• Queensland Music Festival

The Cape York Music Program

Access to quality music education experiences in remote Queensland has always been a challenge, with many young people denied the transformational impact that participating in group music-making can have on their sense of personal agency and social inclusion, academic ability, and resilience.

Since 2012, the Cape York Music Program (CYMP) has offered students in the remote Indigenous communities of Aurukun, Coen and Hope Vale the opportunity to gain instrumental music experiences on par with metropolitan schools.

The program provides year-round artists-in-residence, exclusive teacher mentoring, an annual intensive music camp program that brings together the three Cape York schools, and the chance to show off their skills with a public performance.

Kayla Walker, Indigenous instrumentalist and CYMP student mentor, reflected on her experience as a mentor in the early years of the program.

“I am just overwhelmed and proud. It is important because you don’t see this much with Indigenous students. It’s just amazing because they can just go to their community and perform to their family, their Mum and Dad. It makes them so proud. It gives them a boost so that they can go further in life.”

Students who participate in a band often become school leaders, which prepares them for being community leaders. And the real impact of the program happens when the students transition into Secondary School as it equips them with social and educational tools needed to thrive in a new environment.

“Observing the development of the students is an incredible experience. The students grew in their ability to concentrate, listen, communicate clearly, and work with others. These skills are taught directly and indirectly, having a holistic, positive impact on the students’ musical and broader learning. Observing the connections and friendships being made between different communities was also an enriching cultural experience,” said Dan Quigley, one of our CYMP leaders.

CYMP is a partnership between Queensland Music Festival, Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy and the Department of Education and is made possible through the generous support of The University of Queensland, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Skytrans, Frazer Family Foundation, the Pavetta Foundation and Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.

For more 20th Anniversary stories click here.

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Queensland Music Festival 2019