Monday, December 23, 2013

Forum Video and further action

YouTube now hosts Video of the speakers and a separate audio and the slide presentation of the Forum held on Dec 5th, 2013.
Audio and slides:
The technology allows access for all in remote regional communities, and those that were tied up with concerts, exams and other work commitments.  Please join the conversation by posting comments here on the sMAG blog, emailing your responses to the listed questions to or commenting using #musicedforum .
Twitter: @sMAG_Vic

When emailing through your responses please include:
Email address:
School Connection:
Q1.  Has the review report captured the key issues facing music education in Victorian schools?  If not, what is missing?

Q2. Which of the panel's 17 recommendations are the most important to be implemented?  Why these?

Q3.  Are there any recommendations that should have been made?  If so, what?

Q4. Do you have any other general comments on the report and the future of music education?

sMAG would encourage all in the music community to write via email or hard copy to their local Victorian MPs, expressing how important this report is to local communities.  From major cities, to regional Victoria, every voice counts towards encouraging the government to adopt the recommendations outlined in the report.  The addresses of local Vic MPs can be found with a simple search on Google.  A copy to the local community papers, the local opposition MP and local school principals would also assist in garnishing further support.
To assist in this process we have outlined a simple generic example which you may choose to use if you wish:

Dear (insert name) MP,

Following the Victorian Parliamentary's Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education in Victoria, I would like to express my appreciation of the work involved, and the subsequent report and recommendations.

It is vital that the recommendations be put into place because in our local area (cite the local engagement with music, or cite the local lack of music education, or cite your personal observations).

I would strongly encourage you to advocate that the recommendations be adopted by the Victorian government to strengthen quality and equity of music education in schools. 

I believe that school music education is valuable because - (your personal belief).

I would also suggest that the government consider the following further actions: 
   Assessment and accountability processes be put into place to ensure ongoing successful delivery of high quality music programs with target dates set for benchmarks.
   (any other of your professional recommendations)
When parliament returns, please ensure that this vitally important report's recommendations be implemented for the benefit of all future generations.

Kind Regards/Yours sincerely,

Your name and position

Generous people in the music community continue to collect data and embark on research to further our cause.  Music In Communities is running this online survey. Please take one minute to take the survey found here:
In 2014, Canterbury Girls will embark on a research project to analyze the music education undertaken in primary schools with a view to establishing the best way to create a P - 10 continuum.
In 2014, Camberwell PS will look to support a school without a specialist music teacher using online tools.
Continued research within our own music education community will empower further discussions for 2014.  Please email through any research you are conducting and we will list it here.

SAVE THE DATES: Either Feb 13th or Feb 20th will be the date of our next General Meeting - more news to be forthcoming shortly.
Thanks everyone, and HNY!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Forum Quotes: Dec 5 2013

Please take one minute to take the survey found here:
On Thursday evening, a forum to respond to the findings was held at the Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne.  We first heard an introduction and welcome from both Chair of sMAG, Dr. Anne Lierse and  Professor Gary Mcpherson from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.  Jan Kronberg MP, and chair of the parliamentary committee, gave the opening address.

Professor Brian Caldwell provided a riveting speech ( Click here to read online) on the importance of Music, and it's relationship to improving outcomes in other subjects - referencing the PISA studies.  He drew much applause and affirmation.  For a pdf copy of his address, please send a request via email to: 

There was an open Q and A time, where guests could ask questions of a panel moderated by Carl Stevens: Carl Williams (Instrumental Coordinator NER) Carl Stevens ACE, Gary Mcpherson, Brian Caldwell, Robin S Stevens, Ray Yates (Principal at a Melbourne primary school) Catherine Lyons and Kevin Kelley (Executive of AMUSE).  We also acknowledge members of the sMAG committee that were unable to attend due to prior commitments: Deborah Smith and Jenni Heinrich.

Celebration: Associate Professor Robin S Stevens then gave a moving speech regarding the long and profound contribution Dr. Anne Lierse has made to music education, research and advocacy as the sMAG committee presented her with a bouquet of flowers to acknowledge her intentions to step down as the Chair of sMAG.  We all acknowledged that her tireless work over decades has assisted in moving the advocacy movement forward.  We are all indebted to Dr. Anne Lierse.

Many of us then retired to Naughton's hotel where the valuable conversations about 'where to from here' continued over a beer and a glass of wine - and of course free pizza.  conversations will continue over the coming months via the blog, Facebook and Twtiter @sMAG_Vic #musicedforum.  Email is also an option:  Please forward your own quotes aired at the forum to this email address for publication enabling continued conversation and input from all in the community.  The MCM is editing the video which will be made available in due course.

