Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The sMAG (School Music Action Group) Victoria welcomes the clear and explicit inclusion of Music Education requirements within the Victorian Early Years Learning Development Framework, http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/veyldframework.pdf .  We congratulate the Victorian government on the improvements that have been outlined in the Early Childhood Review and particularly the explicit requirement of inclusion of music education in 4 of the 5 key delivery areas in the VEYLD Framework for educators; Identity, Community, Wellbeing and Communication.  The inclusion of musical interaction as one of the ways in which children form a sense of identity, connect with each other and their world is welcome.  The recognition in the VEYLD Framework of singing and other modes of musical expression as part of a young child’s means to communicate effectively is also to be commended. The identification of the important role of all early childhood educators in promoting musical interactions with young children is welcomed.
The understanding that all children should have access to and enjoy interacting musically with teachers and one another in a learning community, is reflected in the pages of this document.  Further, the inclusion of music literacy as one of the ways in which children understand how symbols and pattern systems work in aural art forms (p.31) reflects current thinking about children's growth and development (Collins, 2014; Williams, Barrett, Welch, Abad, & Broughton, 2015).   It is to be hoped that this will go some way towards ensuring all educators meet the requirements of the VEYLD Framework. With adequate data collection, accountability structures and pre service training, the expected outcomes will be strengthened. 
In the reality of our increasingly globalised and pluralistic society, we also recognise the value of more inclusive policies. It is therefore heartening to note that the VEYLD Framework for educators addresses the importance of inter-cultural aspects of music-making and dance that are essential for personal and social well being. Under the Early Years Learning and Development Outcome 3. We read that one indication of children’s’ wellbeing is their response

“through movement to traditional and contemporary music, dance and storytelling of their own and other’s cultures” (p.23)

With sound accountability structures in place to ensure the VEYLD Framework is implemented in every setting, equity and access in Music Education are more likely to be addressed in the Birth – Year 2 life stage.   This document will assist Early Years Educators in applying their knowledge to the soon to be released Music Education Guide Recommendation 6 of the 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.  We believe the link between the current measures being implemented will improve music outcomes for all young children of Victoria.

We plan to have further discussions with DET in the coming weeks and believe that the goodwill evidenced throughout the 2015 processes can be continued to the benefit of all Victorian students and school communities.
Music as a key focus for The Education State white paper http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/educationstate/launch.pdf  has brought  and will continue to bring about many improvements against the Vic 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 .  The explicit inclusion of learning and assessment requirements in the VEYLD Framework again is an outworking of this welcome commitment from the Victorian Andrews' government.  We would see there now to be a clear need to implement Recommendation 1 on data collection and accountability structures, as well as, Recommendation 5 on a clear promotion plan to ensure that every educator delivers on the VEYLD Framework.  In order for all of this to be achieved, attention now needs to be drawn towards Chapter 5 of the Victorian Inquiry findings http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf where clear recommendations and evidence is presented to call for improvements within pre service teacher training in music education to effectively deliver on the new VEYLD Framework.  We would hope that today’s Victorian budget makes some allowance for these measures into the coming years.

We look forward to an ongoing conversation and consultation process as stakeholders to see ongoing improvements into the future.

Victorian 2016 Budget

Tomorrow, the Victorian Budget will be laid down. Having seen strong support for Music Education from Labor over the last 12 months we call upon the government to continue to support the implementation of all the recommendations from the Vic Inquiry 2013: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf Funding specifically towards pre service training, Instrumental Music Education and lead schools in music is essential for securing equity in this subject throughout Victoria.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

sMAG Term 1 ENews

Term 1 brought a need for the sMAG Vic committee to prioritize the needs of the Secondary Instrument Music Teacher community.  A couple of forums were organized where Marino D’Ortenzio provided advice to over 100 delegates, which was acted upon swiftly by all.  A report is contained in this ENews.

We have a new hard copy mailing address:  P.O Box 4076, Box Hill South, Vic 3128
Please continue to send soft copy to our email address:  smag.schoolmusicactiongroup@gmail.com  

As we moved through Term 1, 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 see the commencement of a promotional plan come online at the DET intranet portal, a range of PD on the Music Education Guide (AMUSE and VCAA), and the continued development of the Music Education Quality Framework (University of Melbourne).  Richard Gill’s National Music Teachers Mentoring program continues in 2016.  We heard in 2015 of the $2M commitment to PD for Music Teachers and grants for instruments.  Details in this 2016 Andrews’ government media release: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/helping-victorian-kids-to-embrace-music/

VICTORIA - The Education State – Including Music
The Andrews government’s vision and financial commitments, as led by the Hon. James Merlino MP, to The Education State within the launch paper asserts transformational change is ahead. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/educationstate/launch.pdf .  
In consultation with DET we can be assured that many initiatives for improving music education provisions as recommended by the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education are being incorporated into the overarching Education State delivery including:

  •        Accountability processes to ensure the new Education State measures are implemented (including Music)
  •        Formal analysis in an overarching, Statewide manner to measure success at strategic timely intervals (including reforms in Music).

The clear aspiration towards equity across the State is to be highly commended.  Of particular importance to the music education community is the clear commitment to The Arts and particularly Music, which is stated with such intention on page 14 of The Education State Launch document.  This is greatly welcomed!!!

Quote directly from the document:
Over the next 10 years, more Victorian students will reach the highest levels of achievement in the arts.”
Clearly the commitment to developing excellence in education comes through the document.  Please take the time to read ‘The Education State – Launch’ paper, and become familiar with the vision and aspirations.

Mr. Merlino visited Rivergum Primary School to launch the Music In Schools Program and got onto the drum kit to jam with the band: http://www.rivergumps.vic.edu.au/music-in-schools-program-launched-by-education-minister-james-merlino/

The $2 million Music in Schools program comprises:
  •        $1.6 million for professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools without strong, school-wide programs can establish quality music programs.
  •        $400,000 in grants over two stages for schools to buy instruments.
  •        $200,000 so trainee teachers at university studying to become primary teachers can complete musical education training.

VCAA: Specialist Mentors in Music
The VCAA have appointed two specialist mentors to develop the abilities of teachers across the P – 12 landscape, aligned with the vision and aspiration of The Education State.  These two expert music teachers work 0.5 in their mentoring role, and 0.5 in their schools.  The VCAA now seek to appoint a further two specialist mentor teachers in Music.  Closing date for applicants is April 22.  Details can be found here: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/correspondence/notices/2016/28.aspx  Enquiries about the Specialist Teacher role can be directed to: Alan McLean  Email:  mclean.alan.w@edumail.vic.gov.au
We look forward to hearing reports and stories as they meet with teachers and invest in Music Education.

In August 2015, Richard Gill OAM presented a music seminar at the Bastow Institute, Melbourne. Put the kettle on, and prepare for an hour of compelling oration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8iF_IuC8yc

Many key industry providers have entered into an SPP with DET to deliver on Music Education.  One example is the Musicessentails program with Musica Viva.
Description: Musicassentials provides stage-specific music and cross-curricular exercises that contain up to a term’s work of music and extension activities for students. Modules are downloadable across multiple platforms including computers/tablets and are relevant to the flexible and accessible education models of the 21st Century, Victorian Curriculum requirements and the priorities of the National Curriculum. The program provides a flexible approach to student learning and can be used individually to encourage self-directed learning, in a formalised setting with teachers, or in a semi-facilitated capacity with parents.

All of the above are funded either fully or in partnership with the Victorian government as clear strategy to improve music education delivery in this State.  We welcome and support these measures, and look forward to further developments as we approach the May budget.


We believe that the Bracks School Funding Review will cover the Secondary Instrumental Music Program (SIMP).  sMAG submitted to this review in 2015.  We see that the review was publicly released on April 3, 2016.  We look forward to reading the long document and responding in due course.  http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/fundingreview.aspx

VIT Permission To Teach Review
After consultation with Marino D’Ortenzio from the AEU, many hundreds of IMTs wrote to both the VIT and the Hon. James Merlino MP with their views on the VIT PTT and the impact on workplace status and conditions.  The VIT responded by meeting with key stakeholders including Meredith Peace of the AEU, listening to the key concerns from around the State.  The Hon. Mr. James Merlino also met with the AEU representatives.  sMAG received notification that the VIT will further review the PTT policy, and then submit to the  Education Minister for his consideration.  We deeply appreciate all the letters and work involved by all those contributors and we hope that a positive result will be forthcoming.  However, we wait cautiously as the IMT community will need to engage in further action and conversation if the reviewed policy doesn’t support the profession. We would impress upon the VIT to regulate the IMT profession and specifically define an IMT role as ‘teacher’ according to the Legislative Act of 2006.

sMAG submitted to this review in 2015.  There is a long and detailed list of recommendations and then a government response at the website.  We are yet to analyse and respond to the VET funding review.  Our time has been invested in the VIT PTT discourse.

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.
sMAG submitted a substantial paper to this consultation process.  I extend thanks to the sMAG teacher training committee members, with specific expertise in the Birth to Age 7 area.  A Framework for improvement in the Early Years sector has been published: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/providers/edcare/Pages/veyladf.aspx?Redirect=1
sMAG welcomes the new Framework and commend the government and professionals involved in delivering this key aspect of improvement in the sector.


Living Music & Dance is aimed at reviving, inspiring, encouraging and challenging music teachers of children aged 5-14 years.
Christoph Maubach, our featured presenter, has been known and loved around the world for his gentle approach, wonderful repertoire and beautiful musical outcomes. He’s travelling from New Zealand to lead us in sessions that use the Orff Approach to focus on the Voice and “Playful Classroom Music Arrangements for Movement and Dance”.


RICHARD GILL’s FREE PD/FORUM: Email -kobyrne@musicaviva.com.au

A range of PD events focusing on the new Victorian Curriculum and the Music Education Guide amongst others.

In other news……

Publications in media have reported the high uptake of Musical studies in later years.  The University of Melbourne is showing an increase in student numbers: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/victoria/music-hits-a-high-note-among-school-leavers-20160115-gm6xr2.html

AITSL stakeholder survey  Insights from the profession

Please take the time to look at the survey and submit your thoughts particularly around specialist areas and Music:

sMAG IS ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sMAGVic?fref=ts   Yet another way to network, and share your ideas and new finds in the music education area!

sMAG is a non partisan committee, consisting of volunteers from all sectors of the music community, and we welcome your input. Anyone is welcome to email us at any point and make a contribution: smag.schoolmusicactiongroup@gmail.com.

Please share our news with your friends, and post your ideas to our Facebook page – we love hearing from the whole community.