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Hills are alive with sound of Peter Combe

POPULAR Australian children’s entertainer Peter Combe shared his wacky brand of music with students at Darlington and Mt Helena primary schools this week.

The man behind classic hits Newspaper Mama, Spaghetti Bolagnaise and Wash Your Face in Orange Juice, said good children’s songs were a precious educational resource.

“Most people easily see the value in a good book, with an engaging story accompanied by engaging pictures,” he said.

“But consider a good song.

“It is an engaging poem accompanied by an engaging melody, and if on CD, with the added bonus of an arrangement of musical instruments and a voice.

“Music for children is not an extra but an essential if we’re serious about having a civilised society.

“It’s also a great medium for breaking down barriers between people and feeds the soul.”

The former music teacher said his main aim was to stimulate and extend children’s natural love of singing.

“Having done this now for a long time, one of my greatest joys is when a parent tells me that their child now plays the violin, sings in a choir, plays in a band or has joined a drama group partly because they came to one of my concerts,” he said.

“There is no greater reward than that.”

Perth Hills-based music specialist teacher Stewart Melrose said it was concerning the latest figures showed just 22 per cent of government primary schools in Western Australia had a specialist music teacher.

“There has been a great deal of interest among researchers in the positive effects of music education on brain development,” he said.

“A good kids’ song can help develop reading skills, create a sense of awe, inspire children to learn an instrument and specific songs can be used to reinforce concepts in maths, science and history.

“My experience has shown introducing music, especially singing, to very young children tends to stimulate them and maintains their interest and participation in music right through their developmental years.”

BY SARAH BROOKES

About Sarah Brookes

Sarah is an award-winning journalist (2016 WA Media Awards – Best Three Suburban Newspaper Stories) who has covered our Mundaring and Kalamunda editions since 2011. She went to Eastern Hills Senior High School before studying chemistry and biology at university. Staring down a microscope two years into her degree she realised a future in science wasn’t for her – journalism was. Sarah lived in Europe before re-settling in Darlington, where her family has lived for three generations, with her two children. She has worked for various government agencies and Media Monitors. Sarah is a media junkie who loves talkback radio and devours the weekend papers.

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