A musical journey through New Zealand’s bush

A new teaching resource from Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and children’s musician Chris Sanders, free for primary educators!

Music is unique among art subjects for its ability to inspire, provoke and connect across language, cultures and time. Its positive effects on mental health are well documented, though its mechanisms remain a mystery.  

For ākonga, especially young ākonga, music may provide a means of connection, expression and emotional release that words or images alone can’t provide. Additionally, an early introduction to music could foster a life-long love for the arts, which will carry tamariki well through adversity.  

Read the Term 2 edition of School News HERE

For educators looking to inspire their ākonga with music, the latest project from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and Chris Sanders may be the perfect opportunity to get tamariki acquainted with orchestral music, as well as New Zealand’s native fauna.  

 The star of this musical journey is Hana the Glowworm, and the free resource, developed by children’s musician Chris Sanders and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, follows Hana as she’s drawn from her cave by the sounds of music. On her journey, Hana meets various creatures endemic to New Zealand, and learns about orchestral instruments and their different sections.  

The first instalment of the project is available now and is free for all primary schools in Aoteaora.  

Educators can find two original songs in the first release, titled ‘Curious Creature’ and ‘World of Wonderful’. Each song has 10 accompanying lesson plans and extra material for kaiako interested in teaching with the resource. More songs are set for release in 2024, and a live stage show is planned for 2025.  

Thomas Hamil, Director of APO’s outreach programme APO Connecting, says “music opens minds,” and he hopes to share the joy of music through “an inspiring, fun, locally-produced resource.”  

The project is the latest in a series of collaborations between APO and Chris Sanders, which have previously included the “111 Ambulance Song” and the Teddy Bear Hunt Songbook 

Sanders describes the project as a “story full of fantasy, adventure and drama intertwined with magnificent orchestral music. 

“It will be a huge sensory experience for children that will help them learn about different sections of the orchestra, celebrate our native wildlife and there’s plenty of opportunities for them to sing along and dance too!”  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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