Music plays a vital role in culture and society alike, not only for expressing ourselves but also for promoting and uplifting physical and mental wellbeing. Music allows people from all different backgrounds to come together to appreciate and engage with their traditions, while also forming connections with one another.

The Melbourne Pipe Band came together some 10 years ago to share their love for music, marching, and tradition. Through their performances at outreach events, the Band have demonstrated the values of unity, love, acceptance, and tolerance.

More recently, this has involved impressing the crowds at the annual Australia Day breakfast hosted by the Melbourne Lions Club and the White Horse Council, whilst Ismaili volunteers from I-CERV served breakfast. One of the younger members of the Pipe Band, Hussain, remarked that the outreach event was “a memorable experience of giving back to society and representing the Ismaili community.”

Mawlana Hazar Imam recently emphasised the importance of music in Islamic traditions, while speaking at the inaugural Aga Khan Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal in March 2019.

“In some parts of the world, the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘music’ are not often linked together in the public mind. But they should be. The cultural heritage of Islam has long embraced musical language as an elemental expression of human spirituality.”

When the Melbourne Pipe Band performed at the annual Australia Day event, everyone was filled with positivity and joy, which their performance brought to members of the Jamat and the wider community alike.

Farhan, a member of the pipe band, said, “Through performing, I am making connections with people through my passion for music and service to the community.”

Moreover, this musical initiative paves the way for individuals to pursue personal growth and encourages them to pursue music as a creative way to express themselves.

The passion for learning music and interest in the Band continues to grow as new members have shown a willingness to learn. Currently, 15 new members are in training, learning to play the pipes, drums, and new routines for future events, improving their skills and performance. In addition, there is now a junior flute band consisting of youth under 18 years of age.

Salman, a senior member of the pipe band said, “The pipe band has become a great way to engage in celebration and teach members of the Jamat about music and this way, members pick up a new skill.”

Senior members of the pipe band are continuing to foster musical talent in the Jamat by teaching new students about pipes and marching. By forming a collaborative learning environment, it creates a positive atmosphere for everyone to learn, grow, and form connections with more members of the Jamat, through a shared passion for music.

Farhan, who also serves as one of the mentors for the pipe band, said, “Seeing other senior members play the pipes, encourages me to learn more and improve my skills. Seeing them also motivates me to learn more about music so I can pass it onto the new members.”

The guidance and support from Imamat and Jamati initiatives that encourage music has allowed people from all walks of life to come together to share knowledge and foster musical talent. The Melbourne Pipe Band hope to participate in more outreach events in the future and continue to make positive impacts in the community through music.