Richard Gill’s Legacy Lives On

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #170 – 20 November 2018

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Richard Gill’s Legacy Lives On

In my last newsletter, published on 1st November 2018, I wrote of the passing of Richard Gill AO, musical luminary in Australia and champion of the cause of getting music into every school in Australia. It is ironic that just one week after his death, the ABC broadcast the first of a 3-part series on music in primary school and its effect on students. They chose a disadvantaged school in Perth to showcase what can happen when music is introduced to children.

It is interesting that usually schools cite lack of resources as the reason they can’t do whatever it is they’d like to do. This school, too, didn’t have the resources either so they started to get a little bit creative in their endeavours. They appealed via radio and other media to all and sundry for instruments. Lo and behold! Who would have thought that simply asking the question could have had such dramatic results! Musica Viva and The Salvation Army immediately came to the party with ‘retired’ instruments for the students to practise on. It was not long before they had enough instruments to get started. They enlisted the help of other mentors, including the well-known Guy Sebastian and academic Dr Anita Collins from the ANU. Before long, the students were playing and singing and thoroughly enjoying their music lessons. They already had a music teacher but he was limited in what he could do without this support and especially, without the instruments. He was keen and could play an instrument himself but he was not trained as a music specialist. As such, with all the will in the world, he was somewhat restricted. With all this support he became unstoppable.

The success of this experiment at Challis Primary School is set to be rolled out across other schools and in other states. This is the very thing that Richard Gill was advocating for years. It is gratifying that the cause has been taken up by the ABC through this documentary series. Hopefully the Australian government and our state governments can finally recognize how important this is in schools and make the funding available for better music programs. Not to mention support from the community as well, of course.

In years gone by, Early Childhood teachers were required to play a musical instrument in order to teach. This went out the window with the advent of cassettes and then CD players and finally computers. It was not necessary for the class teacher to be able to actually play. That assumes the importance of music was still being taught at universities to these budding teachers. Hmmm… that is where things get a little blurred. The result is obvious, and no fault of any teacher. The teachers I have had the privilege of working with over the years have all been wonderful examples of dedicated professionals. But they need support.

Let us hope that finally, there will be a good outcome for all primary schools in Australia. I get back to what I have often said, ‘Do they do this in Finland?’ When the answer is, ‘yes’ then we should do it too. As should all schools everywhere. Congratulations ABCTV for bringing this topic into the public domain. If you would like to watch this documentary series, click here.

Christmas Specials – Music CDs/Scarves (valid until 13/12/18) – Get your skates on!

I have new stocks of scarves and will keep them at the same price, despite the increase in price by the wholesalers, so if you are in need of a set, this is the cost –

Class set (20 children’s scarves, teacher’s scarf, carry bag) – normally $155.00. NOW $137.50!

Additional scarves can be purchased for $4.00 each.

Bundle Special!

Purchase all 3 kidz-fiz-biz books/CDs/DVD for $99.00! (RRP $197.50)


All orders post free within Australia.

Please contact me directly for these specials as they will not appear on the website –

Quotes of the Week

Start using your imagination and see things as they can be. Your success begins in your mind. (source unknown)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Act as though it were impossible to fail. (source unknown)

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.
(BC Forbes, Founder Forbes Magazine) 

The measure of life is not its duration but its donation. (Peter Marshall)


What would you tell other people about this presentation? (EYES Conference Perth 2017)

That it was fun, practical, informative and very worthwhile.
Great for physical music for younger children.
That incorporating music and movement is really easy.
Fun music.
Yes, do it!
Definitely attend a presentation if you get the chance – fabulous!
Good presenter – motivating.
Just great. Enjoyed it all. Extra time would have been good. Fantastic. Go and you will enjoy it.


Richard Gill would have loved this one –

We were taken around the rainforest today by a wonderful guide who asked the children whether they knew the ‘g’ word that is what keeps us on the ground, and the absence of which makes us float about in space. ‘Jelly’ said Leon aged 6.
(contributed by Margy Supramaniam, Singapore)

In case you want some jokes to work off on the children –

Christmas jokes 

Q: What do you call an elf who sings?
A: A wrapper!

Q: What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?
A: RUDEolph.

Q: What do you call a kid who doesn’t believe in Santa?
A: A rebel without a Claus.

Q: What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet?
A: The Christmas alphabet has Noel.

Q: What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
A: Claustrophobic.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at conferences. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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