Kevin’s Journey to APY Lands

Kevin Tuck is a Musica Viva Australia artist, part of the ensemble Rhythm Works, a dynamic percussion duo who perform as part of our Musica Viva Australia In Schools program. Kevin speaks fondly about his career as a musician and what it’s like playing for children:

‘Playing for kids gives me such great joy, they give great, instant feedback. When you play for adults, they can sort of be very reserved in their feedback. Kids, you know straight away.’

Last year, Kevin was excited to be travelling to Amata in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in northern South Australia, to share music with the children of Amata Anangu School, thanks to the financial
support of our donors, the Gardos Family. Amata is a small town with a population of around 455 people, situated 40km south of the Northern Territory border and 110km south of Uluru. With a goal of fostering connection and involving the children in creating new music, Kevin wanted to learn and incorporate the percussive rhythms of Pitjantjatjara words to create fun musical exercises for the children to play on drums, buckets and other percussion. Workshops were held throughout the day with students of all ages, from pre-school to senior year.

The children were nervous but curious when attending the workshops. Kevin worked to build trust through games and fun activities such as body percussion. After working to build the confidence of the participants in the second workshop group of the day, the group taught Kevin his first Pitjantjatjara word – Uwa! meaning ‘Yes!’ Other words were then suggested by the now excited group of children, and the group decided upon Ngintaka, meaning ‘goanna’. Drumming rhythms were then composed by the group to represent these words.

After working with four different age groups, the school community came together for a small concert to celebrate the work they had achieved with Kevin throughout the day. The shy but smiling and laughing students performed the rhythms they created together, as well as a few drum solos thrown in for good measure. It was clear that through this new experience, confidence was built over their time with Kevin, who felt moved by the final performance at the end of the day.

‘I thought if I can show that being involved with something, doing something and playing some music is a lot of fun, then they’re going to come along with me. So that’s what I tried to do.’

Thanks to the work of our wonderful Musica Viva Australia In Schools artists like Kevin, and communities like Amata, we can bring experiences to children in many different communities all over Australia such as APY Lands.

Access to these great education programs can be difficult in some parts of Australia, particularly in remote or low socio-economic areas. With the help of those generous donors who give to our Equal Music Fund, children are given subsidised access to these programs and exposure to music at a young age, helping to foster not only a life-long love and engagement with music but also promoting their creativity, self-worth, confidence and joy.


Written by Remi Harvey

This journey to APY Lands was supported by The Gardos Family and our Equal Music program.
If you would like to be part of this generous group of donors, please get in contact with Caroline Davis, our Individual Giving Manager: