Australia Network
English Bites


print friendly page for

23 June 2005

Music Workshops

Visit some music workshops that are being run in Victorian high schools.

LISA WHITEHEAD, REPORTER: Meet the Pacific Island Beat Box Boys, one of the raw talents discovered in workshops, which are taking hip hop, rap, belly dancing and beat box to schools in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

KATE GILLICK, PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR: They never cease to surprise us with what they go away and rehearse or try or experiment with themselves, and then bring something back or you just get a mood going and they start improvising like mad.

KRISTINE NELSON, JUNIOR LEVEL CO-ORDINATOR: It doesn't matter whether they're Islanders or Arabic or whatever background, they'll skip. It doesn't really matter what their background is. And a lot of the kids are really into music, heavily into music. So they need a chance to express that. So it gives them a chance to mix with kids that they wouldn't normally mix with.

LISA WHITEHEAD: Glenroy's Box Forest Secondary College is a melting pot of 52 nationalities, and that's not unusual in schools in this part of Melbourne. Safuan Bennam's family is Moroccan, Ida Fuataga is Samoan, and Lavinia Tokoe's family is from the Cook Islands.

SPEAKER: There's heaps of different races doing it, so it's cool.

SPEAKER: We're all one. We all dance within the same rules. So it definitely breaks it down.

SPEAKER: Everyone can get along, like, you know, even if it's just for an hour every day.

LISA WHITEHEAD: In August, students from Reservoir's Lakeside College, Box Forest, Broadmeadows and Hillcrest secondary colleges will come together to form the Anti-Racist Action Band and will perform a fusion of hip hop, rap, belly dancing, beat box and Arabic drumming.

KATE GILLICK: The hip hop is overwhelmingly the largest component, and what's really exciting is that hip hop appeals to youth from any culture. It seems to be the contemporary dance thing that they all love, and we want to push it. So we want to push the Arabic drums under the contemporary routine.

LISA WHITEHEAD: Teacher Kristine Nelson has no qualms about demonstrating her hip hop style.

KRISTINE NELSON: I'm putting myself out there by dancing with them and taking the ribbing that I am. So I'm letting them know that I'm being vulnerable as well. So I suppose a lot of teaching is also role modelling.

Just seeing kids up there dancing that normally just don't put themselves out there, just afraid you know of what others might think or not being cool because they're not great at something. So the response has been fantastic.

KATE GILLICK: Hopefully if the project continues to keep going, we have support from people like VicHealth and VicArts; that there is all these working-class kids from low socioeconomic backgrounds who are extremely talented, and if we can actually instill a seriousness to them that they could be involved in the performing arts, that they have an equal right to be in the performing arts, that their talent, that their skill can be brought out into the open, and we want them to collaborate, have a good time and to broaden their minds.

story notes

hip hop, rap
Hip hop, like rap, is a style of music where the words are spoken and not really sung, along to a strong beat.

beat box
A beat box was originally a machine that makes a rhythmic beat. But beat box now is used for people who make those same sounds, but using their mouth and throat, not using a machine.

Into means very interested in.

Example: I'm really into learning English.

Anti- means against. So anti-racist means against racist behaviour, or against the unfair treatment of people based on their race.

A fusion is a mixture. Itís when different things are combined together

putting myself out there
If you put yourself out there, you are doing something that might be embarrassing.

taking the ribbing
To rib someone is to tease them, or to make fun of them. So she has to take the teasing. She has to put up with the kids making fun of her when she dances.

brought out into the open
made public

broaden their minds
learn new ideas