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Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1752-6299
  • E-ISSN: 1752-6302



The academic literature on Australian Indigenous health and well-being suggests an overwhelming need for education to alleviate ‘lifestyle’ diseases and social dysfunction. Yet, the socio-cultural diversity of Australian Aboriginal communities provides a challenging landscape for efficacious and long-lasting support processes. The ‘Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!’ (UJTU) programme is facing these issues from an innovative perspective. ‘Thumbs up’, addresses health and well-being in remote Aboriginal communities from the ground up by engaging in music education programmes with the youth of the community, which subsequently filters through to the broader community. Based on an analysis of the effectiveness of a ‘Thumbs Up’ case study, this article will present preliminary recommendations for working with Australian Indigenous youth and their broader communities through facilitated musical activities. Informal learning frameworks, which incorporate music-making shared between educators and community members, are shown to be a constructive means of engaging the youth and empowering them in the management of their health and well-being.


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