Saturday, November 16, 2019

Federal MP rep meeting with sMAG Co-Chairs

Following the success of the Federal Music Education Charter on the platform, sMAG members printed and delivered the near 10,000 petition signature document to the Hon. Dan Tehan’s MP (Federal Minister for Education) office requesting a meeting.  On August 29, Co-Chairs Susan Buchan and Fiona Phillips, along with Bradley Merrick and Professor Gary McPherson met with Fabian Harding, advisor to Daniel Tehan MP.  The discussions around the points in this petition were discussed at length.  Specific recommendations under Federal legislation were listened to, and various points that fall under State legislation were redirected to those authorities.
sMAG Co-Chairs have also scheduled a meeting with the Victorian Education Minister, the Hon. Mr James Merlino MP.
Our main focus was to see a commitment from Federal government that pre service training for specialist music educators would improve.  Without expertly trained, specialist music teachers delivered to the field by reputable tertiary institutions, any investment in music education becomes money thrown to the wind.  We need a national plan of reform to ensure schools can employ the best staff, so that our students receive the best music education possible.
A focus on Early Years and and regional and rural potentialities being realised were also discussed with a focus on pedagogies that are relevant to the child. 
The lack of sequential, continuous and developmentally appropriate learning in music as per the National Curriculum for secondary were also made very clear in the discussions. Bradley reiterated the inequities experienced in Victoria in ATAR scores for those studying Music at VCE level. Nationally, the way an ATAR system is administered holds significant discrepancies across States.  These points will again be raised with local members and the Hon. Mr James Merlino MP. We are hopeful that every child, in every Australian school will experience more music in schools every day. 
Don’t Stop The Music will rebroadcast on ABC TV and iview from 17 November at 2.30pm.
sMAG will continue to promote, lobby and argue that expertly trained music specialists, is the best way to support all efforts in delivering the best music outcomes for all Australian children.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre Highlights


The Hon Martin Foley MP officially opened the Ian Potter Southbank Centre in the Henson Dyer Hall on June 1, 2019.
Conservatorium students played Greenbaum - Fanfare to commence proceedings.
Virginia Trioli oversaw proceedings as the Master of Ceremonies
Vice-Chancellor, Duncan Maskell gave the opening speech.
Chair of the Ian Potter Foundation, Charles Goode AC gave a speech, before we heard from Martin Foley, who outlined and honoured all involved in the creation of the building, future plans for more ARTs buildings in the precinct, and affirmed the partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Official Opening

The official opening of the Ian Potter Southbank Centre featured performances from the undergraduate students.
The full orchestra performed Carinal Overture by Dvorak, Concerto for Orchestra (Mvts 4 &5) by Bartok, and Hungarian Dance No 5 by Brahms.
The performance was outstanding and received a standing ovation!  The future of music in Australia is bright with such talented undergraduate students reaching such virtuosic heights at such a young age.
Professor Gary McPherson is pictured with undergraduate music students - and is a member of the sMAG committee - Congratulations Gary!
Australian Chamber Orchestra
partners with University of Melbourne

Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell announced the partnership at the official launch of The Ian Potter Southbank Centre, a new home for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct on Saturday 1 June.
Students and staff at the University of Melbourne will have unparalleled access to education and research opportunities with a $1 million partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO).
Read more: University of Melbourne - Fine Arts Media Release

sMAG Co-Chairs, Fiona Phillips and Sue Buchan, engaged in a letter writing campaign during the Federal Election.  A total of 345 letters were sent to every candidate or office of party.
50 candidates responded including Josh Frydenburg, Julian Burnside and Mark Dreyfus.  
Most statements and responses stated that the relevant party valued music education and that after the election, would hold the Victorian State government to account and work with the Federal Minister for Education to see that the recommendations from the Vic Parliamentary Inquiry were followed through. They would consider the statements in the signed petition carefully.  The petition now has around 10,000 signatures:
 Funding of around $5M  was promised from both major parties.

The sMAG committee will meet again this Thursday June 13 to consider next steps.
Queen's Birthday Honours
Congratulations to Guy Sebastian on today's Queen's Birthday honour - the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Guy's contribution to 'Don't Stop The Music' catapulted the situation around Music Education into the limelight, creating a significant platform for change. Since the story aired on the ABC, thousands of instruments were donated to the Salvation Army music programs, school programs have been initiated, and politicians have taken note of the need for increased supports. The music community thanks you, Guy! Enjoy the moment!
ABC Radio:
Congratulations and Best wishes to Dr Rosalind McMILLAN. Honoured today in the Queen's Birthday 2019 list as AM for significant service to music education in Victoria. Music Educators everywhere thank Ros for her dedication to teaching and lecturing preservice Music specialists over her career. Thank you, Ros.
Opera Australia’s Regional Vocal Scholarship closes in just one month!

