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«National Review of School Music Education Augmenting the diminished Robin Pascoe Sam Leong Judith MacCallum Elizabeth Mackinlay Kathryn Marsh Bob ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --


Review of

School Music


Augmenting the


Robin Pascoe

Sam Leong

Judith MacCallum

Elizabeth Mackinlay

Kathryn Marsh

Bob Smith

Terry Church

Anne Winterton

© Australian Government 2005

ISBN: 0 642 77571 0

ISBN: 0 642 77570 2 (Internet version)

This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered

form (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use and use with your organisation. All

other rights are reserved. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600 or posted at http://www.ag.gov.au/cca The Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training funded this project under the Quality Outcomes Programme. The Centre for Learning, Change and Development at Murdoch University carried out the Review on behalf of the Australian Government.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training.

Every effort has been made to represent information accurately throughout the report. The Review Team apologises for any errors or omissions.

Foreword Office of the Vice Chancellor Professor Margaret Seares Deputy Vice Chancellor The University of Western Australia The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, MP Minister for Education, Science and Training Parliament House Canberra, ACT This Review has made the case for the importance of music in Australian schools. It has shown the importance and significance of music in the education of all young Australians and therefore asserts its inalienable place in all Australian schools.

The considerable support for music evident in the number and quality of submissions received by this Review, taken alongside the other evidence collected, makes a powerful argument for valuing and implementing music in schools. Sadly though, while the submissions and surveys revealed some fine examples of school music programmes, they also reveal cycles of neglect and inequity which impacts to the detriment of too many young Australians, particularly those in geographically and socially disadvantaged areas. The research has revealed patchiness in opportunities for participation in music, significant variability in the quality of teaching and teacher education, a need for much greater support for music teachers, and unintended detrimental impacts on music education arising from changes in the place of music within the overall curriculum. Overall, the quality and status of music in schools is patchy at best, and reform is demonstrably needed, with strong support from your Government.

Raising the quality and status of music education will have a positive impact on the breadth and depth of aesthetic, cognitive, social and experiential learning for all Australian students and, ultimately, for our society at large.

I look forward to substantial reform being the positive outcome of the Review. This will require collaborative action and an important leadership role for the Australian Government.

The following key messages highlight immediate need for priority action.

Yours sincerely, (Professor) Margaret Seares AO Chair, Steering Committee

–  –  –

Raising the status of music education will have a positive impact on the Raising the quality of music in schools.

status of music in schools will improve the quality of music in schools

–  –  –

This Review reports on how effectively Australian schools are providing music education. The key

areas for the Review are:

• The current quality and status of music education in Australian schools;

• Examples of effective or best practice in both Australia and overseas; and

• Key recommendations, priorities and principles arising from the first two aspects.

The Review was funded under the Australian Government Quality Outcomes Programme and was prompted by a widespread recognition that music is an important part of every child’s education and a general perception that Australian school music education is approaching a state of crisis.

In March 2004, the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson MP, Minister for Education, Science and Training, and Senator the Hon Rod Kemp, Minister for the Arts and Sport, announced the Review to investigate the quality and status of music education in Australian schools. Its findings and recommendations are of interest to a range of stakeholders in music, music education, arts education and education generally.

Part 1: Introduction and scope of the Review

For the purpose of the Review:

School music is the totality of music learning and teaching experiences and opportunities available in schools K–12.

The Review used a multi-method research strategy.

There are six sections to the Report of the Review. Part 1 is an Introduction. Part 2 provides an informed context for the Review through a review of national and international literature. Part 3 is a snapshot of school music education in contemporary Australia leading to Part 4 that outlines the Guidelines for Effective Music Education developed by the Review. Part 5 identifies and discusses issues, challenges and opportunities and generates strategic directions and recommended actions. Part 6 concludes the body of the Report looking forward to enhanced music education in schools. There is also an extensive collection of Appendices with detailed information relevant to the Review.

Part 2: Contexts for the Review The survey of international and local research literature on music education was a key research strategy. The Literature Review highlighted a number of common themes that impact on the status and quality of school music. These are picked up through the other research strategies of the Review and directly influence the strategic directions and recommended actions outlined in Part 5.

They include:

• The context of the Arts as a learning area;

• The value of universal music education and community expectations and commitment to it;

–  –  –

Part 3: A snapshot of music education in Australia Part 3 outlines a snapshot of current music education in Australia as shown by a range of perspectives.

