Somerset Crescent students in Highbury, Palmerston North have hit the right note learning brass instruments with the Salvation Army.

Just Brass coordinator Colin Davidson says the 17 students have been coming to the Army for 12 weeks for weekly band practice.

"Parents of these children have already noted the positive impact on their school work," Davidson said.

"One mother told the school her child was shy and lacked confidence but she has seen a significant change over the 12 weeks."


The students are collected from school in two Salvation Army vans, file in with their instruments and sit down for a specially-prepared afternoon tea.

Then they get stuck into their music lessons with Neville Lauridsen, who is a professional music teacher.

Davidson first came across the Just Brass programme two years ago when he visited Melbourne where the Salvation Army was teaching children from lower socio-economic communities.

"Just Brass transforms children's lives. It is the fence at the top of the cliff," Davidson said.

"It gives the children stability, self confidence and social skills."

Just Brass fills a void but it does come at a cost. The Salvation Army is paying for the inaugural Just Brass and has costed the programme for it to be offered to other schools in the Manawatū.

"The initial cost would be $35,000 and we welcome any support we can get from the community," said Davidson.

+ If you would like to support Just Brass in other schools in the Manawatū, please contact the Salvation Army on 06 358 7455.


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