The musical education of Australian students depends on the state in which they live

Numerous studies have shown the academic and social benefits of music education, but in Australia access to quality music education depends on the state you live in.

This contrasts with Wales and England which recently announced their national plans for music education. As the government develops a new cultural policy, here’s how music education differs across the country.

A 2005 federally funded national review of school music education found that many Australian students had no music education, with massive disparities between states. The exam received nearly 6,000 submissions from the public and instituted a standardized Australian curriculum for music which sets out learning objectives and expected outcomes, but not the minimum number of guaranteed music education hours.

15 years later, a 2020 report by Dr Anita Collins, Dr Rachael Dwyer and Mr Aden Date for the Tony Foundation found similar issues to the 2005 review, even with Australia’s music curriculum in place.

A campaign is underway in Queensland to preserve their music programs, which are considered among the strongest in Australia by music teachers. The campaign aims to ensure that every pupil continues to have a weekly music lesson in Queensland state-funded primary schools.

In other states, South Australia created a Music Education Strategy and Music Innovation Fund in 2019. Victoria developed a Quality Music Education Framework to guide best practice. Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT have specialist music teachers in some public primary schools. In New South Wales, general state school teachers are responsible for teaching the entire curriculum, including music.

This state-to-state variation in Australia contrasts sharply with the national music education plans led by the governments of England and Wales.

The UK government has pledged to increase funding which ensures schools can provide at least one hour of music programming per week. New funding of £25 million ($43,950 million) will be made available to help schools purchase musical instruments and equipment, including adapted instruments for pupils with disabilities and learning needs specials. An additional £79m ($139m) has also been earmarked to set up an out-of-school music hubs scheme until 2025.

The funding scheme is part of England’s new national plan for music education, ‘The Power of Music to Change Lives’, which emphasizes accessibility and inclusion for students, no matter who they are. are or where they live.

The plan’s resources include “Classroom 200”, a free online resource for teachers working with students up to age 14, accessible worldwide. The resource includes 200 recordings of music in a range of styles, from Berlioz to Bob Marley, and Rutter to Rag’n’Bone Man, each with its own lesson plan.

Earlier in May, the Welsh Government announced a triple increase in funding for music education. The plan promises all children in Wales access to a musical instrument and school fees.

From September 2022 secondary school pupils in Wales will be able to gain experience in the industry through the ‘Making Music with Others’ initiative, where they will have the opportunity to work alongside musicians in the creative industries.

Meanwhile, primary school students will benefit from a minimum of half-term introductory musical instrument sessions, under a program called “First Experiences”.

Dr Collins and Dr Dwyer are calling for “urgent action” to close the skills gap in delivering quality music education to Australian students. Dr. Collins has long been an advocate for the lasting benefits of music education.

“Music education improves working memory, phonemic awareness, development of complex spatial skills, development of impulse control, auditory development that protects our brain from aging, as well as reading and comprehension skills. the list could go on and on,” she wrote for ABC Education.

Access to Australian music education, like health, housing and other services, still varies between states and territories. The 2005 federally funded report on music education and the 2020 report by Dr Anita Collins, Dr Rachael Dwyer and Mr Aden Date highlight several issues, namely lack of space in the curriculum, the need for access to musical instruments and specialist educators for Australian students. receive an adequate musical education. Submissions are open until August 22 under the Labor Government’s new arts policy-making process.

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