In just three days, Adam Thompson and his team will help you write, record and film a song that reflects your school or community values.

Story Ken Eastwood

When Morgan Street Public School, in Broken Hill, NSW, celebrated its 100th anniversary in October, everyone in the school sang along to a brand new song. The centenary anthem was written, recorded and then performed by students at the school as part of a life-changing three-day music-making program developed by Melbourne outfit MusoMagic.

“The students loved it – it absolutely captured their hearts,” says Sanny Dougherty, a music, drama and dance teacher at the 300-student school. Sanny had organised MusoMagic to come after she had previously been involved in another of the organisation’s music-making projects with Great Southern Rail. 

“I knew this was a wonderful opportunity to have a centenary song that will live on for future generations,” she says. “It is the most amazing experience and these beautiful people – they are genuinely caring, dedicated staff at MusoMagic – I just am in awe of their commitment. They try to work out the essence of the community they’re working with, and then try to reflect that in the song and the film clip. You just can’t pay enough for that.”

The Morgan Street years 5 and 6 students were mentored to write the lyrics and music, with a verse each on the past, present and future of the school. The catchy chorus includes the lyrics, “Proud to be a Morgy, the laughter, the learning, the friendships we share”.

The senior students taught the song and a dance to the rest of the school, and a video clip includes everyone from 80-year-old past students to two-year-old “future Morgies”. “We had students dressed up in period costume from 100 years ago, and they’re playing hopscotch and using inkwells, then children in the computer lab, playing sport or playing musical instruments,” Sanny says. “It was a really collaborative process where the students felt part of it.”

Sanny says that as well as the students using language skills to find words with the right number of syllables to fit the song, they learnt valuable musical skills. “They even learnt little harmonies that are played in over the chorus.” Working with a sense of fun, the MusoMagic team interacted with the students, showering them with praise. “You could just feel the confidence that the students had,” Sanny says.

Founder of MusoMagic, Adam Thompson, says that building self-esteem, teamwork and personal development are key parts of any MusoMagic project. He started the business about 17 years ago, when reality TV shows such as Australian Idol were starting to use music in what he thought was a destructive manner. “It didn’t resonate with me at all – that whole thing of what’s the greatest drama and who can we make cry?” he says. “That’s just not the avenue I wanted to pursue in life. I wanted to create something the opposite to that – that’s all-inclusive, and even if you’re not a creative person, or a songwriter or musical in any way, you can still contribute.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #116

Outback Magazine: December/January 2018