Huon Valley News

Making Music in Skate Parks

After a 23-year career in opera, Ben Hayward Segal nowadays spends time hanging out at skate parks introducing young people to music using a fusion of music, recycled instruments, and digital media.

Ben has been a pivotal part of the successful Youth Beat program in the Huon Valley, a free outreach service provided by Mission Australia and supported by the Council. The idea of the program is to provide a safe, fun, and supportive presence at local skate parks.

Ben’s presence at the park adds a whole other dimension to the experience, introducing young people to elements of music through play. Using a loop machine, Ben records the sounds they make as they explore sound using their voices and instruments.

“The kids often don’t know they are creating something, but they are. When they get a good flow I introduce the basic rudiments of music such as pitch, rhythm and beat,” said Ben.

“It’s connecting the music with the outdoors and taking the arts curriculum outdoors.”

Passionate and committed to making a difference through the arts, Ben’s approach is providing everyone the opportunity to make music, experiment and express themselves. As well as using regular musical instruments, Ben makes instruments out of everyday objects.

Youth Beat has been happening in Cygnet and Huonville for around three months and is attracting a whole range of young people aged from 5-16. It has been successful in creating an after school hang out space in a supportive environment.

Luke Green, Youth Beat Program Coordinator, said the program is operating in thirteen suburbs in Southern Tasmania. He said it helps to strengthen communities and builds up young people’s capacities and potential to live healthy and meaningful lives.

“It’s been great having Ben here and seeing kids be creative. We had to cancel one of the sessions due to bad weather and we had kids phoning Mission Australia to ask where the crew is! So it’s been working really well down here.”

Huon Valley Council Youth Development Officer Mitch Robson said the program has made skate parks a safer, more creative, welcoming and supportive space for skaters and the wider community.

If anyone would like to learn more or get involved with this project, please contact Mitch on 6264 0300 or email