Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sign & Share The Petition

Parents, Industry providers, teachers, musicians, and anyone in the public will want to sign this online petition following the
ABC Documentary 'Don't Stop The Music'. 
Share with your networks, and show Federal politicians that Australians want Music Education delivered to every student, in every school in a continuous, sequential and developmental program.
Only Federal law can make music mandatory!  

The petition sets out clear steps the Federal parliament can take to ensure that every child, in every school receives a music education.

"I strongly encourage everybody with an interest in making sure music is delivered consistently and properly across all schools to sign this important change.org petition. Initiatives such as this petition are often the only way for all our interest groups to come together and vote as one for this vital cause. Let’s keep the educational focus on the ‘whole child’! "
                                 Carl Williams - sMAG Vice Chair

Federal Law

Only Federal legislation can amend the hours provided for Music education in preservice training.  Only high signature numbers will convince Federal legislators that the Australian people want music education for every child, in every school to receive a continuous, sequential and developmental music program, delivered by an expertly trained teacher.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

VIT Permission To Teach

The VIT have publicly released an Advisory to Principals to clarify the 2017 Permission to Teach Policy and how it relates to Instrumental Music Teachers vs Instructors.
Briefly, the VIT reiterates the definition of a Teacher and provides clarification around when it is appropriate to employ an Instructor without Permission To Teach. The Principal’s Advisory is available for public viewing here: https://www.vision6.com.au/v/46574/5767653/email.html?k=6SJ1uZrXwXYrAmUg38sZ8mcvJsNZq4aI3jk9sxE4570

Various organisations, including sMAG, have had concerns for some time around situations in schools in all sectors, where unqualified and unregistered staff were solely responsible for large groups of students without the rigour or basic accountability provided by the VIT and a basic level of qualification. In some cases, these ensembles have been larger than what a fully qualified and registered teacher would be expected to accommodate in their classroom.
sMAG is supportive of the VIT’s role in upholding the profession of Teaching, and welcomes this clarification which should serve to bring Instrumental Music back into the school curriculum. sMAG believes strongly that Instrumental Music is an entirely valid means of delivering the Victorian Curriculum within our schools.
We extend thanks to a large number of professionals in various organisations involved in bringing about the clarifications over a period of nearly 10 years.
We recognise that work continues within the major auspices to effectively manage any implementation, and ask the music community for patience as processes move through.
We advise anyone working in the SIMP needing clarification to seek advice from either the AEU or the VIT directly.
Carl Williams
Read VIT PTT Website Publication

Don't Stop The Music

The broadcast of the first instalment of Don't Stop The Music was a heart warming, and compelling story of Challis Primary School students experiencing quality Music Education for the first time.  Anastasia, Samuel, Raj and Cody were particularly engaging as they each made their first furore into Musical experience.
If you did not get to watch Don't Stop The Music on Sunday, you can see the show any time you like on ABC IVIEW.
The second episode will air on the ABC on Sunday November 18, in the evening.
The petition on Change.org has over 1900 signatures as of this publication.
Please sign and share to see every child, in every school receive a Music Education
Just Brass run by The Salvos, delivers music education to low SES schools.  To assist them in reaching every corner of Australia, you can all help!  Dust off the old, unused instruments out in the garage, and donate them to the Just Brass program by dropping them off at any Salvation Army store.
Does your organisation support schools to start music programs?

The ABC is developing a brief directory of organisations that work with schools to build high-quality (sequential, continuous and developmental) music programs which will be aligned with the ABC's new Building a Musical School Kit resources, coming soon. If your organisation would like to be included on the list, please fill out this form. We also encourage you to distribute the form to any other organisations who you think may want to be involved.

  • How can I register my school for instruments? Is my school eligible?
Expressions of interest are being logged here.  Please note that schools with an ICSEA value of less than 1000 will be prioritised but special cases can be made to Musica Viva directly. Email dstm@musicaviva.com.au
Disadvantage is defined by the school’s ICSEA value, geographic location, size and special needs.
ICSEA values can be determined here
  • How can my school get involved in Don’t Stop the Music?
Do you need instruments? Educators can register interest on behalf of schools here.

  • How does my school donate instruments?
First of all, it is important to check that instruments are on our list of accepted instruments for the campaign and is in a reasonable condition for use. Find out here - we’re on the lookout for woodwind, strings, percussion and brass instruments – plus guitars, ukuleles, drum-kits – and instrument cases, accessories and spare parts.
Families can drop off instruments at their nearest Salvos store.
  • Can we have a musician come to our school?
We’d love to bring music to your school! There is nothing like the excitement and power of a live performance and the best place to experience our concerts is in your own school, so we come to you. No buses, no travel, no wasted time!
Discover which Musica Viva ensembles are touring in your region here
  • What is Musica Viva In Schools?
Musica Viva In Schools is committed to delivering high quality live music experiences to all Australian children and their teachers regardless of geography or socio-economic status.We believe that every child deserves access to a quality music education.

