Step one: Checklist
How can you tell whether the music program at your school is a quality, meaningful one – the kind that will bring real benefits to students? Here’s a checklist to help you decide:
- Do classes of different ages / levels sing different song repertoire from one another?
- Are students encouraged to discuss the music they are singing / playing?
- Does every class receive a music/al lesson every week of every year (up to Year 8)?
- Are all students given easy access to musical instruments from the age of 7 (i.e. classroom percussion or stringed instruments)?
- Is music performed in public at least once per term (i.e. in assembly or at a nursing home)?
- Are students encouraged to invent, improvise or compose their own music and/or soundscapes (at least from the age of 7)?
- Do students learn a method of writing down their musical ideas (music notation or graphic notation) from the age of 7?
- Are classes exposed to many different styles of music (jazz, folk, rock, classical …)?
- Are the cultures within your school represented within the music/al classroom (i.e. by listening or learning music from different cultures)?
Once you have a handle on the strengths and weaknesses of your school’s program, here are some things you can do:
- Prepare a list of suggestions to improve the quality of your current school music program (any of the above check-list points which could not be ticked)
- Approach the P&C to present a PowerPoint presentation on the power of music in schools
- Talk to the Principal and ask him/her to call for musically interested teachers at the next staff meeting – those who would be interested in further Professional Learning opportunities in Music
- Keep an eye out for fundraising opportunities and grants
- Place an article on the school website and newsletter calling for parent / community music helpers (thus finding willing ‘teachers’ and assistants)
- Contact your local High school, conservatorium or feeder Primary schools and let them know of the building musical momentum at your school – they might suggest staff who can mentor or assist new-comers to music education
- Go to www.musiceducation.edu.au and look for the latest research, advocacy articles and ideas regarding music education in Australia
- Be inspired by suggestions from other Australian schools, under the topics of Students, Staff, Curriculum, Community, Professional Development & Resources