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Central Coast Conservatorium of Music Artistic Director and conductor Patrick Brennan in Music Central documentary by Kaye Harrison.

Central Coast Conservatorium Artistic Director Patrick Brennan in ABC documentary

Central Coast Conservatorium of Music Artistic Director Patrick Brennan is featured in a new ABC documentary which shines a light on the many mental health benefits of music.

Music Central is the latest documentary by Central Coast filmmaker Kaye Harrison and is was broadcast on ABC Compass, 23 July at 6.30pm. The film also features CCCM violin student Kaito Deed, associate artist and pianist Noah Peres, Central Coast Youth Orchestra and the Central Coast Children’s/Youth Choir.

Filmed entirely on the NSW Central Coast the half-hour documentary explores the power of  music to create connection and healing through personal stories, creative and educational  initiatives and First Nations cultural knowledge.

Filmed for over a year, Music Central follows Patrick as he conducts the Central Coast Youth Orchestra and the choir, inspiring young musicians to be the best they can be, building their resilience while they connect  with each other and the broader Central Coast community. It also shows how Patrick draws strength from this same community after he suffers a traumatic incident to his hand that threatens to destroy his career. 

“I think conductors such as myself can play a pretty critical role in being able to say, this is me, I’m real – what you see is what you get -enabling the students to feel like they’re in a safe space to feel that they can be themselves and there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Patrick.

“I think every musician at every level encounter hurdles upon  their journey. We learn to gain that resilience by finding the problems, solving the problems, and then getting our  performances as perfect as we possibly can and I think the resilience that actually brings to the individual is  incredibly important and myself, I’ve had challenges in my life and, and I’ve put my ability to overcome  those challenges has been my training as a musician.” 

Watch Music Central on ABCiView HERE

The film also follows the staff and students of Woy Woy Public School as a music program is introduced by the Australian Children’s Music Foundation. Year 6 student  Jillian Lewry gives a glimpse into the common worries of young people, what can make them  anxious and reluctant to show their true selves. Relieving Principal Dan Betts shares his  optimism that the benefits of music education will assist his year 6 students whose well-being  has suffered most from COVID-19 lockdowns. Whilst senior teacher Louise Rayner has the skills  to implement music in her classroom teaching, she is excited about the specialised program for  all students in the school, particularly the most disadvantaged, as they will have the most to gain. 

The documentary also features Ruby Archer, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter who has faced significant challenges with her mental health, but has found music a great avenue of expression. Through the intuitive process  of writing and performing music, Ruby has gained insight into her thoughts and feelings. This is empowering and has lifted her self-esteem and created a strong healthy connection with self.  

First Nations elder and musician Kevin Gavi Duncan graciously shares his cultural knowledge about the role music has played connecting First Nations people to mother earth for thousands of  years. Music remains key to their role as custodians of our natural environment and provides  food for thought as humanity grapples with the worldwide impact of climate change.

Music Central was produced by Treehouse Media with the support of Creative Art Central, Central Coast Council