3.1 Mapping State and Territory Music Curriculum

3.2 Provision of support services for music education

3.3 Summaries of student participation and achievement data in music

3.4 Trends from submissions to the Review

3.5 Survey of schools

3.6 Findings from site visits

3.7 Student and Parent perspectives on music in schools

3.8 Teacher Education This snapshot of music in Australian schools is designed to give a context for answering fundamental questions of this Review: what constitutes quality music education? And, what is the current quality and status of music education?

The Mapping of State and Territory Music Curriculum documents showed that the music education curriculum policies, syllabi and associated support documents for each State and Territory vary greatly in number, relevance, level of detail, usefulness and currency. This mapping

identified the following points:

• There are different understandings about how music curriculum should be described that impacts on the focus of music in schools;

• There are differences between the music curricula of States and Territories and a need for a cohesive approach to music curriculum to be developed;

• There are gaps in Australian music curriculum documents in some States and Territories, notably in support materials for beginning primary generalist teachers; instrumental and vocal music (including teaching singing); conducting; music technology; music for gifted and talented students; music for Indigenous students, and about Indigenous music;

appropriate music pedagogy for different groups, e.g. boys, students with special needs;

creativity, improvisation and composition.

• Policy framework curriculum documents focusing on the Arts Learning Area are seen as downplaying the status and identity of music in schools;


• There is a need for clear syllabus style curriculum documents in music;

• The role of music organisations in developing curriculum materials to support music in schools is vitally important and should be supported and extended;

• Access to curriculum documents is not always easy particularly with electronic publishing;

there is a need for curriculum documents to be published in print and electronic form;

• There is scope for sharing materials across Australia and the development of collaborative curriculum projects;

• There is a need to address creativity in music in Australian music curricula;

• There is a need for Australian music curricula to address issues of diversity, inclusive repertoire, recognition of home and community cultures.

In reporting on services to support music education in schools, the Review found that successive re-structuring within education systems has led to a reduction in music-dedicated services located either centrally or in districts/regions. With one or two exceptions, relatively little work has been done to provide Internet, mentoring and networking services to support music in schools.

Support for instrumental and vocal music is provided centrally for government schools in four of the States and Territories: Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

These services include low cost instrument hire schemes and music libraries. In the other States and in the independent schools sector, instrumental and vocal tuition is most often provided at an individual school level and on a user pays basis. This again highlights that those who play music are those who can pay for music.

The Review also found that State and Territory Departments of Education have a range of partnerships with music organisations such as Musica Viva In Schools and the Symphony Orchestras who, de facto, become important collaborative providers of music services to schools. These services are most often provided on a user-pays basis and may not be universally available.

Changing contexts for education including competing curriculum priorities and the changing nature of contemporary schools, have contributed to the current situation.

The costs of providing these services are also cited as reasons for inequitable access to music programmes particularly instrumental and vocal programmes. Associated with these costs are shortages of suitably qualified instrumental and vocal teachers aligned with contemporary curriculum.

The Report also discusses alternative models of providing music services to schools.

In summarising participation and achievement data on music education, the Report commented on the difficulty of providing a complete and accurate portrait of how many students participate in music in Australian schools and summarising their progress and achievement in music. Within the limits of the information available, the Review commented on the relative lack of growth in numbers of students completing Year 12 music and the poor retention rates for music across the secondary years of schooling.

This section of the Report also commented on the limited public accountability for music education in schools. National Annual Reports on Schooling have not reported on music since 1998 and music does not appear in Key Performance Measures. With one exception, States and Territories do not have accountability mechanisms for music in schools.

The submissions to the Review came from 5936 individuals and groups, representing a wide spectrum of those interested in school music education from around Australia. A common element in all submissions is the belief in the value of school music for all students. Respondents’ descriptions of the provision of music education from personal experience in and across settings, demonstrate the stark variation in the quality and status of music education in this country. Similar factors were identified as contributing to or hindering the provision of a quality music programme.

These include: local and broad community support for the value of music education; teacher issues such as commitment and enthusiasm, quality of teacher education and opportunities for professional development; adequate resourcing of music education; and the importance of a sequential and balanced curriculum. Most respondents believed that the status of music underpinned these factors.

FINAL REPORT xi The National Survey of Schools had two components: a stratified sample of 525 schools (‘Sample Schools’); and an additional sample of 147 schools nominated through the submission process as ‘effective music’ (‘Music Schools’) were also surveyed to enable comparisons. With a response rate of only 47.6% the findings need to be treated with caution.

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