Pupils, teacher inspired by iconic female-led bands


Girls rock: SK Convent Muar’s very own rock band posing with their teacher Muhamad Khairulanuar.

MUAR: They go to school like other children on weekdays. But on weekends, these SK Convent Muar pupils unleash their inner rockstars by jamming to rock tunes at a music studio.

Their teacher Muhamad Khairulanuar Saim, 34, said the school formed its own version of “School of Rock” to give the kids a space to explore their musical talents.

Currently, 12 pupils aged seven to nine are involved in the project.

“Drawing inspiration from bands such as Paramore and Indonesian all-female rock trio Voice of Baceprot, the girls began picking up musical instruments like the electric guitar and drums in November last year.

“Films and documentaries such as School of Rock, The Swing Girls, Linda Linda Linda and Rock School also inspired us to provide an avenue for our students to participate in activities not usually the norm at local schools.

“When the idea was first presented to school headmaster Wahida Rosdi and the parents, it was met with positive feedback and support for us to carry out the project,” he said in an interview.

He added that the project was made possible through collaboration with arts, community and social development company Pudipang Industries, which previously received a grant under the All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on the Sustainable Development Goals.

He said that the musical instruments and studio set-up were provided by the company.

Band practice is only conducted on weekends to avoid disrupting classes and other school activities.“The main challenge we faced was that most of them had no prior musical background. “Current music trends also resulted in the pupils’ lack of exposure to quality music.

“After we guided them, the pupils are now very excited about their sessions,” he said.

Muhamad Khairulanuar, who teaches music education and science, noted that playing music has helped to improve the pupils’ critical thinking.

The pupils also showed improvement in subjects such as mathematics and visual arts, besides learning how to strategise and work in teams, he added.

The band is part of the school’s music development programme, which includes two other projects, i.e. choir and angklung – all of which involves about 70 pupils, school staff, music instructors and industry representatives.

Muhamad Khairulanuar added that their choir and angklung groups have been actively performing by invitation for both the public and private sectors, on and off school grounds.

“Our aim is for our rock band to come up with (our) own song by October before stepping out to perform on stage.“If possible, we would like to add a strings section to the band to show that a Malaysian school band is able to perform this genre of music.”

Once the band has achieved consistency in their performances, the school plans to hold ticketed concerts, and physical and digital sales of the band’s music and merchandise.

Muhamad Khairulanuar, who used to play in a band some 13 years ago, said that the long-term goals would require careful planning in order to avoid exploiting the pupils and the school.

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