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Inquiry into the extent, benefits and potential of music education in Victorian schools

There is considerable literature available about the benefits of music and arts programs, particularly regarding the benefits available to children who usually miss out on learning and development opportunities due to socio-economic disadvantage. These benefits include ‘closing the gap’ of disadvantage in academic performance, and social and emotional wellbeing.

However there are not enough specialist music and arts teachers available for 1,800+ primary schools in Victoria. The National Report on Trends in School Music Education Provision in Australia (Stevens, R., 2003) estimated that more than three out of four schools don’t have a specialist music teacher.

There are proven benefits to students receiving quality music and arts programs as part of their education, however there is not enough capacity for specialist music and arts teachers or generalist teachers to deliver this in Victorian schools.

And it is those schools and students who most need the benefits of music and arts programs that continue to miss out.

This is the gap The Song Room fills. Our Teaching Artists – experts in their art forms – deliver our pedagogically based program into under-resourced classrooms in partnership with generalist teachers. We also provide both the Teaching Artists and generalist teachers with ongoing professional development to build capacity and skills to deliver high quality music and arts programs in poorly resourced education settings. Where possible, we set our programs up for sustainability beyond us.

 

The Victorian Parliament’s Education and Training Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into current provision of music education in Victorian schools, examining needs, successful delivery methods and optimal funding allocation. As a not for profit provider of music and arts programs in a significant number of low SES schools across the state, The Song Room was invited to lodge a submission, which has been reproduced and made public.

The key focus of The Song Room submission is that there are significant gaps in existing music and arts education opportunities for Victorian students, and that our program offers a cost effective way for all students to have access to quality music and arts programs. Independent research has shown that The Song Room programs not only facilitate learning of music and the arts, but also to lift academic performance across the curriculum, and improve school attendance and social & emotional wellbeing.

A copy of The Song Room submission can be downloaded here.

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