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Giving kids the gift of music

Delighted to have this article featured in the Nelson Mail – JULY 2021.

PICTURED ABOVE: At the back is Annabel Boyes and Wayne Densem from the Kids Love Music Charitable Trust, with Tāhunanui School students Emma Miller, Chloe Hillier, and Maahaki Niblett. Photo: Kate Russell.

A newly-formed trust is giving Nelson kids the gift of music. The Kids Love Music Charitable Trust is funding ‘taster’ music lessons to primary school children with the aim of planting a love of music. Tāhunanui School and Wakefield School are the first to have the lessons offered to them, and there are plans to expand to other schools.

Founder Wayne Densem says he started the trust as a “way to give back” while incorporating something he is passionate about. “I started learning music when I was five or six. Music played a big part of my childhood, it kept me on track and gave me something to focus on and to achieve.” The trust supports schools by providing instruments and a music tutor – something that many families cannot afford, he says. “It’s that very embryonic stage to get children saying, ‘I’d like to have a go at this to see if I like it’.”

Trustee Annabel Boyes says it is “fundamental” that all children get the opportunity to learn an instrument. “If the thing holding them back from music lessons is the cost, then they simply won’t have that.” Tāhunanui School principal Barbara Bowen says the trust has allowed her to open music lessons up to every student. “It gives them a no-obligation taster to see if it’s their kind of thing and it gives us the stability to provide lessons, which we’re grateful for.”

Students can learn either the ukulele or piano, with a music teacher coming into the school for two-and-a-half hours every week. The lessons are provided to 25 students per term and will be expanded into guitar lessons soon. She says hidden talents have been discovered, while some have gone on to play in church bands and have asked for instruments for birthdays. “The vision is for every child to have an opportunity to learn an instrument during their time at Tāhunanui School.” Wayne says the trust now needs to raise money to keep the lessons going next year. To do this, they are holding a launch party on August 6 at The Boathouse. Tickets are $25, with all proceeds going to the trust. “It’s going to be an informal night of music and fun. We’re going to auction off some fantastic prizes, which have all been donated. If we can raise a reasonable amount of money, that gives us a kick-start.” Annabel says they are also in need of donations of unwanted instruments. “Also, if anyone in the community who has gained a lot from music thinks they could help a student have music lessons, they can donate through our Givealittle page.”

See here for more information on the launch and how to donate.

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