Realising the potential of music education

Students at Eltham East Primary School‘As a society we value music, for the richness and joy that it brings to our lives. Music plays an especially valuable role in the lives of children: young children learn and play through music and older children to carve out their identity and express feelings and emotions.’
Chair, The Hon. Jan Kronberg MLC

The Primary Learning and Development Reform Branch, DEECD recently presented a twilight seminar in partnership with Bastow: Realising the Potential of Music Education in Victorian Schools.

This seminar was the first in a series with further opportunities planned for 2015 to build on quality music education in Victorian schools and as an important part of the response to findings and recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education in Victorian Schools.

A range of music stakeholders committed to music education in Victorian schools were represented at the seminar, including teachers, principals, leaders and representatives from Early Childhood settings through primary and secondary schooling to university. Music organisations, teacher organisations and associations, independent and Catholic school sectors were also represented.

The keynote speaker Professor Gary McPherson, Director of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music University of Melbourne, set his address firmly in the context of current developments in relation to the recent review of the Australian Curriculum, inspiring members of the audience to think creatively about music education in our schools and beyond. His message was consolidated by presentations regarding leading Music Education in a primary school setting, from Cheryl Macnee, Principal of Eltham East Primary School supported by Anne Williams, Music Co-ordinator; followed by leading Music Education in a secondary setting presented by Vicki Miles, Associate Principal of Doveton College.

These principals link music education to powerful learning in their schools, encouraging student voice and expression through music while building the capacity of their teachers. It was clear that their approach enhanced the wellbeing and harmony of all members of their school communities, and that community partnerships played an important role in the success of their strong and inspiring music programs.

Participants in the seminar noted that the role of principal class leadership in implementing quality, sustainable music programs in schools was essential. Future seminars are currently being designed with this clear message in mind. The Department wishes to thank Chris McKenzie and Geri Wild of Bastow for their collaboration and support.

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