Sunday, July 17, 2016

sMAG Term 2 ENews

While we move into Term 3, I must apologise for the Term 2 ENews coming out later than expected.  I have been nursing a leg injury, and writing to Federal electoral candidates.  Both have consumed much of my time and energy, so with a ‘quieter’ week, I can now report on the many and varied activities that we are aware of across the sector.

FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Throughout the Federal election campaign, the Strategic Working party put together a base letter to deliver to every candidate across the major parties.   After introductions, we outlined a brief history of the landscape, and finished with key recommendations that we believe would push the Victorian agenda forward:

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANY ELECTED GOVERNMENT
sMAG recommends that whether in government or the Senate, Any elected candidate commits to;
·       Universal provision of music education in Australian schools from P-8 by the start 2022 academic year - five years to allow for pre service training of music education specialists.  Public service teachers provide long-term investment in schools, working in communities over decades.
·       Ensuring that the Wiltshire/Donnelly recommendation that Music be delivered as a stand-alone subject, is implemented into the Australian Curriculum, and that the Australian Curriculum provides a sequential, continuous and developmental pathway for all students from P – 8, delivered by an expertly trained, specialist teacher.
·       Creating and promoting a national quality/best practice framework for music in schools.
·       Appointing a Commonwealth Education minister who then seeks the agreement of the COAG Education Council in requiring schools and systems to report on their music education activity annually from 2017. 
·       Adopting a variation on TEMAG recommendation (Rec 18) that teacher-training institutions provide students with the opportunity to specialise in a STEM subject and an arts subject – namely Music.  Effectively STEMM.  Meaning that in the medium term the teacher training institutions and teacher registration bodies are training and accrediting sufficient graduate teachers with the requisite skills in music to achieve the goal of universal provision; P – 8 Classroom music, instrumental music experts and ensemble teachers.

Responses from the major parties:

·       Labor promised to fully fund Gonski, pre service training in general and deliver more support for special needs students: http://www.laborsplanforeducation.com.au/ As far as music specifically goes, Mr. Shorten made announcements at The Malthouse, against which we made a response and published here: http://smag-schoolmusicactiongroup.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/federal-labors-election-promise-of-2m.html
·       The Liberal party also promises to fund education in general as published here: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/putting-students-first  The party sent a letter back about ‘Jobs and Growth’ from a Mr. T. Nutt.  I will make no further comment here.
·       The Greens policy is around a ‘lifetime of learning’ in a sustainable education process: http://greens.org.au/lifetime-of-learning  They also responded with a letter around education in general, and an interest in consulting with us further should they win government.

Individual candidates wrote back affirming their enthusiasm for music education, each of which I published on the sMAG Facebook page.

In order to push the Federal agenda forward, a National strategy with collaborators from every state is needed.  Initiatives such as the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) social media posts are good, yet they need to be backed up with academic evidence and consistent lobbying efforts.  I look forward to hearing from National colleagues around what can be achieved next.  In the meantime, if you would like to support the STEAM campaign, please download the separate attachment with the ENews, and post to your social media accounts. In the near future, sMAG will write to the new Federal education minister and outline the history, research and needs of the music education sector in Victoria, and how Federal policy can add momentum to strengthening delivery.


               


VICTORIA – THE EDUCATION STATE – Music Education

As we moved through Term 2, we saw the development and implementation of many improvement points against the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education 2013.  We now see announcements around improving pre-service teacher training.  The Victorian government has announced this week, a major collaboration with the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.  We celebrate this announcement, as the building will stand for hundreds of years!  The Music community has a real opportunity to embrace the support and make the best of it!

Quote from the Press Release: "Melbourne’s Southbank is set to become one of the world’s best training grounds for the arts, with the construction of a new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to add to the best cultural precinct in the nation.
Acting Premier James Merlino today announced the project – a partnership between the Andrews Labor Government and the University of Melbourne – which will expand and relocate the University’s elite music education and research facility from Parkville to Southbank, opening to students in 2019."

Quote from Daniel Andrews' Facebook Page: "Say you've just finished high school in Victoria, and you're an absolute gun violinist or pianist, and you have your heart set on a career travelling the world in a famous orchestra.
Well, right now the first thing you would do is move overseas, because the music conservatories in Europe are second to none.
That's all about to change.
Today, I can announce that we're going to build the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) in Southbank.
It'll be the world's best training ground for musicians of every instrument and every discipline.
And it will create 2,000 jobs."
--
Quote from Gary McPherson:
Yes, this is really great news for our Conservatorium.  It’s been a very very long time coming but the new building will really make a huge difference. I’ll attach a photo of what it will look like (it will be located immediately behind the MRC). 



We’ll still retain the Parkville (old) conservatorium building plus also the St Kilda Road music building and hope to get a fourth building at Southbank that is a dedicated practice facility for our students. The new building however, will house most of our performance program.

I have a very large ARC grant in that I should know the outcome of by the end of this year. It would help establish a hub for the teaching of instruments to rural students who don’t have access to specialist teachers. If we get the funding we’ll also be embarking on professional development courses for teachers, streaming concerts and lectures and workshops and trying as best we can to support music teachers throughout the state. We had a very successful all day session at the Melbourne Recital Centre a few months ago where our two wind symphonies performed with another 5 school ensembles. Next year, I’m hoping to expand our connections with school ensembles by booking the MRC for a few more concerts.

There’s so much to do but at least we’re making some progress on a few fronts. With a new building it will be so much easier to do more of the things we hope can support music in schools

Gary
                                                                                                               
Professor Gary McPherson 
Ormond Chair of Music and Director
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
The University of Melbourne



But Wait There’s More…!!!....

Deputy Premier and Education Minister, Mr. James Merlino, this week visited Gippsland with major announcements (pinch yourself, this is real!).


Music rooms to be built for Morwell Park Primary School. 
"Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing today visited five local schools that will benefit from this record investment in school infrastructure. Mr Merlino turned the first sod to mark the start of construction on the new Morwell Park Primary School, which will include new classrooms, a library, arts and music spaces." Harriet Shing MP is the Victorian parliament's ambassador for Music Education.

The commitment from the Andrews’ Victorian government can clearly be seen.  Mr. Merlino is so committed to ensuring the roll out is completed, he has appointed Ms. Harriet Shing MP to the role of Ambassador for music education.  Ms. Shing is pictured to the back/right of the photograph.






My personal response ‘FuniculìFuniculà, FuniculìFuniculà…..’

We celebrate the commitment from the Andrews’ government, and now endeavour to make the most of what we have been given.  We can be energised to invest our time and energy into delivering excellence in education, with such wonderful support and belief in our sector.

Mr. Carl Williams and I, met with Ms. Harriet Shing MP at parliament house in June where we enthusiastically discussed the progress, the challenges and strategies to move the agenda forward.  Ms. Shing herself received a rich and extensive music education during her schooling years, having studied Cello, played in the orchestras and participated in the wide array of performances her school had to offer.  We welcome her appointment, and look forward to a long association.

Further……
Following the evidence presented around the VIT PTT draft policy, sMAG received a personal letter back from Mr. Merlino outlining how he takes our concerns very seriously.  We presented a lot of evidence, and can be assured that it will take time to work through all the matters.  We now wait for the minister’s decision.

We were also instructed to contact Jo Patterson of the VIT, should any cases of concern be brought to our attention.  We did then have a further conversation with Jo Patterson who assured sMAG that the community can report any advertisements of IMT’s as ES directly to her office.  The VIT will then engage their compliance measures, commencing an investigation process and contacting the Principal concerned.


VCAA: Specialist Mentors in Music
The VCAA have postponed the appointment of this next round of mentors.  Applicants were informed via email, and we expect news to come through some time in Term 2. Enquiries about the Specialist Teacher role can be directed to: Alan McLean  Email:        mclean.alan.w@edumail.vic.gov.au

BASTOW SEMINAR SERIES
We have not heard of any further seminars being organized at this point in time.


THE SPECIAL NEEDS REVIEW
sMAG welcomes the commitment the Victorian government is providing the Special Needs education area.  All the implementation plan points will highly develop the area and increase student outcomes.  Needless to say, sMAG made a submission to this review in 2015, led by Dr. Helen Farrell, and we are thrilled with the outcomes of the review.

The Education State – Early Childhood Framework.
The VCAA have published the final VEYLDF http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/earlyyears/vfldoutcomes/index.aspx The documents are to be read in conjunction with the first 3 levels for the Victorian Curriculum.  We welcome the inclusion of The Arts, and specifically Music in 2 of the interactive areas.  The connection to the Victorian Curriculum enables Early Years practitioners to connect with a rich Music Curriculum and develop their plans substantially.  Quote form the document:
The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) is structured around five interconnected Learning and Development Outcomes for young children.
§  Children have a strong sense of identity (identity)
§  Children are connected with and contribute to their world (community)
§  Children have a strong sense of wellbeing (wellbeing)
§  Children are confident and involved learners (learning)
§  Children are effective communicators (communication)
The Illustrative Maps are provided as examples to support a continuity of learning between the VEYLDF Learning and Development Outcomes and the first three levels of the Victorian Curriculum F-10. 

PD AROUND THE STATE

MUSICAL FUTURES CONFERENCE
The Big Gig conference was a great inspiration to many in the field.  Our own Nadine Brown led workshops on Vocals in the classroom.  Many professionals went away inspired to adopt relevant and engaging music education strategies.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Melbourne Conservatorium - today's Victorian Announcements

Today saw some exciting announcements in Victoria! Wooo hoooo!!  I'm a singing Italian opera tonight!
http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/investing-in-the-next-generation-of-creative-talent/

Quote from the Press Release: "Melbourne’s Southbank is set to become one of the world’s best training grounds for the arts, with the construction of a new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to add to the best cultural precinct in the nation.
Acting Premier James Merlino today announced the project – a partnership between the Andrews Labor Government and the University of Melbourne – which will expand and relocate the University’s elite music education and research facility from Parkville to Southbank, opening to students in 2019."

Quote from Daniel Andrews' Facebook Page: "Say you've just finished high school in Victoria, and you're an absolute gun violinist or pianist, and you have your heart set on a career travelling the world in a famous orchestra.
Well, right now the first thing you would do is move overseas, because the music conservatories in Europe are second to none.
That's all about to change.
Today, I can announce that we're going to build the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) in Southbank.
It'll be the world's best training ground for musicians of every instrument and every discipline.
And it will create 2,000 jobs."

Quote from Gary McPherson:
Thanks Catherine,

Yes, this is really great news for our Conservatorium.  It’s been a very very long time coming but the new building will really make a huge difference. I’ll attach a photo of what it will look like (it will be located immediately behind the MRC). 



We’ll still retain the Parkville (old) conservatorium building plus also the St Kilda Road music building and hope to get a fourth building at Southbank that is a dedicated practice facility for our students. The new building however, will house most of our performance program.

I have a very large ARC grant in that I should know the outcome of by the end of this year. It would help establish a hub for the teaching of instruments to rural students who don’t have access to specialist teachers. If we get the funding we’ll also be embarking on professional development courses for teachers, streaming concerts and lectures and workshops and trying as best we can to support music teachers throughout the state. We had a very successful all day session at the Melbourne Recital Centre a few months ago where our two wind symphonies performed with another 5 school ensembles. Next year, I’m hoping to expand our connections with school ensembles by booking the MRC for a few more concerts.

There’s so much to do but at least we’re making some progress on a few fronts. With a new building it will be so much easier to do more of the things we hope can support music in schools

Gary
                                                                                                               
Professor Gary McPherson 
Ormond Chair of Music and Director
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
The University of Melbourne

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Open letter to Federal Labor Cadidates


Labor Policy: Music Education

When we, the School Music Action Group (sMAG) Victoria, wrote to you around May 28th, we outlined our recommendations for improving school music education.   
Since then we have read your Education policy: http://www.laborsplanforeducation.com.au/labors_plan#better-trained-teachers and we welcome the transformational, overarching strategic plan the policy sets out to deliver on public school education throughout the nation.

We welcome your policies around:
  • ·       Full funding of the Gonski review recommendations
  • ·       Better trained teachers and better quality teaching
  • ·       Investment in leadership and Principal training and support
  • ·       Investment in disability education with a vision towards equity
  • ·       Targeted resources, and
  • ·       Accountability and transparency measures


We also read a belief and commitment from Federal Labor:

“Labor believes the benefits of musical education should be available to all Australian students. We will support more schools introducing children to the arts through the joy of music.

A Shorten Labor Government will provide $2 million a year to expand successful school music programs such as Music: Count Us In, Musica Viva in Schools and the Song Room. We will also invest $350,000 a year to continue the SongMakers program beyond 2017.”

We welcome the Shorten Labor Party aspiration!  Great news that the ‘joy of music’ will be afforded to ‘all Australian students’. 

PUBLIC SERVICE TEACHERS
To achieve this, we would respectfully implore that a Labor commitment is met with the same measure as the proposed investment in public service to STEM subjects.  Investment in strategic oversight, a mandatory P - 8 sequential, continuous and developmental program, delivered by expertly trained music teachers working as Public service, school employed teachers is the only way to deliver on this vision. Schools must be mandated to provide a protected 50 - 60 minute session for the vision to become reality.

While we appreciate an injection into the Private Music Education business providers, it is only through full time teacher employment in a school, that real transformational change can occur.  In this way, the teacher as central becomes the foundation upon which Incursion providers may extend student engagement.  Tertiary level training must be comprehensive and fully funded.

While we appreciate the ability for Private Music Education business providers to reach remote locations of Australia, for those services to be successful, broadband internet must be bolstered. We reiterate, that the best way to gain meaningful, generational change in Music Education delivery is to provide vibrant, engaging, and expertly trained specialist teachers, employed as public servants.  

