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61.     A CHILD’S BRAIN DEVELOPS FASTER WITH EXPOSURE TO MUSIC EDUCATION A study by researchers at the University of Southern California shows that exposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children.

60.     MUSIC AND MAYHEM IN MIRBOO NORTH Twice a week Mayhem breaks out in the life of Gippsland based Singing Leader, Jane Coker. This has nothing to do with escaped chooks or lost car keys, Mayhem is a music and drama group, organised by Scope and facilitated by Jane, for adults from day centres in Traralgon, Wonthaggi, and Warragul. Everyone comes together at the Grainstore, a beautiful old wooden building in Mirboo North, to sing and dance and meet other people. It’s about therapy, fun and having a good time together. It’s about making a racket and making a mess. And it’s awesome.

59.     IN CELEBRATION OF SINGING FROM COUNTRY Now and again an opportunity comes along that speaks to the heart. In January 2014, I met Terry White at the Turramurra Folk Music Camp. I was there in my capacity as a storyteller, having been invited to run some workshops. Most likely I was on a riff about the role storytellers might play in connecting folks to Australian landscape and the places they called ‘home’...

58.     FROM NORTHCOTE TO THE NETHERLANDS: HOW A CMVIC SKILLS DAY STARTED AN UNEXPECTED VOYAGE INTO THE WORLD OF DUTCH POP  You never know what you’ll take away from the experience of attending a CMVic event. A banana peel desting to languish longtime in the seam of your bag, maybe. A head filled with fresh material and exciting inspiration; the buzz of being surrounded by your tribe and an empty water bottle, definitely. And for one Melbourne based singing leader who attended a CMVic Skills Day in Northcote last year, a chance meeting unexpectedly led to a whole new chapter of cultural and linguistic discovery and personal learning.

57.     DUNROAMIN? JUST STARTIN! A HOT STEPPING NEW STREET BAND HITS THE STREETS OF DUNOLLY Picture the scene: a large group of leather clad bikers on a pit stop; add a healthy dose of community musicians into the mix, and what do you get? Broadway, a street through the small, regional town of Dunolly, last Saturday afternoon. 

56.     WHERE STREETSOUNDS MEETS SOUNDS OF COUNTRY  Last week, members of Boomulele, the StreetSounds Street Band from Morwell, took part in a Ceremony at the Latrobe Regional Arts Gallery to mark the end of the Sounds of Country exhibition and to celebrate the community of Aboriginal artists within it. TheSounds of Country exhibition explored the Aboriginal concept of Deep Listening, revealing the relationship the Aboriginal artists have to the land and to the natural world.

55.     READY, WILLIN’ AND ABLE: GENEROSITY AND SOLIDARITY PROVE KEY COMPONENTS OF WILLIAMSTOWN SINGING GROUP Leaving Melbourne via the Westgate Bridge on a Wednesday evening, clouds of steam cluster and dissipate into the darkening sky. It’s fair to assume these plumes are output from the factories and refineries dotting the coast like pins in a board from Port Melbourne to Geelong. It’s also possible that part of the component entering the atmosphere is a heady mix of CO2 and endorphins being exhaled by the Willin Wimmin of Williamstown, having their weekly sing.

54.     TIDES OF WELCOME KEEP ON ROLLING: A QUEENSCLIFF COMMUNITY CHOIR CELEBRATES 13 SONG-FILLED YEARS Tides of Welcome Choir has been celebrating diversity and harmony through a shared passion for singing, and has just blown out the candles on its thirteenth anniversary cake. The choir comprises locals from Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, who enjoy the experience of singing together and creating soulful harmonies under the direction of their dedicated leader, singer songwriter, Andrea Robertson.

53.     SHARING MORE THAN SONG: SINGING LIFE BACK INTO AN OLD, OLD CONCEPT WITH A BRAND NEW BARTER CHOIR. ‘If I can reduce my living expenses significantly that’s as good as making money.’ says Werribee singing leader, Steph Payne, who recently established ReciproVocal, a Barter Choir where instead of paying a termly fee to join, participants are invited to share and exchange skills and trades and even sing for their supper. (Steph dreams of dentists, desperate to sing, and who wouldn’t?)

52.     FAMOUS FOR FIFTEEN SECONDS: TIPS TO HELP YOU CAPTURE YOUR GROUP’S STORIES ON FILM. Whether you like it or hate it, the ways in which we absorb and process information have changed irrevocably, and putting a message out into the world is easy as pie. The challenge comes in finding your target audience before the pastry turns crusty and hard.

51.     SINGING TO BE STRONG: OVERCOMING ANXIETIES THROUGH SONG Last Thursday, singing leader Richard Lawton woke up planning to head to the Royal Melbourne Hospital as he has done for the past eight weeks where he runs a singing group for outpatients living with an eating disorder.

50.     OPEN HOUSE; OPEN HEARTS: TRAVELLING AS COMMUNITY MUSIC MAKERS ‘Playing music with people from other cultures is more than just communication, it’s an act of love’ believes Brian Strating, leader of mens’ singing group, Homebrew Verandah Music and Brunswick Old Time String Orchestra. (BOTSO)

49.     JAMMING BEATS BOOKS: HOW MUSIC MAKING WITH TODDLERS CAN ENHANCE THEIR DEVELOPMENT The next time you sit down to read to a toddler, consider popping that ole book back to its place on the shelf for a while*, and playing some homemade music together instead. Over time, the long term effect of your action might just make the world a better place to be. 

48.     SHARING JEWISH SONGS AT THE COMMUNITY MUSIC VICTORIA MUSIC CAMP I recently attended the 2016 CMVic Music Camp at Grantville Lodge. I had never attended a CMVic event before and was somewhat trepidatious. I do not play a musical instrument myself, but I do sing in a choir, and I love singing, so was keen to take part in the singing workshops during the weekend in particular.

47.     THE CHANGING TUNE OF CHORAL SINGING IN GERMANY I arrived at Rathaus Tiergarten, a local town hall of Berlin on a sunny spring afternoon in May, just in time for a celebration. Assorted stalls, abuzz with colour and activity, promoted organisations that support people with disabilities and their carers.

46.     LEADING FROM THE FRONT WHEN WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. TIPS FOR CONDUCTING AN ‘ALL IN’ ENSEMBLE All-in ensembles: a mix of instruments, a mix of ages, a mix of skill levels with everybody welcome to squeeze up together and join in. They may be a whole heap of fun to be part of, but how does it feel to be the person standing in the middle, holding every thing together?

45.     BASKING IN THE FREEWHEELIN’ WARMTH OF THE SUNSHINE STREET BAND The last rays of a Tuesday evening sun can often be glimpsed glinting off the brass horns,  drums and other instruments of the Sunshine Street Band by the runners and dog walkers soaking up day’s end on Albion’s oval.

44.     DREAMS COME TRUE AT PRAHRAN ACCORDION BAND! Prahran Accordion Band’s home is the German Club Tivoli on Dandenong Road. It’s not a building to evoke architectural wonder as you pass, but inside on the first and third Thursdays of the month, magic happens.

43.     A CONVERSATION ABOUT LEADING SINGERS WITH ASD This post is not written from a professional perspective. It is the shared experiences of Liz, a mother who is also a singing leade