Our hope is that the rich report with full support of the music education profession, will be adopted by the Victorian parliament, and that the recommendations will be fully funded and implemented.  :-)  

Quotes: "We’re sick of the rhetoric.  We need action that matches the important impact music has on children’s lives." and  "We teach children to think in numbers and in words. Just as important is to teach them to think in sound."  and "My motivation study of 25,000 students in 8 countries shows that music learners are more motivated than non music learners across all their other school subjects."  Prof Gary Mcpherson  

Quote: 'We have the opportunity now to establish coaching and mentoring programs with the assistance of the Victorian parliament.  I myself have coached a singing tutor through the VIT processes, and he is now teaching as a classroom music specialist.  With a coaching and mentoring program linking expert teachers to undergraduates, we can build our own profession.' Catherine Lyons 

Quote from The Song Room @thesongroom 4 Dec.
Aus. continues to slip in ed'n outcomes against OECD peers. Is access to music and arts ed'n the answer? Evidence says yes. #musicedforum

Quote from forum: 'Kindergarten children (3 and 4 yo) must be included in the definition of schools if we are talking about educating the Whole Child.  There are three facets to success for children One tenacity and persistence two having some aptitude and skill and three you must start early - you can never catch up.  Test scores must never be the sole measure of a school’s success'
Raymond L Yates Primary Principal  #musicedforum

Guests challenged all to get the report in the press, and summarized for principals - this can be done online #musicedforum

Dr. Anne Lierse's opening address: 

Open Forum
The Victorian Music In Schools Inquiry:
The way forward for music education in Victoria

 Introduction from Chair
Dr. Anne Lierse 

Mrs Jan Kronberg MLC Chair of the Parliamentary Committee

Mr Colin Brooks MP Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Committee
Helen Champion from the VCAA

Professor Gary McPherson our host today

Professor Brian Caldwell from Educational Transformations and Ambassador of sMAG

Partners: Kevin Kelly from AMUSE, Carl Stevens from Australian Council of Education, and Music Matters

Principals, University leaders, teachers and members of the Music Community

I welcome you here this afternoon to this most important Forum on the future of Music Education in Victorian schools, and I thank you for your support by being here today.

I would firstly like to introduce you to my colleagues who will be presenting this Forum today, and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for their incredible support for music education, and for their most valued contribution to sMAG. 

Professor Gary McPherson: Ormond Chair and director of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Robin Stevens: Principal Fellow of the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne
Principal Ray Yates from Monbulk Primary School
Kevin Kelly: Executive Director of AMUSE
Carl Williams: Instrumental Music Coordinator DEECD
Carl Stevens: Australian College of Educators
Catherine Lyons – Head of Music at Camberwell South P.S
Ian Harvey – Music Council of Australia and Music Futures

We are here today to accept and respond to the Report from the Parliamentary Education and Training Committee’s Inquiry into the extend, benefits and potential of music education in Victorian schools presented to Parliament in Nov 2013.

Those of you who have had a chance to read this Report will, I am sure, like to join with me in expressing appreciation to the committee for their serious engagement with the issues brought to them, for their comprehensive evaluation of the issues, and for this excellent Report which historically will serve as a Report on the state of music education in schools in Victoria at this point of time.

We would also like to show appreciation to the members of the Department and Early Childhood Development. and to the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority for taking our concerns seriously enough to initiate this Parliamentary Enquiry.

Our biggest challenge is to ensure that this Report will not find its way onto a shelf in a library as others past reports have done. Indeed we have had major Reports every decade since Graham Bartle’s Report titled  ‘Music in Australian Schools’ was commissioned in 1968.  The latest is, of course, the National Review into School Music Education (2005), which many of you here today contributed to.

Why is this Report so important, and why do we believe music education should be part of the core curriculum for every child?

There is a substantial body of National and International research that supports the inclusion of music as a core subject in the curriculum, and much of this has been recognised in this Report. Arguments put forward are both intrinsic and extrinsic and we had hoped these arguments would have translated into even more powerful policy recommendations. 

Allow me to share with you just three arguments which support this premise:

1.              Firstly from Plato:
 Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.  Plato proposed a system of public education consisting of gymnastics for the discipline of the body, and music for the discipline of the mind.

2.         A quotation from a Queensland research study conducted by Bruce May
An effective music education is of intrinsic value to a person’s well-being and richness in life. A study of music enables us to experience all that is human as it inspires, turns on our senses and emotions, opens our minds, and reaches into our inner selves. Music study also enhances self-esteem, builds self-confidence and self-discipline, and encourages respect from others. It also enhances the quality of life. To participate fully in one’s culture, a child should develop the musical knowledge and skills that are inherent in a quality music education.

