Guest author – Eric Sidoti, Project Lead, Music Education: Right from the Start

There can be little doubt that schools around the country are struggling. As if managing the Covid pandemic is not enough you can add to that a teacher shortage that has been a decade or more in the making, gross inequities in school resourcing, time pressures and ever-expanding expectations. This is evident in the teacher exodus and the drop in university entrants in teaching. However, the impact is greatest on students themselves as almost daily reports of growing mental health concerns and declining educational attainment attest.

There is no silver bullet and teacher workforce issues for one will inevitably demand longer-term strategies.

In the midst of all this, it is worth reminding ourselves that there are options available right now that will make a significant contribution to the well-being and educational development of Australia’s children. We need not wait.

This lies at the heart of Music Education: Right From the Start, a national collaborative initiative, led by Alberts through The Tony Foundation.

Happening upon Anna Goldsworthy’s article in the latest issue of The Monthly, we thought it worth sharing as Anna makes the point very succinctly:

‘I have often wondered what would happen if Big Pharma patented a single drug with proven effects that include improvements to working memory, logic processing and literacy; the fostering of empathy; the establishment of more robust immune systems; the prevention of “self-esteem decline”; a reduction in depression and mental illness; and the enhancement of social cohesion, compassion and cooperation. These are only some of the benefits listed in the 2019 report “Music Education: A Sound Investment”, commissioned by the philanthropic Tony Foundation and led by the educator and researcher Dr Anita Collins.’

With Anna’s article and another by Julie Hare, Education Editor, in the Australian Financial Review on 29 May you might be forgiven for thinking there may be something in the air.

Let’s hope our education ministers, in new governments and old, have their heads up and their noses to the wind.

Music Education: Right from the Start is a collaborative initiative, led by Alberts, and driven by our collective belief in the power of music to change lives. It focuses on the place and purpose of music within a quality education, and how to ensure access for all Australian primary school children. It has been developed in consultation with individuals and organisations spanning the music industry, education, research and philanthropy.

If you’d like further information on Music Education: Right from the Start please get in contact.

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