Music hits right note for refugees

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GUITAR tutor Jake Lang believes “music can bring a bit of joy to people’s lives.” 

Once a week, Jake provides free guitar lessons to a group of twelve refugee students at Dickson College as part of the school’s Refugee Bridging Program.

“Most of these kids have gone through a lot to get here…and it’s taken a toll on their lives,” he said.

“Music is a therapuetic thing and something they can all connect to personally.”

Jake, who has over six years teaching and 21 years playing experience, says he writes all the class material and has donated six guitars to the school for students to use.

“The lessons are a little bit of theory, a lot of how to hold the guitar, and playing in time. We get them working together as a team,” he said.

Jake says some of the students hadn’t even seen or held a guitar when he first met them.

“Guitar is a part of a lot of cultures but they didn’t know a whole lot about them at first,” he said.

The lessons have been “a lot of fun” for the students, some of whom have come from difficult backgrounds.

“I’ve had a very positive reaction from the students, they really enjoy it and always thank me afterwards,” Jake said.

“At first they were very excited and quite restless, now they’re more focused…they really love it.

“Seeing the kids respond to learning and improving…seeing that happiness in them and the joy, it’s really rewarding.”

Student Beti Debeli, who came to Australia from Ethiopia two years ago, says she “loves the classes.”

“Its really fun – I’d never played before…I’ve been showing my Mum and my sister,” she said.

“I think I’ll continue to play.”

Photo by Silas Brown. 

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