WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

SINGout4Justice influences learning outcomes beyond the musical ones

News

3 July 2012

Caritas received 24 entries from all over New Zealand in its SINGout4Justice music writing competition.

For many students who entered this was their first ever experience in putting their words to music. Schools vary widely in the facilities they can offer young songwriters.

But no matter whether they are working from scratch or with a music specialist in a fitted out music room/studio, the experience of creating a song around a justice theme is a challenge.

At St Joseph’s Wairoa the principal and teacher of Years 7-8, Richard Puanaki, encouraged several of his class to enter. None of their entries won, but their songs stood out for their honesty and creative potential.

One of the entries was a rap called Be Strong. It has become one of the school anthems.
The writer finds learning a challenge, particularly the disciplines and commitment that go with it.

After receiving from Caritas a certificate of ‘Commendation’ the boy was so overcome he was lost for words. This was a massive achievement – to gain a commendation nationally for his own song! Usually very vocal with a strong personality the low achiever discovered that day a truth about himself. His ideas have been valued and he has touched others with his song writing. This one small boost of self confidence has been enough to light a spark. Is it possible that he is good at something?

After praising his students’ efforts at the school assembly, Principal Richard Puanaki commented to the organisers: ‘The SINGout song writing competition is inspirational. It isn’t just an academic exercise. It’s something you can get into where your feelings matter and have a place! And if teachers could feel this ‘wairua thing’ then the song writing really does become another medium for getting into the social justice kaupapa. Talking about issues and discovering how connected you are to those and then shaping those ideas into a song, is so inspirational!’

There is a lot of research to show that music assists learning across the curriculum. If the Caritas SINGout4Justice song writing competition can provide an opportunity for young people to explore and express their ideas about issues of social concern, the long term effects are hopeful.

Be Strong
Be strong you stay strong
Let us fix up all the wrong
Every mokos gonna live
That’s the aroha we can give

Let us come together
The young ones must come first
They are our little ones
we have to help them in their journey of life
Be strong you stay strong
Let us fix up all the wrong
Every mokos gonna live
That’s the aroha we can give

Don’t back down stay strong
That’s why I’m here for you for the voiceless
And you for the voiceless and you
Be strong you stay strong
Let us fix up all the wrong
Every mokos gonna live
That’s the aroha we can give. (Repeat chorus)