We must put a stop to the inequity in Australia. Music has many benefits for all learners and communities. Training teachers is the most effective and efficient method.  Providing tertiary level music specialisation is imperative, with adequate time allocations.  Currently, tertiary institutions only allow minimal time allocations to undergrad teachers in The Arts.  Tertiary music education needs an investment in time allocation, delivered as a stand-alone subject.

Teacher registration bodies must also begin to implement the recommendations of the NRSME (2005) and the Victorian Inquiry (2013).  We must push back on a tertiary system that lumps the arts together.  Teachers must develop deep pedagogical and content knowledge in music, as it is such a specialist area.  We have examples of undergraduate students, who due to the inequitable access to effective sequential and developmental music learning, have little to no knowledge of the fundamental elements of music. 
Music education builds learning power (Claxton, 2007) and cultivates more than the ability to regurgitate facts and figures, it develops thinking, resilience, persistence, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity (Claxton 2013). We need music education to be adequately funded as a stand alone subject from P – 8, and at tertiary level, for these outcomes as well as for the joy of making music.
Our many followers, readers, colleagues, patrons, ambassadors and affiliates would be pleased to hear any clarification around your Music Education policy.   We attach our previous letter, and repeat here:

ACTIONS FORWARD FOR ANY CANDIDATE
sMAG would offer its support to the a future Shorten government should it commit to implementing the various report recommendations if elected to office later this year.
Reform of music education in all Australian schools will ensure the best possible educational outcomes for Victorian state school students and we ask you to assist by:
  • ·       Advocating for the adoption of the various review recommendations in your party room
  • ·       Ensuring through parliamentary process that the Shorten government implements the NRSME, and TEMAG recommendations while it remains in office
  • ·       Supporting the inclusion of specific references to music education provision and quality in future Labor education policy
  • ·       Becoming an advocate for music education reform within parliament so that ‘top tier’ educational outcomes for Australian students are achieved
  • ·       Supporting the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Committee to assist Government and the Department in the implementation of the long term recommendations
  • ·       Researching music education reform opportunities amongst schools in your electorate so that your constituents may benefit from these initiatives and reforms
  • ·       Supporting the inclusion of music education reform in the Shorten 2016 election platform and in future education policies


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANY ELECTED GOVERNMENT
sMAG recommends that whether in government or the Senate, The Labor Party commits to;
  • ·       Universal provision of music education in Australian schools from P-8 by the start 2022 academic year - five years to allow for pre service training of music education specialists.  Public service teachers provide long term investment in schools, working in communities over decades.
  • ·       Ensuring that the Wiltshire/Donnelly recommendation that Music be delivered as a stand-alone subject is implemented into the Australian Curriculum, and that the Australian Curriculum provides a sequential, continuous and developmental pathway for all students from P – 8, delivered by an expertly trained, specialist teacher.
  • ·       Creating and promoting a national quality/best practice framework for music in schools.
  • ·       Appointing a Commonwealth Education minister who then seeks the agreement of the COAG Education Council in requiring schools and systems to report on their music education activity annually from 2017. 
  • ·       Adopting a variation on TEMAG recommendation (Rec 18) that teacher-training institutions provide students with the opportunity to specialise in a STEM subject and an arts subject – namely Music.  Effectively STEMM.  Meaning that in the medium term the teacher training institutions and teacher registration bodies are training and accrediting sufficient graduate teachers with the requisite skills in music to achieve the goal of universal provision; P – 8 Classroom music, instrumental music experts and ensemble teachers.


sMAG would be happy to provide you with any additional information or documentation you may require.  World’s best practice shows us that music should be a core component of every curriculum and should be available to every student.  We ask for your support to make this vital educational reform a reality.


REFERENCES

Robin Pascoe, et al., National Review of School Music Education: Augmenting the Diminished. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training, 2005. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/9459/1/music_review_reportFINAL.pdf

See Ian Harvey, Making the Progression: Report of the National Music Workshop, 27-28 August, 2006.  Melbourne: Australian Music Association, 2006.

Anne Lierse, et al., Victorian Music Workshop Report Southbank, 2007.

Victorian Inquiry Into The Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education 2013. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf.  

Australian Government, Review of the Australian Curriculum Final Report.  Wiltshire/Donnelly 2014 https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/review_of_the_national_curriculum_final_report.pdf

Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) provided a report “Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers Report” https://docs.education.gov.au/node/36783

Expanding Young People’s Capacity To Learn, Guy Claxton 2007.


Progression In Student Creativity In Sschool: First Steps Towards New Forms Of Formative Assessments  Guy Claxton et all 2013