A new mentoring program that partners primary school music teachers with professional musicians and university music educators was announced today by the federal government.
The $594,000 pilot program, designed in consultation with prominent music conductor and director Richard Gill and the Australian Youth Orchestra, is intended to help close the gap between the quality of music lessons taught at well-endowed private schools and state schools.
The National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Programme, launched today by the Minister for the Arts Senator the Hon George Brandis and Minister for Education the Hon Christopher Pyne, will begin in classrooms in February 2015 and will run for three years.
It is anticipated that within its first 12 months about 50 teachers across Australia will have taken part, with that number growing over the following two years.
Teachers in schools across the country, including in regional and remote areas, will be equipped with additional tools for teaching music in their classrooms.
‘There are hundreds of state schools where there are no music teachers whatsoever, and the kids are lucky enough to listen to a CD—the gap is phenomenal’, Mr Gill told News Corp.
He said music was critical in developing important listening and concentration skills and a strong music curriculum had significant flow on advantages in the classroom across all subjects.
Ministers Brandis and Pyne thanked Mr Gill for his drive in bringing this program to fruition.
‘He is one of Australia's pre-eminent music educators and a long term advocate for high quality music education for youth.’
Richard Gill is internationally respected as a music educator and conductor, specialising in opera, musical theatre and vocal and choral training, and his work in developing young musicians and creating opportunities for them is recognised worldwide.
In addition to his role as Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Education Program, he is Music Director of Victorian Opera. He has also been Artistic Director of OzOpera (Opera Australia’s touring arm), Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Adviser for the Musica Viva in Schools program.
Mr Gill will provide leadership to the National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Programme and direction to its delivery.