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A decade hitting the right notes

A decade hitting the right notes

A decade hitting the right notes

14 July 2020

Just Brass consultant Britteny Ling (left) and Just Brass student Noah. The popular Salvation Army program is celebrating 10 years of ministry in 2020.

By Faye Michelson*

The Salvation Army Just Brass program is celebrating a decade of making music and coming alongside young people.

Just Brass was started 10 years ago by Salvationist brothers John and David Collinson, who love music and playing their brass instruments. John, who plays the trumpet, is a music teacher and has been part of many orchestras and bands. David also taught music before becoming a Salvation Army officer.

They wanted to share their love of music with primary school-aged kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. They started their first Just Brass program at a school in Geelong (Vic.). Now there are Just Brass programs run by The Salvation Army in many primary schools around Australia and even overseas.

Just Brass consultant Britteny Ling said due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to mark the anniversary with celebrations couldn’t go ahead. “Sadly, we had to cancel plans to visit every state and have a combined Fun Day with all the Just Brass bands, but we are still working towards a big gathering of Just Brass musicians next year.”

Just Brass has continued to operate during the pandemic, with online lessons and band practices. “It’s been amazing to see how creative the teachers have been in making music through video, putting lots of players’ videos together to make the whole band play together. Technology is incredible,” said Britteny.

Just Brass students are taught to read music and perform in public. The children also receive music lessons, a Just Brass t-shirt and an instrument to look after. The activities are free and include transportation and afternoon snacks before the weekly program starts.

Ten-year-old Noah has been part of Just Brass for three years and plays the euphonium. He said being part of Just Brass has allowed him the chance to conduct a band, play duets and solos. “It feels good to be part of a program that believes all the kids are capable of playing really well.”

During the COVID-19 restrictions, Noah has been continuing his euphonium lessons on Zoom with his band leader. “I feel really lucky that my school is part of the program,” he said.

To find out more about Just Brass, go to salvationarmy.org.au/justbrass

A version of this article first appeared in The Salvation Army Kidzone Magazine 

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