Since 2014, OA has provided four annual scholarships to senior secondary students from locations on OA’s National Tour. These Scholarship recipients have had the opportunity to partake in a week-long intensive with Opera Australia in Sydney, where they receive voice and acting training, an insight into the opera and musical theatre industries through backstage tours, and an exclusive performance opportunity.

Regional Vocal Scholarship auditions are now open to Year 11 and 12 students from all across Australia, as long as they live 100kms or more from their capital city (Tasmania and NT are exempt from distance criteria).

This revamped program is facilitated by our online platform, allowing students to provide links to their audition videos. Round One applications are open now until 5pm (EST) Friday 28 June, with some applicants being invited to reapply for a second round in late-September.

This is a very exciting initiative, and we would like to get the word out as widely as possible. Attached here is a flyer which provides basic information, our website is linked here, and we have this post on Facebook about the new program. We invite you to share this information with your networks in your preferred manner, either by forwarding this email, sharing on social media or posting on any community boards and forums.

If you know anyone who would be interested in this opportunity, please let them know!

Opera Australia Website:

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre

A new home for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
World class facilities are now available for students enrolled in the University of Melbourne music streams.  Located in the heart of the Arts precinct Melbourne, undergraduate music students enjoy being surrounded by the cultural landscape between the Arts Centre, Hamer Hall, the Melbourne Recital Centre and The Malthouse.  Light cascades into rehearsal rooms as practicing musicians take in the city views.  State of the art acoustical engineering has been designed into the concert halls and spaces.  Aesthetic features reflect musicality, such as protruding coloured dots and hollows on the facade, and steel string features within the building.
Such an investment into the music performance, and music education communities will bring a new sense of vivacity to the field.
Be sure to be watching news outlets for all the official releases from the University of Melbourne.

Take a virtual tour of the world class facilities: 

Friday, March 29, 2019

ASME (VIC) FORUM Marino D'Ortenzio AEU

Calling all members of the SIMP Victoria

Marino D'Ortenzio AEU

Date And Time

Thu., 4 April 2019
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm AEDT


Level 5, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, 234 Queensberry Street, Carlton


ASME (Victoria) invites music teachers to attend a forum to discuss implications of the VIT’s Circular to Principals distributed in November 2018 around the PTT. This advisory outlines the different duties between an instrumental music teacher and an instrumental music instructor, and provides guidance on when a registered teacher must be employed.

The panel will comprise Marino D’Ortenzio, Vice President (Sec) AEU, Carl Williams (Vice Chair SMAG) and Gavin Cornish (President, Association of Directors of Music, Independent Schools). 
Find Out More

Incorrect Classification of Teacher Positions as Education Support

The AEU has been campaigning, alongside sMAG, over the last few years to effect changes to the VIT Permission to Teach (PTT) policy and DET’s classification of Instrumental Music roles.
In 2017 the PTT was successfully changed after lobbying by the AEU and a letter writing campaign organised by the AEU that involved SMAG members.  This change removed the lines stating that delivery of Instrumental Music did not require teacher registration.
In 2018 this policy was supported through a Principal Advisory from VIT.  This advisory contained descriptions of the duties of a teacher, including;
  • Individually assess student learning against the approved curriculum
  • Plan for lessons in a sequential way
  • Providing feedback on learning
  • Reporting this progress to parents
Thankfully, many schools had continued the good practice of employing teachers for IMT roles, but for those that had filled instrumental roles as Education Support positions this advisory now provides the AEU with a concrete base upon which to correct the misclassification of IMT jobs.
In a perfect world, this correction would involve the union and the employer or VIT directly and would avoid having to involve instrumental music teachers.  In reality this requires the AEU to bring individual matters to the attention of the employer and the regulator.  In recent times the AEU has successfully acted for an IMT member whose workplace arrangement was incorrect.  The outcome involved remuneration being paid to that member.
If you are a member and feel that your role is incorrectly classified, I’d like to offer you a confidential and obligation free discussion about your employment.  You can contact me on 9418 4981.
I’d like to hear from you whether you are
  • currently employed in the public system or not,
  • currently registered as a teacher but in an ES role, or not registered and in an ES role.
Kind Regards
Marino D'Ortenzio
AEU Victoria
Victorian Opera is offering online streaming as 'incursion' so that primary school students throughout Victoria can have access to Opera education. The Victorian Opera acknowledges the support of the Department of Education and Training, Victoria, through the Strategic Partnerships Program

