Saturday, August 25, 2012

Time to Respond - ACARA draft paper

Very positive news!  Due to the high volume of interest in the ACARA draft paper – The Arts – there has been an extension of time to use the online survey to respond.

ACARA is conducting consultation on the draft Australian Curriculum: The Arts Foundation to Year 10. The consultation closed on Sunday 23 September 2012. In response to requests from stakeholders the survey has been reopened untilmidnight (AEST) Tuesday 25 September. ACARA welcomes and encourages your feedback on the draft curriculum materials via the consultation portal.

We have a short window to respond to the draft paper for MUSIC: September 23rd deadline.  All voices need to put their thoughts in writing as this is a numbers game.  The more people that respond, the more chance we have of positively influencing the curriculum writers.  We are being taken seriously, and our efforts worthwhile.  It is a case of 'Horton Hears a Who', so please take the 5 minutes necessary to send Peter Garrett or another of your choice an email.  To reduce your time to 5 minutes, you can use the thoughts here, or simply copy paste the URL for sMAG siting an affirmation of the position.   Otherwise please read the MCA post regarding the National Curriculum for the ARTS and assert your position, or the position of the music community that you represent as a leader.  
Please write to your local members, and Federal members. To write directly to Peter Garrett 
Collectively, there is a serious concern regarding the lack of achievement standards and benchmarks in music. 
Please encourage all members of your music community to respond: parents, teachers, tutors, students and professional musicians - anyone with a concern with the artistic literacy of our nation.
Please post a comment on the blog to let us know if you get any responses.

Deborah Smith has put together this document that you may choose to draw inspiration from when writing your letters, after reading the documents on the MCA link.

The stated aims of the National Curriculum for Music (the four dot points on page 91 of the Draft Australian Curriculum: The Arts) are an excellent summary of the goals of our profession.
In The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts document, published in August 2011, the intention of exactly what this curriculum document was to provide is very clear:
                       page 3, point 5: students will develop specific knowledge, skills and processes;
                       page 4, point 11: Learning in the artsare sequential and cumulative. The new content, skills and processes specified in each band will be revisited in increasing complexity and sophistication in later bands;
                       page 5, point 14: Each subject in the Arts is unique, with its own discrete knowledge, symbols, language, processes and skills;
                       page 5, point 16: “…each subject in the Arts will have specific terminology, concepts and processes that serve as subject organisers;
                       page 5, point 17: Students will learn to use art form specific concepts, skills and processes;
                       page 5, point 18: Through disciplined practice, students will learn to …”;
                      page 14, point 47: In music, students will use the concepts and materials of music to compose, improvise, arrange, perform, conduct and respond to their own and others work. They will learn the elements of music including duration (rhythm and tempo), dynamics, form, pitch (melody and harmony), and timbre (sound texture and quality). .They will learn forms of notation to record and communicate music and musical ideas..Students will research traditions and contexts of music and music practices, and develop the skills and techniques to critique their own and others music practices;
                       pages 14 & 15, point 50: Years 56  Students musical practices will be underpinned by a developing use of music notation, aural skills and music terminology;
                       page 15, point 52: Years 9-10 Students will develop a deepened understanding and use of music concepts and languages, practices, technologies and techniques.. As audience members, students will respond to music, demonstrating a command of the language and concepts of music;
                       page 25, point 92: Teachers in schools are the key to providing students with rich, sustained, rigorous learning in each subject  in the Arts;
It is my belief that none of these expectations expressed in The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts document have been achieved in the current Draft Australian Curriculum: The Arts document.
Areas of concern:
In order to comply with The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts document, and to offer every Australian school student the quality music education to which they are all entitled, the following areas of concern need to be fully addressed.
As it stands, the current Draft Australian Curriculum: The Arts - Music
                       does not embody genuine sequential learning;
                       does not recognise
                       cognitive skills,
                       developmental process,
                       logical learning sequences
all of which underpin all good music programs;
                       does not have minimal guidelines (or indeed any guidelines);
                       is not a progressive course which has stages that can be assessed along the way;
                       has no core music language content;
                       has no actual elements of music and no explanations of these elements or suggested sequential approaches to the teaching of these elements;
                       has no age appropriate musical vocabulary, content, skills or language references;
                       has no evidence of specific course content, such as music specific knowledge, skills and processes, for specialist music teachers to deliver a quality inspirational program and generalist teachers would only be confused by what is included;
                       teachers require content & structure;
                       the glossary has these terms the curriculum doesnt
                       does not provide detail for a teacher
                       has no reference to music notation (functional musical literacy)
                       Musical notation is a core skill for all music students.
                       Denial of a thorough grounding in musical notation is directly equivalent to denying students the right to functional literacy in their language subjects;
                       does not recognise the importance of singing the physical embodiment of the musical language
                       has no sequence for introducing pitch and rhythm
                       The perception and cognition of pitch and rhythmic patterns is fundamental to our understanding of music, a fact noted by a many authorities on music.
                       has no reference made to Western traditional music and yet this is the foundation of quality classroom programs;
                       does not provide a foundation for potential vocational involvement leading to the sustainability of music as a vocation in Australia;
                       gives no guidelines to secondary teachers as to what primary schools are teaching and therefore what the new Year 7 students should know.
The Australian Curriculum: The Arts Music must have clear guidelines of what should be taught and at which year level.
These guidelines should be
                      singing based (available to ALL);
                      inspirational - for specialist music teachers to deliver a quality inspirational program
                      clear, concise and explanatory for generalist teachers

These guidelines should include specific course content such as
                       the elements of the language of music to be taught;
                      explanations of these elements;
                       suggested sequential approaches to the teaching of these elements. At the very least, a sequence of notated pitch and rhythm concepts should be provided which would serve as a minimum standard for student attainment;
                      music notation (functional musical literacy) must be required at all levels;
                       age appropriate musical vocabulary;
                       other musical content to be included;
                      music specific knowledge, skills and processes,
                       reference made to Western traditional music and yet this is the foundation of quality classroom programs.