Celebrating IWD with Music

WollCon Women composers receive Create NSW grant to record new songs for a project called Get Them Young!

WollCon is celebrating International Women’s Day (8th March) with the announcement of an early childhood music project funded by Create NSW. The project, called ‘Get Them Young!’ will be supporting the work of local women composers, as well as contributing to our commitment in Early Childhood Music (ECM) making in the region.

The project will involve the professional recording of songs from 7 female songwriters who are all Early Childhood Music (ECM) teachers at WollCon. These songs will then be publicly available on the WollCon YouTube platform, to create an accessible and free music resource for families.

The project draws on the body of work these ECM teachers have created and tested during their regular music classes at WollCon for the program known as ChiME. The songs will also reflect the cultural diversity of the songwriters, with family links to South America, Latvia, and Australia.

“We believe there is a gap in the current song repertoire for this age group (1-8 years) that reflects a contemporary and multicultural Australian context. The ‘Get them Young’ project is all about addressing that gap with the creative output of a group of early childhood music teachers writing new songs that we know the whole family will enjoy and sing at home.”
David Francis

CEO, WollCon

Get them young team

Many of the songs are about their own experiences, there are some songs that reflect our region, and some that draw on a different cultural perspective. The ‘Get them Young!’ team (led by ChiME coordinator Janet Andrews) is: Anamaria Gomez, Cassandra Rainer, Grace Cowling, Rhiannon Bannenberg, Mel Wishart and Kaija Upenieks.

These songwriters and educators believe passionately in the power of early childhood music. Two of the women are former students of WollCon who graduated from the ChiME program. The very same program they are currently teaching.

Kaija Upenieks began her music career as a 4-year-old at WollCon where she was introduced to a small cello during music transition class.

“It became my chosen instrument, but I also learnt classical recorder and my sisters played flute and violin. I clearly remember how the WollCon campus at Gleniffer Brae became ingrained in the fabric of my family’s musical week.” – Said Kaija.

Cassandra Rainer (pictured below) has been trialling her compositions with her own children since their birth. One of the songs is called ‘Walking Down Shellharbour Road’.

Cassandra Rainer

“I made this song up while taking my first baby on afternoon walks during Covid. I would wear him on my front or back and walk down Shellharbour Road towards North Beach. It started as a way of conversing about the environment, feeling the beat, learning about what we were doing and making the walk more interesting. Now, as my son is older, we’ve added the words ‘running’ and ‘jumping’, and when he got to preschool age he came up with his own suggestions like ‘twirling’ and ‘flying’ down Shellharbour Road. For me this is music making by a child in action.”

Cassandra Rainer

ChiME Teacher and Composer, WollCon

By making the song recordings available on a wider platform (YouTube), the songwriters are hoping to connect with more young Australian children and their families, as they believe in the social impact and benefits of early immersion in a wide range of quality music.

“Families will be able to access the songs at home, in the car, at any time and as often as they like. If music is part of a regular routine and part of home life, it becomes the foundation for life-long engagement in music.”

Janet Andrews

ChiME Coordinator, WollCon

It is anticipated the recorded songs will be publicly available towards the middle of this year on the WollCon YouTube platform.

Interested families can subscribe to our channel and be notified of any new videos.