To the South-west now where a music teacher is going to unusual lengths to bring singing back to the classroom. Not only does Roslyn Happ think "doe, ray, me" improves the childrens' behaviour, she also claims it boosts their academic performance. Ms Happ is not satisfied with the amount of singing currently in schools and is pushing for students and teachers to sing every day. Leonie Harris reports on the new sound of music emanating from Augusta Primary School.
LEONIE HARRIS: In many ways, Augusta Primary School is like any other - the students play sport, chat during recess and colour in. But they also sing every day.
ROSLYN HAPP, TEACHER: (Singing) Good afternoon everybody.
CHILDREN: Good afternoon Ms Happ.
LEONIE HARRIS: For years, music teacher Roslyn Happ has been frustrated by the lack of daily singing in schools and poor musical standards. Now she's doing something about it.
She recently won a Music Council of Australia award on how to get more people singing. Her proposal was for singing intensives and here in Augusta she's put her idea into practice.
She spent half a day a week at the school teaching every student from grade two to grade seven. It's not voluntary, the whole school does it, including the teachers.
ROSLYN HAPP: Boy, girl, bright, whatever, you have a go.
LEONIE HARRIS: Roslyn Happ says since the introduction of music specialist, daily singing has disappeared from the classroom and it's time it was reinstated.
ROSLYN HAPP: I am not against music specialists I just think that if we had programs of singing in the classroom, the music specialists could do special music.
LEONIE HARRIS: In Augusta, the children learn vocal warm-up exercises to look after their voices but also learn to warm up and use their bodies.
All children also get individual attention. In small groups, Roslyn Happ is able to help those who are struggling or encourage natural singers.
ROSLYN HAPP: Would you start the counting and we will join in after 10.
KANE BROWN, YEAR 5: I used to like music but I never sang.
STUDENT: I never liked it but when Ms Happ came, I enjoyed.
TYSON WAMKE, YEAR 7: It's confidence I like about it really. I just like it, I guess.
LEONIE HARRIS: The school says it's seen fantastic results and not just musically. The children are better behaved, have longer attention spans and for some the singing has unlocked their creativity. It's been particularly good for boys.
ROSLYN HAPP: They just love it when they're by themselves and they love the attention. Maybe, they might spend ten minutes with me but it makes a big difference to their confidence.
MYLES REES, PRINCIPAL: In my experience with singing in schools and particularly, say, trying to set up a choir that it is not the choir or the cool thing or the done thing, but my experience here at Augusta school is it's not a choir, we're out there having fun and learning all these new moves.
LEONIE HARRIS: The principal, Myles Rees, is a father of two and says all the students now enjoy regular singing.
MYLES REES: I've seen them cooperating and joining in together and having fun. So real enjoyment, particularly for boys.
LEONIE HARRIS: Roslyn Happ says the overall impact singing has on children's learning is often overlooked.
ROSLYN HAPP: They have to pronounce the words really well, so it helps enormously with their pronunciation which helps with their spelling and they're doing through a part of the brain which is the rhythmic part of the brain which develops mathematics. If that's the three R's they're looking for, I couldn't think of anything that boosts ability in those areas more than singing.
Do you reckon you get it right the first time?
ROSLYN HAPP: I reckon you could.
LEONIE HARRIS: Here, there is also a focus on teaching the teachers with the aim that daily singing is continued throughout the year.
ROSLYN HAPP: I would say there is not one single teacher who says they are a confident singer. But they are getting the children to lead the class, and they're starting to realise that the children... it lifts the spirit of their classroom.
LEONIE HARRIS: The end of six weeks of singing culminates in a concert for the parent, who have tolerated weeks of ABBA practice.
These audience members are blithely unaware that they are next in the sights of Roslyn Happ, who aims to get them singing with the children. And she hopes that other schools will take up the practice of daily singing .
ROSLYN HAPP: We just have to decide that's what we want. I mean, everybody knows how good it is for the children. And we are just not facing that it isn't happening.