Musica offers a special subsidy program, which supports schools that may not be able to afford our standard student price. Last year, through the support of donors and sponsors we were able to deliver our programs to over a quarter of a million children around Australia at just a fraction of the real cost. And there is still much work to do. By 2020 we aim to double our reach with live performances and the latest teaching technologies, but cannot achieve this without the generosity of our supporters.

Musica Viva In Schools is proud to support teachers in increasing their capacity to teach music in the classroom through a range of online and free face-to-face professional development opportunities. In 2016, over 3,700 general classroom teachers and music specialists attended a Musica Viva In Schools professional learning course.
  •  Does MVIS provide teaching resources? Are they free?
As part of the Don’t Stop the Music initiative, Musica Viva is offering a free sampler course, comprising a general introduction to music education in the Australian primary school, aimed at generalist teachers with minimal music teaching experience who are looking to build confidence. Check it out here.

Each Musica Viva In Schools program includes interactive online teaching resources to help teachers prepare for the live performance coming to their school.

These resources contain:
- up to ten weeks worth of flexible lesson plans
- fun activities
- audio and video content, including demonstrations of musical activites
- interactive lessons to encourage student participation
- music and creative arts curriculum specific content as well as cross-curriculum links, all aligning with state and national curricula
Discover more about Musica Viva’s teacher resources here
  • Does MVIS offer teacher professional development? Is it accredited?
Musica Viva In Schools are proud to support teachers in increasing their capacity to teach music in the classroom through a range of online and face-to-face professional development opportunities.
Delivered when you book a performance at your school, online PD will guide you in using Musica Viva’s teaching resources in your classroom and can be accessed by all the teachers at your school. Best of all, online PD can be accessed at a time and a place that suits you.
Face-to-face professional development is delivered by Musica Viva educators and musicians throughout the year and across Australia. Our 2 hour events meet AITSL standards, and are fully accredited. You will receive a certificate of participation after the event. 

Professional development events are suitable for general classroom teachers and music specialists.
All Musica Viva Professional Development country-wide addresses AITSL Teacher Standards. NSW Proficient teachers will receive 2 hours of NESA accredited Professional Development, while all ACT Professional Development is fully accredited with both NESA and TQI.
 Discover more about Musica Viva’s teacher resources here

Guy Sebastian lends his star power to the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year awards! Have you voted?

Richard Gill:
Celebration of a Life

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra and colleague companies are proud to honour the life and achievements of the late Richard Gill.
On Saturday 17 November, the Sydney Music Community will gather at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House and share music and speeches in tribute to a man who was without match in his devotion to bringing people to music and music to people.
Members of the public are invited to join the Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Chamber Choir and the Conservatorium High School Chamber Choir for this tribute performance.
Due to demand there will be a free livestream of this concert:
Saturday 17 November 2018, 11.30AM AEDT

Should there be a peak Music Body in other areas willing to open a venue for local musicians to gather and be a part of the livestream together, please let us know and we will publicise.  

Monday, November 5, 2018


4th November 1941 – 28 October 2018
Patron of sMAG Victoria

The passing of Richard Gill AO is an enormous loss to both music education and the music industry. He touched the lives of so many people from all ages, from tiny children to elderly citizens. His interaction with school children and music teachers was inspirational.  So many of our professional musicians, music teachers, members of Orchestras, music ensembles and choirs in all Australian States and Territories acknowledge Richard’s part in their choosing a career in music. To have heard him talk and present music was an experience that no one forgets.

Richard’s passionate support for so many music organisations including The School Music Action Group (sMAG) was exceptional. When we invited him to speak, he did whatever he could to be there.  Richard was always available to talk to people, and make them feel valued and important to him.  The fact that he remembered the names of people was extra-ordinary.

Richard will be remembered as an amazing human being, philosopher, Director of music, conductor and music educationalist.

Richard worked tirelessly for music education all his life, and was a key person in the lobbying of the Federal Government for a National Review of School Music Education, which took place from 2004 to 2005. His personal lobbying for music education started years before, and Associate Professor Robin Stevens and I remember the meetings we had where the three of us discussed the status of music education in Victoria, and the needs and processes in the development of a National Review. We also had the great privilege of being part of the Review, with Robin Stevens invited to be on the Steering Committee, and Richard and myself as Critical Friends.  Victorian music educators who became members of the School Music Action Group (sMAG) when it was formed in 2007 were also on the Steering Committee and included Ian Harvey, Dr Neryl Jeanneret, and Carl Stevens.

After two years with minimal action in regard to the implementation of the Recommendations from the National Review (both federally and in the States), a group of Melbourne music educationalists took action. A Victorian Music Workshop titled School Music Education for every child. Promoting a World Class Music Education, took place at Melbourne High School on April 21 2007. Over 100 delegates included Principals and music teachers from Primary and Secondary Schools, Heads and lecturers from Tertiary Institutions, and members of the music industry, came up with actionable responses to three of the important issues raised in the National Review: Teacher Education; training and professional development; and Curriculum.

