Special guest: Peter Combe


Peter Combe started as a primary school classroom teacher in 1969, moving shortly after into music teaching. By the late 70s he was writing and performing songs for both children and adults and decided to move the family to England to see where his career might take him.

In England he presented the classic BBC school music program Music Time which was aired also in Australia by the ABC. Returning to Australia, Peter pioneered the recording of albums for children that consisted of new songs (rather than nursery rhymes and old favourites). He also pioneered the making of video clips for children – the first being Toffee Apple. His Radio National radio show Ticklepot was voted best children’s radio program in the world in New York 1991.

Peter has performed in schools, pubs, clubs, concert halls, has sold out the Sydney Opera House (twice) and the Melbourne Concert Hall, has appeared at Carols in the Domain and other capital city Carols nights … and regularly performs his children’s songs in pubs full of adoring adults who turn up to sing along with the soundtrack of their childhood. Yet another first for children’s songs.

Peter’s albums have won 3 ARIA awards, plus 7 gold and 3 platinum awards.

And on Australia Day 2020, Peter was awarded the OAM. And deservedly so. He has elevated the status, not only of children’s songs, but also the importance of music in children’s lives and the importance of those who provide the music education.

Peter made time in late 2019 to share his insights into children’s songs and music education. You’re going to enjoy listening to the man who gave us Mr Clicketty Cane, Toffee Apple, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Newspaper Mama, Christmas albums and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie the musical.

Presented by Music Room
published by Bushfire Press


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  • Peter’s primary classroom and music teacher origins.
  • Hosting Music Time in the UK.
  • Why we still need such a program.
  • What makes a successful children’s song and why Peter’s songs have achieved longevity.
  • The origin of Spaghetti Bolognaise.
  • Peter’s 18+ concerts (Big Kids Night Out).
  • Peter’s Adelaide Fringe shows.
  • Using elemental musical cocepts in children’s songs.
  • Children’s singing keys.
  • The importance of singing for children.

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Or address us directly with questions, suggestions or hints & tips:

Recipe: Napolitana Pizza – Ennio Morricone 

Yes – the famous film composer adds anchovies. If you are a Napolitana purist – leave them out.


  • 500 gs trong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 325 ml lukewarm water
  • dried breadcrumbs, for sprinkling


  • 300 g tinned plum tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • A few anchovies
  • 25 g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • a few basil leaves or some dried oregano
  • 150 g mozzarella, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas 9. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add to the flour, mixing well until you obtain a dough. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered with a cloth, for 5 minutes. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and split it in half. Knead each of the pieces for a couple of minutes and shape into balls. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the dough on it, then cover with a slightly damp cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a bowl, crush them slightly with a fork, season and mix well. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and spread the dough into a circle about 35-40cm in diameter, making it as thin as a pancake (being careful not to tear it), with the border slightly thicker. Repeat with the other dough ball. Sprinkle a few breadcrumbs on two large baking trays and place the pizza bases on them. 

Spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base – not too much, or the pizzas will be soggy. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle over the Parmesan, place the anchovies evenly spaced, add a few basil leaves or sprinkle over some oregano and top with pieces of mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven for 7 minutes (a couple of minutes longer if you prefer your pizza crisp). Remove from the oven, drizzle with some more olive oil and consume immediately.


If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.  J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Hints & Tips takeaway

This week’s music teaching tip comes from Alison Lunnon in Maryborough QLD.

It’s a short video showing how Alison stores her resources.



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