Bidstrup has been up in the Top End this week, working with Aboriginal communities in his role as head of the Jimmy Little Foundation, an organisation he helped found with the country legend Little and which continues to help indigenous groups with health, education and music programs.
The latest initiative is a music program called Music 4 Life, which is to be launched officially on Monday. Music 4 Life will visit schools in the Northern Territory twice a year and teach music skills such as singing, drumming, songwriting and playing the ukulele. Each five-day program will end with a performance by the students. Musicians in each of the communities will be encouraged to keep the program going all year round. Bidstrup spent this week in Arnhem Land, where another notable figure, Tony Abbott, has also been busy engaging with local communities. Bidstrup says his program has similar aims to goverment aspirations.
“We want to increase school attendance and employ Aboriginal people,” he says. “We have employed local musicians (who are also elders) from Milingimbi community to be at the school every day over the last four weeks to entice kids to come to school. A carrot rather than a stick. It has worked a treat, as school attendance has been higher since we engaged the local music mentors, and we are creating local employment.” You can find out more about Music 4 Life at http://www.music4life.net.au. Read More Here