“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato

Across Australia, a dedicated team of ACMF teachers motivate, educate and inspire disadvantaged children and youth in free, long-term weekly music programs. Over 75% of Australian Public Schools do not have access to a music teacher, depriving them of the many benefits of music education. The ACMF is determined to change this. Since our inception, we have provided over 244,380 free music lessons of every kind, donated over $1,000,000 worth of instruments and received over 35,000 entries in the ACMF National Songwriting Competition. We are committed to delivering long-term programs in every state and territory in Australia.

Our inspiring and engaging programs commence when there is sufficient funding to commit to the location for at least three years. This ensures that children and youth are given long-term mentorship opportunities and on-going attention, rather than a short-term solution. ACMF programs are designed in partnership with each school, to meet the specific needs of the students.

Our programs involve a broad variety of music tuition such as singing and song-writing, percussion, drumming, singing and guitar tuition. As a core aspect of each of our programs, we donate all of the musical instruments required for use of the students. These instruments are kept by the school and enjoyed by students even after the music program has ended.

ACMF Schools Programs

  • Increase school attendance
  • Inspire creativity and imagination
  • Engage children with the process of learning
  • Improve mental health of children and youth
  • Develop self-esteem and resilience
  • Encourage self-expression
  • Improve discipline
  • Build Trust
  • Improve key learning areas including literacy and numeracy
  • Build school and community cohesion
  • Promote tolerance of others
  • Reduce reported incidence of disruptive behaviour in schools
  • Overcome language barriers in linguistically diverse schools

Case Study

The Cook School

Ten year old Jack* came to The Cook School with high levels of anxiety, which would regularly paralyse him. It is no exaggeration to say that he would cower in the corner of the classroom, refusing all suggestions to be part of the activities in his local school.

Anxiety manifests itself in many ways, including behaviours which can be virtually unmanageable. Jack already had an interest in music and when he realised that we offered a music program in partnership with ACMF teacher, Allan, he was prepared to take some timid first steps towards engagement.

A well planned approach to Jack’s management and education was essential, but we needed to clear a big hurdle in the shape of extreme anxiety at the mere thought of engagement in activities with peers. The ACMF music program was the absolute highlight – tuition of guitar tablature, to further develop his already impressive skills.

Over time, Jack’s self-esteem improved with a corresponding decrease in anxiety. Jack began to regularly perform for a small group of students and teachers, but would his confidence generalise to a mainstream school setting?

I am happy to report that the Principal of Jack’s new school rang one day with a ‘problem’. He was faced with finding the owners of coins which had come into Jack’s possession. It turned out that the Principal was actually delighted to deal with the ‘problem’. Jack had started to play his guitar for a large group of students in the playground and the kids were so impressed that they threw money into his guitar case. That day, for different reasons, the Principal and Jack realised the wonderful therapeutic powers of music.

Steve Almond



*not student’s real name.