The Noongar language of the whole South West region of Western Australia, is endangered. Through school workshops our choir is thrilled to play a part in the preservation of this ancient language.
Guided by elders and other cultural leaders, Madjitil Moorna Choir has been singing Aboriginal songs across the Metro area and regionally across WA since 2006. Now, with increased focus on learning Aboriginal languages in schools, we have developed Koorlong - Noongar Songs in Schools Project.
We offer in-school song workshops led by Aboriginal performers. After follow-up rehearsals in the classroom, the songs may be performed at school assemblies.
Talented Aboriginal presenters, confident in their culture, conduct the workshops in pairs, supported by choir members. The presenters love being able to deliver Noongar Language to the younger generations in a fun and exciting way and feedback from teachers has been fantastic.
Song workshops in schools are based on Madjitil Moorna’s songbook with CD,
ABORIGINAL SONGS for Schools and Communities. Most of the 18 songs are written by contemporary Noongar songwriters, including many in language.
Kwobadak (beautiful) Noongar songs are taught by rote. Songs and group sizes are chosen in discussion with teachers, to suit the age-group of students.
Please note that teachers/mentors need to be present during the workshop/s to support appropriate behaviour.
Ideally, teachers rehearse these songs with their class or school choir, to prepare for a school assembly or special event. In 2015, a trial of the project in twelve schools was very well received by teachers and parents and nine schools performed with the adult choir in a massed choir event, singing five Noongar songs.
See a short video of Koorlong - Noongar Songs in Schools Project.
The kids, especially the indigenous kids, really benefitted from the incursion, workshop and whole experience. Learning their own language and having it celebrated by all has left a hugely positive imprint on them. - Anne Eversden, Music Teacher.
Noongar kids feel especially proud to learn their own language at school through song - the easiest way. For any child, whether Aboriginal or not, knowing a bit of language from the oldest living culture in the world is pretty Moorditj! (strong, cool!) Teachers report increased pride and confidence, especially among Aboriginal students when their culture is celebrated. Parents are often surprised at how their own attitudes are changed by seeing their children perform in the local language.
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