Music Education Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry

Music Education Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry

Introductory Statement To The Education And Training Committee Inquiry On Music Education Parliament Of Victoria

Brian J. Caldwell

I am joined in this submission by Dr Tanya Vaughan, former Senior Consulting Researcher and Director of Impact Studies at Educational Transformations. Dr Vaughan is now Senior Project Officer (School Leadership) at the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Dr Vaughan was the chief investigator for the research reported in our submission and co-author of our book Transforming Education through the Arts. Neither Tanya nor I are employed in the arts industry, being scientists by background, and our work with The Song Room, who appeared earlier, has concluded. Tanya is concluding a study for Bell Shakespeare on the impact of its programs in schools.

By way of introduction I would simply highlight our conclusions and recommendations.

  • Australia may be in breach of UNESCO’s Convention on the Rights of the Child in respect to opportunities for participation in the arts. Public and private resources should be committed to ensure that every student at every level of schooling has an opportunity to participate in arts education, including music education.
  • There is incontrovertible national and international evidence of the benefits of participation in arts education, including music education, not only for the intrinsic benefits of such participation but also for the benefits it brings to learning and personal and social wellbeing. Arts education, including music education, should form part of the curriculum of every school. It is critical that the arts component of the Australian Curriculum be implemented in every school.
  • Our Australian research in primary schools in highly disadvantaged settings suggests that, in addition to other benefits, students may gain up to a year in NAPLAN scores in reading if they participate in arts education, including music education. The tens of millions of dollars spent on a range of strategies to improve results on NAPLAN tests have had minimal effect. There should be a reallocation of funds to support arts education, including music education, for all students, with the highest immediate priority being for students in disadvantaged settings.
  • Partnerships of organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors are important, and there should be a substantial increase in funding for those in the private, not-for-profit sector such as The Song Room that provide programs that were the focus of research reported in this submission. Public support for such organisations is currently minimal compared to private support.

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