Improving school music education: we all have a part to play

Temmerman, Nita (2006) Improving school music education: we all have a part to play. Professional Educator, 5 (1). pp. 34-39. ISSN 1447-3607


Abstract: The Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training's National Review of School Music Education, released in November 2005, proposed better pre-service teacher education for primary school generalist teachers. The author believes it is a good start, but further action is needed. While the quality of music education in Australian schools is inescapably connected to the education of teachers, the author suggests some further proposals for action, all of which rely on support from governments, the school and university education sectors, and arts community and industry groups. The aim? To build activities that bring them all together in meaningful and productive ways to enhance the effectiveness and quality of what goes on in school music education in Australia. The quality of music education in Australian schools is inescapably connected to the education of teachers accountable for teaching school music. Enduring transformation in the quality of school music education practice, therefore, is dependent on changes being made to and improved support being made available for university pre-service teacher preparation programs. The quality of music education in Australian schools is also directly correlated to the quality of teacher education preparation. Those responsible for teaching music in primary schools in Australia are, in the main, generalist classroom teachers who report that music education at the primary level is in such an unsatisfactory state or is not taught at all because of their own lack of confidence and competence to teach it, and attribute their lack of competence principally to the type and amount of music education received during undergraduate training. There is an increasing demand by employers and the community generally for knowledgeable, creative, innovative, responsible citizens. Music and the arts, then, should be given high priority in students' learning at all levels of education because they provide comprehensive learning experiences that contribute to the development of these attributes in ways not available in other subjects. 'New Learning: A Charter for Australian Education' (Australian Council for Deans of Education, 2001) presented eight propositions to shape the future environment of learning in Australian schools. Two have particular relevance for those involved in the provision of quality school music education, namely: new learning will be life-long and life-wide, and new learning will be general and increasingly interdisciplinary in its focus. A wealth and range of resources exist in most communities that could potentially serve as resources in the teaching of classroom music. Victoria alone boasts 35 performing arts centres and 80 community-based arts groups affiliated with Regional Arts Victoria (RAV). What appears to be most lacking is an organisational structure or mechanism to bring together in a meaningful way the abundance of expertise, skills and good music practice that exists in the various sectors at the individual artist, arts organisation, and school and university levels. Effective links and interactions between these would enhance the quality of music teaching and learning. Students would benefit because their own musical experience, including performance opportunities, would be enriched and broadened by working with musicians and composers; teachers would benefit in that their skills would be complemented by those of practising musicians; a mutual sharing of expertise would provide valuable professional development opportunities; and musicians would benefit as the occasion to work in schools could provide them with opportunities to trial and receive critical evaluation about their musical ideas and engage with future arts audiences and arts practitioners. [Author abstract, ed]

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: art education; music activities; music education; music teachers; musicians; preservice teacher education; primary school teachers; professional development; recurrent education; school community relationship; teacher competencies; teacher education curriculum

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