Richard Gill took a leading role at the Workshop, giving the powerful Keynote address.  Senator Rod Kemp, the Honourable Mr Phil Davis, the leader of the Opposition in the Upper House and spokesperson for Education also spoke. The day concluded with the formation of ‘The School Music Action Group’ and the writing and publication of the Victorian Music Workshop Report, which included a list of Recommendations for the Victorian Government. This work was driven by a great team of passionate members of sMAG all supported by Richard Gill’s conviction, support, and driving energy.

His support for the work of sMAG was ongoing, even hosting meetings at Horty Hall the home of the Victorian Opera in Dec 2010.  He also met with politicians personally lobbying the Victorian government on behalf of sMAG.

Richard was passionate about curriculum and teaching. His anger and frustration with the new Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was publicly expressed when they began merging The Arts into one subject.
Richard spoke with great passion at a Curriculum Forum held at Iwaki Auditorium in Melbourne organised by sMAG in August 2012.  As a result, over 70 curriculum responses to the Draft of the ACARA Arts Curriculum were developed by the delegates at the meeting, and were forwarded to ACARA.

His philosophy of music education, and his despair for the State of music education in Australia was well revealed in his Keynote speech at the Victorian Music Workshop 2007. A few points he made are included below.

Beginning with where we were at early in the twentieth century, he reminded us that kindergarten teachers in NSW could not graduate from teachers’ college until they could sing at sight in all major and minor keys with the pitch taken from a tuning fork.  Teachers also played a simple piano accompaniment to a wide range of songs. He added that today, few graduating music teachers, including high school music teachers, have these skills.

He pulled no punches and attacked precepts, ideas and principles, not people. He argued that “Good musicians teach for all” presenting a long list of reasons why we need every child in the country to have access to first rate teaching of music by properly trained teachers. He then went on to describe why music education was in big trouble.

A principle gripe was that “music is lumped in with all the other arts because it suits some bureaucrats to do so in an effort to in-invent the wheel”. Richard continued – “Frankly I do not want to be told by someone who knows nothing about music how I should go about teaching the subject I know reasonably well, and more insulting telling me how I should integrate it into the other art forms. It is difficult enough to teach music itself without the burden of unreasonable, external and unrelated requirements…which have nothing intrinsically to do with music anyway.”

He continually repeated his statement that music should be taught by highly-trained specialists with the most brilliant and gifted teachers working at the elementary or kindergarten level.

His attack of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards “VELS” document vociferously, and he emphasized;
  • the need to teach music for its own sake,
  • reinstate serious vocal music in schools,
  • open strong and vigorous dialogue with the tertiary institutions,
  • establish a primary curriculum in the State, and
  • lobby politicians for specialist teachers in Primary Schools.

Richard concluded his address with a magic statement:
“We just need to guide them (children) to a world of music which is broader and deeper than they every dreamed and to let them know that their lives can be richer and more satisfying by a hundredfold if only they had the opportunity to study music properly.”

Richard will be deeply missed, and his legacy will have a lasting effect on Music Education in Australia.

Dr Anne Lierse on behalf of the School Music Action Group.
Chair of sMAG 2007 – 2013.
The Music Victorian Workshop Report can be found on the sMAG blog spot, and the Cataloguing-in-Publication entry for this title is available from the National Library.
ISBN 978-0-646-55695-6 (2007)


Richard was a compelling orator, influencer and presence.  We are forever indebted to him for all of his work in the music arena in Australia, particularly for his work in championing Music Education in schools and sMAG's commencement. 

When asked on the ABC's Q and A what could be done to improve Music Education further, Richard emphatically announced "We've just got to keep banging on about it!"

Now, it is up to all of us to "keep banging on about it." We must all carry the message of Music Education's benefits forward, and in so doing, further Richard's legacy and honour his memory

Catherine Lyons
Chair of sMAG January 2014 – July 2018


Note from the new leadership structure.

We, the music community, have opportunity to carry the vision of music education advocacy forward at this crucial time. 
In the political arena, decisions are made around numbers.  With a Victorian election campaign current, each one of you are invited to write to your local candidates. A proforma letter can be found here: http://smag-schoolmusicactiongroup.blogspot.com/2018/09/smag-spring-enews-2018.html By writing a letter to your local residential area candidate, you demonstrate that Music Education is important. The more people that write, the more weight the subject becomes as an election matter. It is vital that everyone with time, write to their local candidates.
Liberal party candidate contacts can be found here: https://vic.liberal.org.au/#OurTeam  
Using the proforma, it takes 5 minutes per letter to email to the appropriate candidate.
Should you wish, you can sign the Change.org petition for Victoria: https://www.change.org/p/smag-vic-victorian-election-music-education-charter and share it on social media.

As the ABC Documentary ‘Don’t Stop The Music' https://www.abc.net.au/events/dstm/ goes to air, we have opportunity to bring our cause to the attention of all Australians.  Please sign this petition, share with friends, and make a noise about Music!


Sydney Tribute
The Sydney Music Community gathered to celebrate Richard Gill’s life.  Playback the Sydney tribute on Facebook.  
Go to City Recital Hall https://www.facebook.com/CityRecitalHall/ 

Any livestream technical queries need to be directed to City Recital Hall