A high note

The success story behind ABC KIDS TV series Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band is instrument savvy and well-travelled mother- of-two Tina Harris, who is using performance to help children and their families unlock the magic of musical education.

With the show reaching its 10-year milestone, the program focuses on the quirky characters played by Tina and husband Mark Harris as they share a range of genres through a child-friendly, educational program.

“Something that many people don’t know about our band is that we are one of the few bands in Australia that focuses on touring just as much as the broadcasted television show,” Harris says.

“We try to touch every state when we tour to make sure families from around Australia get the chance to interact and have fun with live music. Looking beyond the lights and cameras of the set, Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band is only three people, and we work very hard to do what we do.”

Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band formed thanks to Tina and Mark Harris, who met as students.

“I had this fantastic idea that we should go overseas and live in Paris,” Harris says.

“Then we moved to Japan and taught English for some time. I think living in these cities had a massive impact on our lives. For example, coming from an opera background, I never understood jazz. But living in Paris, sitting in a dark, tiny jazz club with Mark, I closed my eyes and began to understand and appreciate the magic of different styles

of music.”

Shifting between instruments as well as singing as a child, Harris says music is a progressive journey and life lesson.

“Like many musicians, my first instrument was the piano, which I begun playing at four or five. Funnily enough, I didn’t find the knack for it,” Harris reflects.

“It was in primary school where I discovered the saxophone, which really stuck with me. Then, all I wanted to do in high school was sing. The musical that year was Grease, and I was such a good singer, I got sent straight to the band. Nevertheless, I persisted thanks to my grandma, who slipped me $15 every week for lessons.”

“Parents ask me constantly which instrument is right for their child, or how do they know which one to choose. What I’ve learnt from myself, and by raising my two daughters, is that the instrument often chooses the child. It’s all about giving them the opportunity to be exposed to as many musical experiences as possible.”

The main focus for Harris and the band is on music education at Australian preschools and child care centres, where the fundamental foundations of musical interaction is formed, Harris says.

“We want to change kids’ lives with music. It has filled mine with so much learning, love and joy, and I get so much happiness from seeing my daughters grow and experiment with instruments in the same way I did.”

LAH-LAH’S BIG LIVE BAND — HAVING FUN 2017 VICTORIAN TOUR IS ON UNTIL JULY 9. LAH.LAH.COM

Featured in Herald Sun Weekend 1st July 2017.

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