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Anna Coddington strikes a chord

Three girls came bursting into the room where singer/songwriter Anna Coddington was having lunch. “We’ve got the ending,” they yelled, and put down the final couple of lines to a song they had just been writing with Anna.

Anna grabbed her guitar and the four of them then sang the completed song “Life is Amazing”, which had been written in under an hour. It lived up to its name, and the girls were clearly buzzing.
“See?” Anna said, “That’s why I do it.”

Anna, who grew up in Raglan, came back to Raglan Area School last week to join with local musicians for the New Zealand Music Commission Musicians’ Mentoring in Schools Programme, which is funded by the Ministry of Education.

Drummer Boyd Dixon, bassist Nick Stevens, guitarist Vicki Creetis and pianist Lisa McLeod joined teachers from school to help individuals and bands from Years 7-8 with their music, performance and creative skills.

As an established artist Anna with two solo albums under her belt, was also able to help students with career advice and a few tricks of the trade.

The one and a half day mentoring session culminated in a concert of all the student musicians in front of the school, for that extra bit of performance practise.

“Whatever they’re afraid of, you make them [the students] do it over and over again until they’re not afraid of it anymore,” Lisa said.

All the musicians involved talked about the pleasure they got from teaching a young student and see them “get it”.

“For me, that’s what got me into music. It’s like – wow! It’s creation,” said Anna, who was keen to start working again after having a baby nine months ago.

It was her second visit to the school under the mentoring programme but she visited many other schools around New Zealand, often while she was on tour, to do the same.

Vicki, who volunteered to help the younger Year 5-6 students, said she hoped a band would form from the mentoring session which would eventually perform its own songs.

Rachel Benn

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