May is New Zealand music month. It is a month when we celebrate music written and performed by New Zealanders. Every day this month, there are performances by New Zealand musicians – live in gigs, in public libraries and in concert halls or recorded on radio and TV. There are interviews with musicians and stories about bands. Over 350 events are planned for this month.
New Zealand music month began 13 years ago. At that time, 1.6% of the music played on commercial radio stations was New Zealand music. Within 5 years, that rose to 20%. It is a similar story with albums. In 2000, 6% of the albums sold were New Zealand music. Within 5 years, that became 29% and today New Zealand bands and soloists have become very popular amongst young people.
New Zealand music month began with a lunch-time performance by East Tamaki primary school children, singing and playing Titanium’s song “Come on Home”. The children played ukuleles and violins. The band Titanium helped them sing. The children are learning to play musical instruments through a programme called Sistema Aotearoa. It is adapted from a programme begun in Venezuela. Sistema Aotearoa gives children from year 2, in low decile schools, the chance to learn a musical instrument.
• commercial radio – has advertising
• soloist – a singer (one person)
• adapted – copied and changed to suit our country
• low decile – poor children; parents are in the bottom 10% of wage earners