Sunday, December 10, 2023

Music for the soul

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Can you quantify the impact music has had on your life?

Don Hearn from Caldwell near Barham believes music is intrinsic to our DNA and is enjoyed in every culture, and in every country around the world and he is looking to share the unity that music brings to us all.

Don Hearn
Don Hearn. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne

In 2016, the sixth-generation Australian farmer and his wife, Jo, were staying in Sri Lanka. The couple got to know a young man who was working at the accommodation where they were staying.

The young man worked from before dawn to long after dark seven days a week, and his name was Assam.

Every time Don began playing the guitar, his elated face would appear from behind a tree, or corner of the building and he would be transfixed with the music.

Every day he would come closer and closer, and Don began to teach him how to play. “I realised it would probably be many years before he could afford to buy his own guitar. Suddenly I thought, ‘What a HUGE difference it would make to his life if he had one now.’”

Jo Hearn
Jo Hearn. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

The flash of inspiration had sown a seed. When Don and Jo checked out, they thanked Assam for looking after them. Don added, “You really like music don’t you, Assam?”

Assam sheepishly replied, “Yes.”

“But you don’t have a guitar, do you?” Don asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Well, now you do,” and with that, Don handed over his guitar that had travelled around the world with him for 30 years.

The amazement and happiness on Assam’s face when he realised it was for him, and that it was his to keep, was a beautiful thing the Hearns will always remember.

This simple act of kindness has led Don to form Noteworthy.

Noteworthy guitar
Noteworthy. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

Noteworthy’s aim is to repurpose pre-loved guitars or the like and provide them to people around the globe.

So, before you leave home on your travels, head to a charity shop and buy a cheap second-hand guitar, ukulele and so on. Clean it up and put some new strings on it. As the person who receives the instrument will likely be learning to play from the beginning, nylon strings are the way to go, to be easy on their fingers.

Get yourself a soft guitar carry case if you do not already have one. Soft ones have excellent padding these days, can be re-used and, when coming home, simply fold up and put in your backpack or suitcase.

While the person who receives the instrument may not have access to the internet or a mobile phone, simply printing out one page of chords will ensure they will have everything they need to get them developing their love of music.

Before COVID-19 hit, Noteworthy had delivered one guitar into Sri Lanka and one into a poor school in rural India where 20 students now have the opportunity to learn from the one instrument which didn’t exist before.

Don wanted to test run the idea before officially launching Noteworthy, which will now be done with a live music event at the Little Pork Deli in Barham this Saturday.

The event will be headlined by the wonderful Angie McMahon and has already sold out. No doubt it will be a great night out, as well as announcing the official launch of Noteworthy.

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 15 April 2021

Head to to find out more.

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 15 April 2021.


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