrooms across Australia as hundreds of thousands of school children embark on a journey of musical learning and song via their participation in the annual Music: Count Us In program.

The program, now in its 14th year is Australia’s largest free school music program. It exists to assist teachers in delivering quality classroom music, and celebrates the importance and value of music education in schools. The program provides registered teachers with a whole term’s worth of classroom-ready lesson plans created by our team of expert music educators and aligned to the Australian Arts Curriculum; a suite of accompanying teaching resources including instrumental and vocal ensemble arrangements; a series of guided teaching demonstration videos; and the opportunity to participate in a range of face to face or online professional development opportunities.

With ‘equal access’ and ‘inclusivity’ at the core of our values, the MCUI program caters to all students, and all schools. It includes an indigenous language translation of the central Program Song; an Auslan translation of the song along with corresponding teaching demonstration videos; Braille scores; and a series of resources for students with a wide range of special education needs.

Encouraging students to become passionate about music, the program traditionally culminates in a national sung ‘Celebration Day’ event in November, where schools across Australia connect via live-stream to sing the same song, on the same day, at the same time. However, in light of the general uncertainties around COVID-19 and the devastating ban on school ensemble singing, chanting, and playing of wind and brass instruments announced in NSW last week, and similar restrictions in Victoria, our 2020 Celebration Day will also feature for the first time, a full performance of the song in Auslan. This will enable all students in all states to safely perform the Program Song together as planned, while complying with health advice in their area.

This performance will be led by the Signing Choir from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) Thomas Pattison School, who along with their wonderful teacher Melina Williams have already put an enormous effort into translating, learning and performing the song in order to create our teaching videos. I was extremely privileged to spend the day with them recently while we filmed the videos, and am thrilled that these beautiful children will play a lead role in uniting school children all over the country in performance and song on our November 5th Celebration Day, despite the difficulties posed by Covid.

As I share this exciting news, the 2020 Program Song title ‘You Won’t Bring Us Down’ seems particularly apt!

There is still plenty of time to register for Music: Count Us In 2020. Please help us advocate for the value and benefits of music education in schools by encouraging any teachers or schools you know to register now to access our complete music education program (including the Program Song and Teaching Resources). The program is FREE and available online!

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