New musical instruments at Melton Specialist School and Coral Park Primary School are giving students – and teachers – richer learning opportunities.
Students at Melton Specialist School are using their 33 new percussion instruments – including drums, shakers, a glockenspiel and bells – in whimsical group activities where they learn to take turns exploring the different sounds.
'The whole class can play together on the big gathering drum!' says music therapist Jacinta Stevenson. 'The kids command attention when they play, and are engaged while waiting their turn.'
The Music in Schools program provided grants to Victorian state schools in 2016 and 2017 to purchase musical instruments and equipment. The program's goal is to give students a quality music education and a chance to develop their talent.
Research finds that high-quality music education lifts aspirations, motivation, attitudes towards school and student attendance.
Learning and teaching music
But it's not just students benefiting from the program – hundreds of Victorian teachers also participated in its professional training sessions, delivered by Musical Futures Australia.
Coral Park Primary School teacher Ross Tilley was among those who completed the training. Professional musician Glenn Mangidis now runs the school's music program where kids can choose from a variety of instruments and lessons.
Before the Music in Schools Program, students at Coral Park Primary School sang along with backing tracks. Since receiving new digital equipment, drums, guitars, clarinets, keyboards, microphones, electronic mixer and more, students have more opportunities to grow their musical talents. They even use their new equipment to open school concerts and perform at assemblies.
'The new instruments and equipment, along with well trained staff, motivates more students to get involved,' says Principal Justin Thompson. 'We now have three school bands and 150 students enrolled in music activities. This has raised awareness about for the school's music offering in the wider community too.'
The initiative is guided by the Quality Music Education Framework that demonstrates the importance and benefits of music education and helps school leaders to deliver high quality music programs.
Music in Schools
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry music education in Victorian schools found that exposure to music education results in improved:
- academic grades
- literacy results
- attendance for students.
The $2 million Music in Schools program forms part of the Victorian Government's Education State reforms, which ensure all students have access to a great education.
Celebrating the arts
This year, Education Week is all about celebrating the arts and is an opportunity for all primary and secondary schools, and early childhood services to showcase the work they are doing for students in arts subjects including dance, drama, music, visual arts and media arts.
Schools can join the Education Week celebrations by participating in an arts activity in the week of 20-26 May.
See: Education Week