Sing the praises of New Zealand music in your school this May!

Every May, the New Zealand Music Commission and artists and organisations around the country celebrate the musical sounds of Aotearoa. New Zealand Music Month is a great opportunity to promote New Zealand music in your school.

Use the ideas in this blog post for teaching and learning about music in your classroom, and create your own New Zealand Music Month story on DigitalNZ.

At the Logen Campbell Kindergarten in Auckland, the teacher leads her class in a music lesson in 1965
At the Logen Campbell Kindergarten in Auckland, the teacher leads her class in a music lesson by Archives New Zealand. CC BY 2.0.

What is NZ Music Month?

NZ Music Month is a promotion run by the NZ Music Commission that takes place each May, in association with other organisations including NZ On Air, Recorded Music New Zealand, APRA, The Music Managers Forum, and Independent Music NZ. And NZ Music Month could not succeed without the support of the country's labels, media, the general public, and, most importantly, the artists themselves.
What is NZ Music Month?

Be a Music Month rock star in your classroom or library!

New Zealand Music Month’s organisers and National Library's Services to Schools have created a list of suggestions to get you started celebrating music month in your classroom or school library. There are heaps of great ideas to inspire you, and so now is a great time to plan a New Zealand Music Month activity in your school!

To get started, you can:

  • sing lots of great New Zealand songs
  • analyse and discuss the music of New Zealand artists
  • explore the musical elements and characteristics of a song, including tone colours (what instrumentation is used), tempo, speed, or feel, the production techniques, structure, mood/meaning of the lyrics, genre, etc.
  • hold an inter-class singing (or rapping) competition — send the song to all classes or put it online with lyrics
  • write some new songs or music and get students to write their own
  • invite in a local musician, composer, or songwriter to visit the students — learn from the artist how they create music and find out what inspires them
  • attend a gig or event near you — see the schedule on the New Zealand Music Month website or on their Facebook page.

For more inspiration and ideas, this article in The Guardian gives a good overview of not only why it's important to teach music in schools, but suggestions for how to do it.

Wider learning through music

Music Month also provides great opportunities for learning around topics such as:

    • responsible reuse — investigate music licensing, copyright and Creative Commons, explore National Library's Creative Commons Turnbull Mixtapes
    • taonga puoro — discover the history of traditional Māori music and the techniques and tools used to create the traditional instruments of Aotearoa
    • digital technologies — explore tools for creating posters, album covers, or music videos using digital technology
    • social inquiry — use statistics of music sales in NZ to reflect on the economic and social outcomes of promoting NZ music, and discuss why we have a 'New Zealand Music Month'
    • creative writing — like poetry, songwriting is a great way to explore language and engage young people's imaginations.

    These ideas are just some suggestions for getting started. There are many other ways to use music in schools to enrich learning for students of all levels.

    Resources for celebrating Music Month

    There are also many useful resources available online for helping celebrate Music Month in school.

    Don't forget — you can also borrow books from the schools' lending collections to teach music all year long! Visit our schools lending service section on this website to find out what books are available or learn more about our lending service.

    Create a story in DigitalNZ inspired by your favourite New Zealand song

    DigitalNZ is a great place to explore the collections of museums, libraries, and archives from around New Zealand. On the site, you can also bring together your favourite items to create a story.

    For New Zealand Music Month, how about having some fun and making a story about your favourite New Zealand song? Use the lyrics to decide what words to search and see what you can come up with. Here are a couple of examples we've created to get you started:

    Be sure to tag your stories 'music month' in the 'story subjects' field at the top of your story, and we'll feature the best ones on the DigitalNZ home page.

    Learn how to create a story on DigitalNZ

By Nicole Gaston

Nicole is an Online Content Services Developer for Services to Schools.

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