Introducing Danielle Abbott, Music Coordinator, Primary Years
Every day Danielle Abbott’s warmth and infectious energy radiate from the music rooms upstairs in Del Monte. Since 2008 she has been Music Coordinator P-5 in Santa Sabina College’s Primary Years, helping hundreds, if not thousands, of our youngest students unlock and experience the joy of music making.
In that time Ms Abbott has seen Del Monte’s exponential development of music resources grow to a place where there are now more than 25 peripatetic music teachers engaging with the two permanent staff to “develop the whole musical child”.
Initially teaching in one little room off the library, Ms Abbott now enjoys the expansive learning spaces devoted to music upstairs in Del Monte. Yet she says we have always been a “music-rich school” with singing and instrumental lessons which even parents can join, as learners alongside their children.
While the nurturing of musical skills and knowledge is an important facet of the music program, Ms Abbott also believes in equal emphasis on the everyday enjoyment of music.
“Creating a space for kids that’s enjoyable and really positive is high priority for me”, Ms Abbott says.
“Developing that love of music which we know enriches every aspect of life is what we want for every child who passes through Del Monte.”
Ms Abbott knew from a young age that she wanted to be a classroom specialist and went on to study Music Education at the University of Newcastle. As the Del Monte students know, Ms Abbott sings, plays piano and guitar. What they may not know is that her instrument when she was young was the pipe organ. But it is some time now since she played the organ, arguing that her number one instrument these days is “the classroom”.
Ms Abbott is an enthusiastic teacher mentor in the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program established by Santa Sabina College musical partner the Late Richard Gill AO. The program trains specialised music teachers to coach and mentor generalist primary classroom teachers across Australia. This results in more music in the everyday curriculum. Ms Abbott has recently been mentoring in the regional NSW towns of Griffith, Wagga Wagga and Narrandera, giving confidence to teachers in schools with fewer music resources than we have at Santa.
There’s a poster on the door of one the music rooms at Del Monte which says “music makes the heart sing”. The hearts of our Del Monte students are singing loudly and in harmony, due in no small part to the positive influence of Ms Abbott.