When we first discussed In Tune WithU with Musician, Singer Songwriter, Cheryl Beattie of The Music Industry in Rosebud, we talked about engagement and the fact that it seemed that so many young people in the local area were struggling to be engaged. By this we meant struggling to be interested, to be connected, inspired and captivated in learning and leading in their daily lives.

Many were not attending school regularly, or, if they were, they were feeling disconnected and with little motivation. We could see these feelings and outcomes were seemingly much worse following the COVID lockdowns.

So, if engagement was the problem, the outcomes so far, after three terms, are outstandingly successful. The program is fully subscribed with very high level attendance and an ever growing wait list. If someone can’t attend for one reason or another, the next person on the wait list gets to attend in their place. And the excitement, attention and feedback on sessions indicates very high levels of engagement.

And what we see from this is that that engagement changes a young person’s outlook such that the engagement in music can grow to include engagement, interest, connection to other parts of their lives, including learning and attending school.

As well as expert instruction in music, the young people have a sense of community with the teachers and other students. There is a support person on hand at all times and very healthy afternoon tea at each of the two sessions per week.

This would not be possible without generous donor funding. We are building a data base to track outcomes against investment to truly understand the value of music in this context.