I go into two Sydney schools where the kids do it tough. Many of these kids wouldn't be taken to much - possibly, apart from footy games.
Four years ago, I asked the band from the Royal Australian Navy to come and visit to play a concert for the kids. I also arranged for a group of children to drum water bottles with the band - which was very loud - but the RAN band were hugely good sports about it. The concert was a HUGE success. Kids whooping, kids dancing, teachers grooving - and me grinning at the back of the hall.
Now the band has come to all the schools I'm in - including a school 800 kms west of Sydney.
The impact these concerts have had are enormous.
Children have had a FABULOUS time, listening to really good music, played by really good musicians.
Teachers (the unsung heroes of our society, in my opinion) have had a really good time.
Children have learnt about various instruments - the piccolo, the oboe, the bassoon - they've heard them, and seen them played.
And it seems the band have had a really good time too.
Here's a video of some of the kids I teach playing 'Watzing Matilda'.
RAN band and 30 big water bottles
The kids had such a great time! Kids walking off saying 'That was the best fun! I was so nervous, and then it was so fun! It's been the best day!'
The band have just agreed to come back to both my Sydney schools.
It's such a great day. The musicians are so incredibly professional. And yet, when the Navy want to cut back funding, it's things like the band that gets the chop. Doesn't make any sense in my head at all.