Saturday, July 19, 2014

sMAG July ENews

As we move into the mid year, we are pleased to provide our supporters and music community with a progress report.

Our committee has developed a working party model whereby expertise can be directed towards the key aspects of the inquiry report and recommendations.  The report can feasibly be divided into three chapters, and as such we have divided that way; Strategy WP, Teacher Training WP and Instrumental Teaching WP.  In this way, the workload has been divided, and provided opportunities for committee members to speak across the field in their area of expertise.  Each members' contribution is highly valued!

The Co-Chairs and Strategy WP members were able to meet at 1 St. Andrew's Place on July 8th, to discuss any planned response to the 17 recommendations.  We were all very pleased with the discussions and initial thinking outlined, and we believe that the pathway towards improvement against those recommendations is well on the way.  While it is early days in the process of implementing the Inquiry recommendations, DEECD have begun the task. Our discussions moved in a very positive way and we brought forward various ideas, hopes and strategies that we have all discussed in our sMAG meetings. We are informed that the improvement plan will include a response to ALL 17 recommendations and ALL education sectors: Pubic, Catholic and Independent schools.  sMAG will continue the conversation with the DEECD with a view to assisting with an improvement plan roll out.  
The collective efforts of all in the music community over many long years is truly appreciated and celebrated as we report these positive outcomes.  As we celebrate, we especially acknowledge the work of Dr. Anne Lierse and colleagues, pressing forward in the work since the NRSME. The whole music education community can be energized to carry this positive news forward, be ready to contribute in a positive way, and be encouraged in their daily work in education.  

As you will be well aware, The Victorian Government response to the Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education has been published:
sMAG will work with both parties in apolitical ways,  to focus on music education for Victorian children.  Ian and Catherine have written to the Premier thanking him for his personal attention to the inquiry and affirming our willingness as stakeholders to work with government in an implementation process.

We have had an initial conversation with Labor.  More will be required but is seems that Labor will want to have their own response to the Inquiry rather than just run with what the Government has accepted.  This is no surprise and the work we will need to do with Labor is to build what they would call ‘Labor values’ into their music ed plan. 

The Federal Government called for submissions to the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG). sMAG made a substantive submission specifically on Music Specialist teacher training.  Robin S. Stevens led the Teacher Training WP on this submission.  Our submission highlighted the restriction that the current AITSL guidelines put on the undergraduate degrees while amalgamating 5 subjects under the one banner ‘The Arts’.  The sheer lack of time allocated to undergraduate music training as a main point.   We put forward a case that tertiary education training in music needs to be develop key skills, cover a broad, deep history and cover specific pedagogical methods tested over time in this field.  We offered various possible solutions, and bridging options with a highlight on the best outcome being specialist music teacher graduates, able to deliver a P – 8 curriculum in a full time capacity. When ready, all public submissions will be available to read here:

Members of the Instrumental Training WP were able to open discussions with AEU representatives with regard to the VIT regulations and their impact on the instrumental community.  We hope to continue the conversation in the future.  Investigation and discussions on recommended implementation strategies have been diverse.   sMAG hopes to garnish views from the wider instrumental community in due course.

The Music Trust has announced an award for Research into the Benefits of Music Education Closing date for nominations is July 31, 2014.  The Award will be decided by a panel of judges chaired by The Music Trust nominee, and our sMAG committee member, Assoc. Prof. Robin Stevens. Judges will be provided through a collaboration with the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education and the Australian Music and Psychology Society.

On the release of the report, sMAG joined forces with The Music Trust to connect with the media, without replicating resources.  We were pleased with the outcomes!

The Australian newspaper has published an article on the push for more Music Education:  sMAG and The Music Trust/The Full Deal are mentioned, along with the Victorian government inquiry.  Please pick up a hard copy, or check your online subscriptions. 

Radio National: The director of The Music Trust - Richard Letts, was on Radio National on May 24th.  The interview was repeated on Sat May 24th at 10 pm, or you can listen to playback online:

Community radio 2CR also recorded an interview with a few primary school principals with a vibrant music program. The prerecording was broadcast across rural stations located in Victoria and NSW.

Further, we are pleased to inform you of the support received from Victorian Parents Council.  They have circulated The Full Deal petition to all of their email contacts.  Various members of the music community have also provided such strong support in this area right across Victoria – THANK YOU!!!

Dr. Barry Jones has confirmed his relationship with sMAG, and remains our key Patron.  He has been awarded with a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours list!  We welcome the news and congratulate our patron on this prestigious award, following his years of service to the community in science, humanities, politics and public health organizations.
Read the ABC story here:

We are pleased to announce a continued association with Prof. Brian Caldwell, and Jonathon Welch AM.  We have written to Richard Gill and Senator Rodney Kemp in the hope that they too will continue their vibrant association.

          Dr. Jonathon Welch AM

             Prof. Brian Caldwell

Bob Spencer – Guitarist from The Angels - has come on board as an ambassador, and we look forward to working with him into the future. 

Further, we have written to Tina Arena, Keith Urban, David Hobson and Guy Sebastian in the hope that they too will join this auspicious team of supporters.  These familiar names are very popular with today’s generation of parents, and we hope to connect


Getting involved in the Music Count Us In project enables schools to promote music education in their local community, and connect with the local media.  In previous years, schools from around victoria have reported that parents, teachers and principals have been moved to provide greater support for music departments.  Local radio stations, and newspapers have always been keen to connect with the staging of the events as it hooks into the national media campaign.  It is really worthwhile participating as the knock on benefits can be substantial.
The 2014 song is ready for distribution and practice for the simultaneous performance - Oct 30 at 12.30 pm! Get involved and promote music education in your local community.

Please continue to bring this to the attention of colleagues and friends. Survey Monkey Petition:

Principals have tremendous power to employ a specialist music teacher should their circumstances allow it, and the parent community encourage it.  The Music Trust has listed an example of how to write to the Principal to this end, which parents may wish to use and adjust to the specific circumstances of your local school.  Have a look here and see if this is something your community can employ:

Share this YOUTUBE video around:  A Ted Ex talk clearly demonstrating the neurological effects of music making.
Please pass these connections to colleagues that use these platforms – particularly graduate teachers!
·       Audio and slides:
Twitter: @sMAG_Vic 

Thank you for your continued support.  We hope to make significant progress over the next 12 months and believe that implementation of the inquiry recommendations will see significant improvements in the field over the next 3 – 5 years.  

Please forward the July ENews to colleagues you believe would be interested in supporting sMAG. 

 “A rising tide will lift all boats!”  John F. Kennedy

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