The Taranaki Academy of Brass has been bringing music to children in the region for 10 years.
“We teach young children to play brass and percussion instruments. There is strong demand in schools for music teaching on all kinds of instruments,” Mike Brooke, Chairman, said.
“We arrange for tutors to go to the schools and teach those children who are interested in music. The tutors are qualified and suitable for the job. We wanted to ensure the programme is consistent across schools.”
“The lessons are funded by the government and the only thing the pupils have to do is to pay for the hire of the instruments. But we are constantly buying instruments because they don’t last forever."
Due to increasing demand, Toi Foundation assisted the organisation to continue to deliver the music lessons to the students. Toi Foundation provided funding of $3,100 in July 2021 towards running costs.
“The only other option would be to charge the kids more to hire the instruments. We try to keep it at a minimum rate. We don’t want the cost to be out of reach of the children who are interested in music,” Mike said.
“We have taught hundreds of students, some of whom have become members of The National Secondary Schools Band of New Zealand. They play at places like retirement villages to get experience playing in public. Currently, we have around 50 or 60 students from eight Taranaki schools.”
“We were able to offer a summer school to our pupils in the holidays. It was all organised by Senior Brass Tutor, Ray Farrow, with help from other volunteers,” Mike said.
“Young people who engage in music have been shown to become well-rounded people and have a lifelong appreciation of music.”