Members of a self-taught school rock band had their dreams come true when celebrity musician Laughton Kora came for a jam session and taught them a couple of songs to perform in front of their school.

Dargaville Intermediate School students Isaiah Watene Kete and his brother Ushahn, along with Waimarie Toko Mikahere and Taj Kelk, recently formed a band. Every week they sacrifice their lunch breaks to practise.

The students perform well together and can play several songs on various instruments despite being completely self taught.

The students said they taught themselves how to play during lunch breaks. Music wasn't a subject option they could choose at school, although if it was they would definitely choose it.


Laughton Kora, who formed New Zealand band Kora, is one of several Kiwi musos who work as mentors for young kids for the New Zealand Music Commission.

He said it's not uncommon for schools not to teach music as a subject on its own, "especially in Northland".

"That's why I come up here and do this, it fills a much-needed void."

Kora spent two days with the band doing an intensive workshop to prepare them for a final performance in front of the entire school.

"So we came in and taught them how to play as a unit together, they've learnt a set and they've also been playing freestyle."

Isaiah Watene Kete said he really enjoyed jamming with Kora and it was good to learn how to use a microphone.

"I'm really enjoying the band, it's really cool everyone just coming together to have a jam."

His brother Ushahn is also part of the band and he said they were committed to practising at least three times a week.


"We're completely self taught and it's fun," Ushahn said.

Waimarie Toko Mikahere loves to sing, so for her it was a great experience to get some vocal lessons from Kora.

New Zealand Music Commission education manager Mike Young said music was taught as part of the NZ curriculum, "but some schools struggle to find the teaching expertise to deliver a comprehensive programme, or to dedicate and structure the learning time".

"This is something The NZ Music Commission is aware of. Therefore, we lobby support for quality music education in New Zealand when the opportunity arises."