Every once in a while someone comes up with an idea, a “what if” moment that becomes reality. Recently, Mr Kieran Hurley, our Director of Music, approached Mrs Wilmot and me about such an idea. His ‘curriculum epiphany’: What if we got one of the best musicians and composers in the country, combined with one of our most outstanding and revered Aboriginal leaders in Western Australia, add some WASO musicians, local artists and drama teachers and over 100 Year 5 and 6 students for a whole week? What could the students learn, create, develop, and what could we learn and create as a community together? Well, he did it! With the amazing support of Dr Gerard Brophy, Mr Barry Mcguire and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the idea will become reality for our Year 5 and 6 students in the final week of this term. An overview and purpose for this STRETCH program is below. We will hold a performance on Friday morning of Week 9 in the DLD showcasing the compositions written by our students, performed by WASO musicians, accompanied by drama and art representations from our students depicting their interpretations of several local Aboriginal stories.
Mr Barry Mcguire is a Balladong, Wadjuk, Nyoongar who is highly regarded as a public speaker, facilitator and negotiator. Barry has worked as a consultant and cultural advisor on a range of strategic projects across the corporate, mining and oil and gas sectors as well as local, state and federal government structures.
In addition to his role as Managing Director of Redspear Safety, he continues to play an active role in community development across Perth. This allows him to exercise his passion for the promotion and sharing of cultural understanding across all industries.
Dr Gerard Brophy has had a distinguished musical and composing career. Over the years he has developed an express interest in collaborating with artists from other disciplines and he is now particularly active in the areas of dance and theatre. He has also been involved in exciting collaborations with musicians from other cultures, among them the great Senegalese master drummers, the N'Diaye Rose family, timbila virtuoso, Venancio Mbande from Mozambique and Balinese gamelan players.
A Synopsis of “Dookoorniny”: an Action Based Learning Project for Years 5 and 6 is below:
Dr Gerard Brophy will lead the students through a composition process, putting into music a dreamtime story particular to the Nyoongar peoples of Western Australia as presented by Mr Barry Mcguire. We will also have experts from the areas of Aboriginal culture, dance and visual arts to ensure that this project is a holistic cultural and artistic experience.
- To facilitate the students to work at the top end of ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ (creation and evaluation).
- To allow each student to feel valued and capable through the myriad of opportunities available as a part of the project.
- To celebrate and share the rich Aboriginal culture of the Nyoongar people of South West Western Australia. Some examples of past collaborations include “Kolbang djin-djin” and the “Introitus Ngaala Maman” both composed by Dr Gerard Brophy after consultation with Mr Barry McGuire, Mr Andrew Beck and the students of the Boodjar Bidi dance group.
- To take each student out of his or her ‘comfort zone’ and have him or her work collaboratively on an Inquiry based project.
- To be able to workshop each composition in a ‘live’ setting, by utilising an ensemble provided by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
- To perform the resulting piece in a public forum – being a concert for parents and friends in the DLD. This concert will be recorded and a copy of this work will also be gifted to the WASO, AISWA, Qld Conservatorium of Music, NSW Conservatorium of Music, WAAPA and ASME.
In other words, this is a simply amazing opportunity for Guildford Grammar School and for our students and staff. We are looking for this type of ‘dookoorniny’ to be a significant part of the Year 5 and 6 experience at the Preparatory School for years to come.
Dookoorniny is the Nyoongar word meaning create, make and compose.
How unbelievably lucky we are to have a curriculum epiphany like this from Mr Hurley, and to have the support of so many in our community to make this happen.
Mr Clark Wight
Head of Preparatory School
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