In a bid to encourage more children to participate in music, well-known Australian opera singer, tenor David Hobson, has signed up as ambassador for the Musica Viva In Schools program.

The singer, musician and composer has agreed to be the public face of Musica Viva In Schools with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of music education in Australia.

As ambassador, he will endorse the program and undertake a strong advocacy role.

Musica Viva General Manager, Mary Jo Capps, said it was well documented that active participation in music from an early age helped children optimise their potential by improving capabilities in a number of key learning areas such as reasoning and problem solving, maths, language, lateral thinking, memory, time management, eloquence as well as social and team skills.

She said Musica Viva In Schools helped to achieve these outcomes for more than 400 000 Australian children every year.

‘We are delighted that David Hobson has agreed to be the face of Musica Viva In Schools,’ she said. ‘His versatility and experience as a composer as well as a performer align perfectly with the principle of Musica Viva In Schools – of experiencing music by performing, listening, moving and creating.’
Growing up in country Victoria, David Hobson was interested in a variety of sports and different forms of music. He began his performing career in pop and jazz music, which provided television exposure and recording experience.

It was while demonstrating a music theatre work he had composed for the Victoria State Opera that his amazing voice was discovered. Subsequently and quite unintentionally, he became an opera singer, making his operatic debut with the VSO in1987 and going on to win the nation’s hearts as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohême production for Opera Australia.

He believes that every child is born with musical ability but if this is not developed and nurtured from an early age it dies.

‘As a musician and now a father, I am deeply conscious of the value that music can bring to children as they progress through school,’ He says. ‘I am honoured to have been invited to take on this role and look forward to working with Musica Viva In Schools to promote the benefits of music education in the classroom.’

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ACMF ambassador program
In another attempt to boost student participation in music, The Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF) is also developing an ambassador program featuring Australian celebrities who are prepared to lend their name to the initiative.

The aim is to ensure that music education is available to every Australian child at school. The foundation was founded by Don Spencer, OAM, in 2002, and aims to inspire and enrich the lives of all Australian children and youth, particularly the disadvantaged and Indigenous.

The Foundation provides music equipment, free tuition and mentoring via its many programs with schools and juvenile justice centres.

A team of dedicated teachers provide weekly tuition to students in disadvantaged areas, remote locations for Indigenous children and kids ‘at risk’ in juvenile justice centres. Programs run for a minimum of 12 months.

‘We believe that every child in Australia should have the opportunity to participate in music,’ Mr Spencer said.

‘Research has proven that the integration of music in a child’s education reaps a range of intellectual, cultural and social benefits. Sadly, music is no longer compulsory in state schools.’

The ACMF also runs the National Songwriting Competition, an annual event with entry forms being sent to every school in Australia. Prizes are in the form of musical equipment for both the winning songwriters and also their school.

This year the Foundation has engaged the services of Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson as its ambassador for the National Songwriting Competition.

Another great addition to the event is the involvement of the Sydney Festival. On 5th January this year, the winning songs from the 2007 competition were performed in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

The 2008 Competition opened on 28th April, so if your school has a talented young songwriter, encourage them to enter as they may find themselves on stage at the opening of the Sydney Festival in 2009.

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