Fancy Pants – Australia

Art Forms: Music, Composition, and Literature.

Participants: children (9 – 18 years)

Country: Australia

Description of the work

Music for All Project: Fancy Pants

South Australia, July 2019

by Emily Gann (Project Leader), Connecting the Dots in Music

“Let’s change lives with music. That’s what we are here to do”

Paul Rissmann, Composer/Animateur (UK)

Music for All Project was a pioneering music education program that took place in South Australia earlier this year. This unique initiative set out to highlight the deep potential for an inclusive, community-based model of music education that positions students of all abilities at the centre of the creative process, mentored and guided by world-class teaching artists. Involving fifty school-aged students with disabilities from three special schools, this collective composition project saw the students create brand new music as they brought to life the heart-warming Australian Children’s book, Fancy Pants, by Kelly Hibbert and Amanda Graham.

Led by internationally-acclaimed composer Paul Rissmann, with London Symphony Orchestra violinist Belinda McFarlane, the program additionally involved eight outstanding trainee teaching artists from across Australia. Together, the artistic team inspired, performed alongside and mentored the students, as they collaboratively devised and presented a brand-new musical performance. The program culminated in a deeply moving and joyful sold-out public concert, featuring all students, teachers and artists on stage together.

At its core, this inspirational project embodied the belief that high quality music education is the right of every child, and that all young people have rich creative and musical potential that must be nurtured. The impact and outcomes of the project exceeded all expectations. The extraordinary level of engagement and commitment by everyone involved demonstrated the momentous power of music to connect people, celebrate diversity, and positively impact the wellbeing of both individuals and an entire community.

Follow the link to see the official project video.

[Music for All Project was the outcome of an innovative partnership between Kilparrin School, Connecting the Dots in Music, City of Marion, Australian Youth Orchestra, Raising Literacy Australia, Suneden Specialist School and SA School for Vision Impaired.]

Community Feedback:

Music doesn’t have to be something spectated upon, performed and observed by the elite and those who understand it. Music is something we all have inside us and can be a bridge between all people, regardless of age, background, musical training or disability.”

“This show was the best thing I have been to for years. Tears, laughter, hopefulness, joy and all because music brings our souls together in such a powerful way… the audience just beamed because they knew they were watching something truly human. Wow so special.”

“The Music for All Project brought together a sense of community and collaborative creative energy between children, teenagers and adults of all ages – both disabled and non-disabled- the likes of which the world rarely sees. Music, in particular, has the unique power to bridge so many barriers – communication, age, language, disability to name a few.”

“To see the impact a week of music could have on a whole community was really incredible to witness, and my skills and understanding of how important the accessibility of music is has largely increased.”

“The whole experience will be one I will never forget and after 35 years of teaching here at Kilparrin it will be a highlight.”

“Music has a way of connecting people on a different level. Music is a catalyst for student engagement; music provides enjoyment and a reason for students to share their ‘voice’ and showcase their abilities; music creates community.”

“It was an uncompromising creative collaboration where literally everyone on stage had the chance to compose and improvise and perform to the best of their ability, and it happened in a way where everyone could push themselves and their different abilities as far as possible while still feeling like a great collaborative ensemble.”