Parents and families play an instrumental role in ensuring music is a part of our communities, in school and at home. Given the right information and support, parents can instigate real change through grassroots activity to ensure quality music education for young people.
Collaborating with other parents, communities can enrich a school music program through contributions of time, skills or money, providing instruments, or after-school programs in band, singing, music theatre, song writing the possibilities are endless!
At Music Australia, we believe that parents play a key role in supporting and encouraging creativity throughout the school years, particularly through music. Our Parental Engagement Project, launched in 2013 with the support of the Caledonia Foundation, aims to give parents the tools they need to advocate for more music in their school, and to provide resources, practical information and inspiration for parents wanting to support music in the school.
The Parental Engagement Project grew from the Music to Our Ears report. While we know that learning music is intrinsically rewarding, this report makes the case for universal access to music education in Australian schools as an effective step towards improving the creativity, performance and equity of our schools.
- It draws on the findings of government reviews, the latest academic evidence, the testimony of leading music educators, and the experience of some of Australia’s leading songwriters and performers to demonstrate why the music education in schools deserves greater attention.
- It sets out the current, highly inadequate, state of music education in Australian schools.
- It proposes some broad directions for public policy makers to consider.
- It suggests that the practical answers require not just better public policy at the national, state and territory level, but greater awareness of the benefits of music education at the school level.
Better informed parents, who believe their children and community could benefit from music, will be better equipped for the campaign for more music education in schools.
Australians are engaged in an important debate about the funding, quality and equity of our schools. The major policy disagreements to date have been over funding models, teaching methods, foundational skills like literacy and numeracy, collecting and publishing student performance data, the national curriculum, teacher training and pay.
One word, though, has been absent: music. This is surprising, because across the world, leading educators recognise the crucial importance that creative disciplines like music play in keeping our young people engaged with school, bringing out their true talents, and preparing them for the challenges of a fast innovating economy.
The campaign for more music in schools involves advocating to governments, school principals and education bureaucracies, raising public awareness, finding solutions to improve access, and supporting educators.