Will our governments make the changes and the investment needed to ensure that every Australian primary school student has access to a quality, sequential and ongoing music education?
“No, isn’t an answer” was Peter Garrett’s advice to the packed house of music industry and music education enthusiasts at the official launch of Music Education: Right From the Start in Melbourne on 12 September.
It’s a message Susan Templeman MP, the Australian Government’s Special Envoy for the Arts, promised she’ll be taking back to Canberra.
Music Education: Right From the Start may have originated with Alberts but it is owned by many. Collaboration is at the very heart of this initiative. Our friends like Musica Viva, the Song Room, the Australian Music Association, APRA-AMCOS, the Australian Children’s Music Foundation. Scholars and researchers like Dr Anita Collins, Dr Rachael Dwyer, Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret, Dr Jason Goopy, Louise Barkl and Dr Tanya Vaughan – all of whom sit on our Knowledge Base Working Group. Teachers and their associations including the Australian Society of Music Educators and several state teachers’ unions. All form part of this national collaboration.
The official launch sought to make clear that the collective interest of all involved in Music Education: Right From the Start is solely doing all we can to ensure that every Australian primary school student has access to quality, sequential and ongoing music education.
While there’s new research underway, the immediate priorities are clear.
Our primary teachers need to be trained and supported if they are to be both confident and competent in delivering music education and, if we are to meet the expectations of a quality music education, increased investment is needed over time if we are to ensure that there are specialist music educators.
Across Australia there are primary principals who have understood the place and purpose of music education, not only in delivering significant benefits to their students but in transforming their schools. They are too few and too often they come to this realisation by chance or serendipity. Much more can and should be done in informing, encouraging and supporting school leaders. There is no avoiding the fact that this is one symptom of systemic inadequacy.
There is no avoiding the need for considered systemic responses.
If the passion and enthusiasm evident at the Melbourne launch is any indication, Music Education: Right From the Start is striking a chord.
For more information on Music Education: Right from the Start, visit our website here, or contact Emily Albert or Eric Sidoti.
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