March 20

EP. 39 – “The classroom is a stage”, teaching from the drum kit & a personal journey with ADHD w/ Chris McLeay


Chris McLeay didn't really start getting 'into' music until his twenties.

Music became an expressive outlet and tool for personal growth for Chris.

After completing a music education degree, some time spent working with a powerful Musical Futures program in South Melbourne (Australia), and multiple other music ed projects, Chris moved into the role of Primary Music Teacher at Discovery College, Hong Kong.

In this episode, we explore:

  • Chris' journey to teaching in Hong Kong, and what he loves about living and working there.
  • his unique approach to teaching early years and primary music.
  • how Chris uses colour-coding to support neurodivergence in his classroom.
  • the concept of "the classroom is a stage", including why Chris has a full lighting rig in his primary music classroom.
  • why/how to teach primary music 'from the drum kit'.
  • Chris' project 'ta-da music' - a collection of super fun themed songs for early years and primary students!
  • some strategies for how he manages his ADHD as a music teacher in a demanding international school.

Chris is such a fun guy. Seriously, when you hang out with the dude you can't help but laughing and joking most of the time! Chris is also a keen hiker and took me on a beautiful hike in HK when we were together in November 2023 - all avid hikers/trail runners should definitely add HK to their travel bucket list! 

We hope you enjoy this wide-ranging and enlightening episode.


Get in touch with Chris:


Links and resources from this episode:

Ta-Da!!! Music - FREE online sing-alongs made by Chris:
Full channel:

Featured Songs:
- Build It Up -
- I'm a Little Robot -
- Evergreen Desiduous -

'ESF (English Schools Foundation) Schools' - 22 international school in HK:

'What comes before phonics' book:

Planbook - planning tool:

Future AdHD - specific ADHD Planner:

Musical Futures International:

This episode is brought to you by AIM - the Australian Institute of Music. AIM is Australia's first, and only creative institute entirely dedicated to music. AIM has more than 50 years of experience in the industry, empowering over 6,000 artists, and teaching them the tools and knowledge to hone their skills and find their place in the music world.

We often get asked by international school music teachers for fantastic institutions for further study for students, especially in the wider Asian region. Instead of having students go to the US or UK to study Western music, many students are now opting for AIM due to timezone similarities and the epic lifestyle of cities like Melbourne and Sydney.

If you have students who are looking to study diploma, bachelor’s, or master’s degree courses in classical or contemporary music performance, composition, creative technology, musical theatre, or arts and entertainment management, then AIM is a brilliant option. You can find everything you need at

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adhd, early years, MusicalFutures, Pedagogy, primary