The Victorian Government has put $380,000 towards a music teacher mentoring program that provides generalist classroom teachers with the skills and confidence to teach music classes. Called DUET: In-school Teacher Music Mentoring, it is run by The Song Room and has been rolling out this year in that State’s government primary and secondary schools.
Catering for Prep up to Year 12 level, it works by lining up teachers with a Song Room Teaching Artist and offering in-class mentoring, digital music education resources and professional learning workshops.
The program “will help teachers to build their confidence and introduce more music learning into the classroom,” says The Song Room’s website. “It offers an outstanding opportunity for schools who do not currently run a music education program to take the first steps towards initiating one.”
The Song Room is a not-for-profit organisation that delivers a range of music and arts programs in partnership with schools. It says its vision is that “all Australian children [should] have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts to enhance their education, personal development and community involvement, giving them the best possible start in life.”
DUET concludes at the end of Semester 1. Schools are able to register their interest in any of The Song Room’s programs here.
A reminder that Music: Count Us In (MCUI) is up and away again this year. Schoolkids all around the country combine in singing the same song on National Celebration Day, 7 November. For teachers, it offers a complete package of resources and training, so the beauty is that schools that don’t have a specialist music teacher can take part.
Last year, more than 745,000 students from upwards of 3,400 schools around Australia were involved. We’re aiming to make this one even bigger and better. The main educational thrust of Music Australia, MCUI is in fact Australia’s largest school initiative. Head here for all the details.
Initiatives like this are much needed because for many schools, the absence of a specialist music teacher on staff means that task of delivering classroom music is frequently left to general classroom teachers who may lack the requisite background or expertise. Consequently, music can slip off the curriculum altogether. Research in 2014 showed that 63 per cent of primary schools across Australia offer no classroom music. That’s an alarming statistic, and it translates to many children in our country being deprived of what should be their right: the right to a proper music education.
Programs like these can help fill the gap.