First Music Primary School to Open Under Richard Gill’s Vision

Richard Gill Photo by Nick Gilbert. Image Credit: Canberra Symphony Orchestra
Graham Strahle
| September 26, 2018

A pioneering music-based primary school, to be founded on the philosophy and vision of renowned music educationist and conductor Richard Gill, will open its doors in 2020 at Muswellbrook in NSW’s Upper Hunter Region.

The Muswellbrook Richard Gill National Music Academy will run as an independent K-6 school under the joint aegis of the Muswellbrook Shire Council and the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music, and music and physical education will form core parts of its curriculum.

“This is one of the few schools in Australia that from K-6 will have music as a central element in daily education so that every kid will start the day with music and with physical activity. Other schools don’t do that,” said arts and media executive Kim Williams, who chairs the school’s board.

“I think it is something that will be held up across Australia as really being an exemplar of a new-fashioned approach to education,” continued Williams.

As an independent institution, the Muswellbrook Richard Gill National Music Academy will exist outside the state-run school system. Initially, it will take children in the K-3 years from the local community, but as it grows it will cater for all primary years and is anticipated to extend into the secondary level as well.

The Muswellbrook Shire Council is handing over its administration centre for the school’s location, it announced.

Gill, who is in the late stages of cancer, could not attend the launch but told local media: “I believe a structured program of primary school music education based on singing, moving and creating, has benefits for all areas of children’s learning and I believe every child should have access to quality music education, delivered by trained and educated music teachers in a school that will also offer the highest quality demonstration and practicum experiences for trainee music teachers.”

“It is clear that Muswellbrook Shire Council is making significant investments in educational facilities, partnered with universities on multiple projects.”

“This school will complement and strengthen these initiatives that include the infrastructure at the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music and council’s development of a 500-seat performance centre.”

The Conservatorium’s director, Wendy Brooks, has also been key in helping guide the project towards fruition.

Williams spoke further about the school on ABC Radio, saying its guiding philosophy “will make it a unique school in the Australian landscape, because the students will every day of their school career have music and physical activity as core to their curriculum and as core agents of stimulating free minds”.

Read more about this fabulous initiative in a two-part article that Gill will be writing in the October and November editions of Limelight Magazine.

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