Music to the ears

Teachers’ work to foster performing arts talent was lauded by Talent Development Project artistic director Peter Cousens during Federation’s Annual Conference.

The Talent Development Project is a collaboration of the NSW Department of Education and the entertainment industry. Mr Cousens told delegates that 130 students recently auditioned for the project; the largest group of “exceptional talent to come out of NSW government high schools”. “It’s a credit to all of you, and those teachers you represent, who inspire these kids [and] take time out of your usual day to sometimes give them those extra hours that they need often to get their heads around the exceptional talent which they’re discovering within themselves.”

“There is often a teacher who has played a significant role in one’s life and one’s career and provides all sorts of inspiration not only in what field of endeavour you are trying to follow, but also a moral compass, a sense of values, a sense of the good things that life has to offer,” he also said.

Over the past 10 years the Talent Development Project has graduated 107 students. More than 80 per cent are making a living in the music and entertainment business, in Australia and around the world.

“Interestingly enough, 67 per cent of those are females, who are composing and writing, which defies the worldwide statistics for women in music and entertainment, so we are very proud that we have a wonderful intake of young women,” Mr Cousens said.

Annual Conference delegates were privy to the performances of students involved in the Talent Development Project, including Tom Hamilton (Hunter School of Performing Arts) and Mairead Young (Lisarow High School).

— Kerri Carr