Music Educator Career Profile: Diane Durhum
Music teachers often say that one thing matters in their profession over everything else – the need to foster a love of music in young people and to encourage them to be involved in music. Perth primary school music teacher, Diane Durham, says it all comes down to this.
A recipient of the Australian Society for Music Education’s (ASME) Educating for Life Award in 2013, she would know. Durham has been teaching classroom music from Kindergarten to Year 6 for eight years, and taught at Beechboro Christian School in Perth’s northeast before taking up her present position as junior school music teacher at the nearby Ellenbrook Christian College.
Durham says it was the enjoyment of music instilled in her as a school child that led her into the profession.
“The inspiration for my career was my Music Teacher from Perth Modern School, John Christmas,” she says. “He opened doors for us to access so many wonderful musical experiences. My goal is to encourage children to love music and to enable them to develop their gifts. I love to hear a group of children singing or playing instruments without inhibition.”
Durham came late into teaching. She explains: “As a mature age student, I completed a Graduate Diploma in Education. Although I trained as a generalist teacher, my goal was to work as a Music Specialist. I applied for and gained a position as a part time Music Specialist straight out of University. This later grew to full time work across two schools.”
“The inspiration for my career was my Music Teacher from Perth Modern School, John Christmas … he opened doors for us to access so many wonderful musical experiences”
“Although I trained as a generalist teacher, my goal was to work as a Music Specialist”
“I have the privilege of teaching every child from Pre Primary to Year Six at both schools and I run a Choral program at each school,” adds Durham.
A highlight was when she took 35 of her children at Beechboro School to Perth Concert Hall to participate in the 2010 Music: Count Us In in 2010. On stage were 800 fellow WA school students along with cricketing star Adam Gilchrist, all singing ‘Come Play Your Part and Ourselves Together’.
It was the first time Beechboro kids had been involved. “They enjoyed the excitement and satisfaction that came with being involved in it, said Durham. “It was great for them to be part of a choir that size”.
Diane Durham on ASME:
“Joining the Australian Society of Music Educators was vital to my professional development. The opportunity to network with Music Educators is inspiring and the learning opportunities provided by ASME are invaluable.”
On what it means to be a music teacher:
“Music education brings joy and energy into the classroom and touches the soul. Choirs, concerts, assemblies, recitals and band practice are part of the job description! Although time consuming, these are the aspects of the role that build the school community and bring great rewards.”
ASME – Australian Society for Music Education, peak professional body representing and advancing music education at all levels in Australia.
Music: Count Us In – Australia’s biggest school initiative, with more than 500,000 participating students from over 2,100 schools nationwide.
Credit: Written by Graham Strahle