Federal Election Music Education Charter

Friday, December 14, 2018

Youth Justice System - Music Education


JULY, 2018.

sMAG submitted an opinion paper to a Victorian Parliamentary
Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria (the inquiry) in early
April, 2017.
The premise of the sMAG submission was to highlight the benefits
and potential of including Music Education in the schooling
programs of young people while held in a youth criminal
detention centre.
JYP Network

The sMAG paper advocated the extent, benefits and potential of music education
programs in Youth Justice Centres in Victoria, for example, aptitude for enhancement
the security and safety of staff, employees and the young offenders; lessening of
likelihood of reoffending, and interrelated implications of separating young people
from their communities and cultures; provision of additional options for keeping young
people out of youth justice centres; enhancement of culture and practices at centres,
including the role of the Department of Health and Human Services in overseeing
policies and programs in centres.

Following the completion of the inquiry, a network was convened by 
collaboration in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SPSS); and the 
Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) in the University of Melbourne 
to connect academics, practitioners, policy-makers, and young people and 
their communities to engage in conversation aimed to bring about social 
change and better outcomes for young people in Youth Justice Centres in Victoria.
An inaugural public event of the Justice-involved Young People Network
(JYP Network), a public conversation ‘Locking Up Our Kidswhat do we 
hope to achieve’ was held with a panel of experts early April 2018 at the
University of Melbourne.

A number of themes emerged:
  • the need to acknowledge individual and systemic bias;
  • the links between child protection and increased likelihood of criminalisation and youth justice involvement;
  • how failings in the education system drive children and young people towards justice-involvement;
  • the need to use custody as a last resort;
  • that custodial settings – where necessary – can and must be truly therapeutic and rehabilitative to be effective;
  • and that a socially just system of responding to young people’s problematic behaviours must be framed by principles of careresponsibility and relationship.
sMAG was invited to attend the official launch of the JYP Network late July,
2018 that introduced themes to spark interest and discussion; and become
the basis of ongoing conversations and activities.Liana Buchanan, Principal
Commissioner for Children and Young People; justice advocate Peter Norden AO;
and comedian Corey White were invited guests.

Australia’s oldest culture and some of the newest Australians shared
experiences in an event late October, 2018.

sMAG representatives look forward to continued involvement in this important
network in 2019.
Dr. Helen Farrell
University of Melbourne

Victorian Election Music Education Charter

The online petition, outlining a next stage 4 year strategy in
Music Education was sent to the Hon. Mr. Merlino after the successful
Andrews' government re-election.  See the petition - click here.

Federal Election Music Education Charter

As we move towards a Federal election, we have a petition outlining key points any newly elected government can put in place to see Music Education move forward in Australia.
The key asks:
  • Make Music a compulsory subject for all Primary school students in Australia
  • Provide Primary schools with a minimum time allocation per week to deliver Music, as it has with sport.  While sport provides extensive physical health benefits, Music provides extensive social and emotional benefits
  • Instruct AITSL to deliver benchmarks for quality music education teacher service for ITE providers
  • Develop ITE provider guidelines for excellence in Music education pre service training.
  • Work at COAG to instruct STATE governments to deliver on whole of class, P – 6 Music Education delivery, according to the standards required in the Australian Curriculum
  • Encourage State Education Ministers at COAG to deliver Music Education to all Justice system programs, special needs specific schools and any alternate education setting as appropriate.
  • Encourage State Education Ministers at COAG to follow the example provided in Victoria where a strategic improvement plan has resulted in greater Music Education delivery, including maintaining salaried instrumental music teachers, the Quality Music Education Framework and the VCAA Music Education Guide:
We encourage everyone to sign and share the petition with their friends, family and colleagues.  There is power in numbers - please support the campaign. 

When the election is called, we will invite people to write to their local candidates.

Don't Stop The Music - Holiday viewing

The school break would be a great time to watch Don't Stop The Music if you have not yet had time:

The South Australian government have published a $7M strategy to improve Music Education in that State following the airing of the show #DontStopTheMusicAU.
Please get behind the national campaign to see Music made a compulsory subject.

Countdown on the ABC, did an enormous amount for Music in Australia.  Molly Meldrum's bronze statue is outside The Corner Hotel in Richmond.  Get down to Richmond over January and take a selfie.  #DontStopTheMusicAU


Following the VIT PTT guideline publication, the AEU continues to work with public schools, and individuals affected by the changes.  For those that attended the forum a few years ago, Marino D'Ortenzio is consulting around the processes.  Please place any queries to the AEU directly.

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 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:

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 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
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.