3.         A most contemporary philosophy is offed by our esteemed ambassador Richard Gill, who writes:

“We teach music because it is unique and good. We teach music so that our children can make their own music. We teach music because it acts in a unique way on the heart, mind, soul and spirit of the child, stimulating thought and imagination in a very special way.”

We need to ask why we continue to deprive most of our children of a Music Education and why it is sidelined in our curriculum and in many of our schools.   Music education is not a ‘frill’ but an essential element in to total development of the child. This is indeed one of the important issues that the School Music Action Group (sMAG) is grappling with, and one of the major issues of this Inquiry

Before I introduce our guest speaker, may I first take a couple of minutes to give you a brief overview of the work of the advocacy group The schools Music Action group. 

The formation of sMAG was a Victorian Response to the enormous concern for the state of music education in Victorian Schools, and the need to implement the recommendations from the National Review of School Music Education (2005) in the Victorian context.

It was formed following the Victorian Workshop in 2007 which was hosted by Principal Jeremy Ludowyke from Melbourne High School.  The Workshop  was titled ‘School Music Education for every child- Promoting a world-class music education’ 
Key speakers included Senator the Honourable Rod Kemp, The Hon Mr Phil Davis MP, and Dr.Richard Gill gave the Keynote address.

The Proceedings and the Recommendation are documented in the Victorian Workshop Report which can be accessed on the sMAG Blog.

sMAG brings together representatives of the key music education community including teachers and principals, as well as representatives from the tertiary music and education sectors, music/arts bodies and the music industry.

The purpose of sMAG is to unify the music education sector and its stakeholders.

Its Mission is to work cooperatively with the State and Federal governments to ensure that the recommendations of the National Review of School Music Education (NRSME) are adopted and implemented throughout the State of Victoria.

Our Vision is that every child in Victorian Schools participates in a quality music education that is taught by professionally trained music teachers.

What we have done

1.              Published The Music Workshop Report which contains recommendations for actions for the Government and the music sector
2.              Held two open Forums on the Australian curriculum to respond to the ACAR’s  Shape Paper and Draft of the Australian Curriculum for the Arts.
3.              Worked closely with Dick Letts from the Music Council of Australia contributing to the development of music education policy and advocacy
4.              Developed partnerships and consulted with the music community
5.              Developed advocacy statements and the collection of relevant research supporting music education in schools.
6.              Developed a strategic plan for for the effective delivery of music education in Victorian schools. initiated seven meetings with DEECD including the Minister of Education, and with staff of the VCAA
7.              Presented a Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry and attended Hearings

The program for today

As you will see in your program, we are honoured to have the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee Ms Jan Kronberg address you. This will be followed by Professor Brian Caldwell who will respond to the Report before you will have an opportunity to speak in the Open Forum.

What happens after this Forum?

We are inviting all here today to write your comments on the Follow-up sheet we have distributed.  Along with the recording we are making of the proceedings today, we will be using these to assist in the development of a response to this Parliamentary Report to be forwarded to the Education and Training Committee.

There will be a follow-up meeting  n mid February where we will;
1.              Form a new sMAG committee and appoint an executive committee
2.              Consider the draft Response to the Report
3.              Raise any salient issues
4.              Commence the development of an Action Plan for the implementation of the Report.

We welcome everyone who would be interested in attending.  Details will be posted on the sMAG Blog and Facebook.

It is now my pleasure to introduce you the chair of the Parliamentary Committee Mrs Jan Kronberg who so kindly accepted our invitation to address you at this Forum.

Jan Kronberg MLC s the Liberal member for Eastern Metropolitan Region.  She is a former marketing lecturer at Box Hill Institute, and is experienced in business management and education.

Please welcome Jan Kronberg MLC.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Venue for Dec 5th

Dear forum delegates,
The sMAG forum for tomorrow afternoon has had a change of venue – a beautiful alternative and adjacent to Melba Hall. We are most fortunate to move to a state of the art auditorium recently built in the Melbourne Brain Centre.  All other details remain the same.
Melbourne Brain Centre Auditorium
Kenneth Myer Building
30 Royal Parade (located on the ground floor)
The University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010, Australia
T +61 3 9035 6789
F +61 3 9035 3107
Dr. Dax Coffee shop is a good visual, and there will be a delegations of folks to assist with directions.
We look forward to welcoming everyone tomorrow!