Research report


International and national research shows that music education uniquely contributes to the emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth of all students. Music in schools contributes to both instrumental and aesthetic learning outcomes; transmission of cultural heritage and values; and, students’ creativity, identity and capacity for
self-expression and satisfaction.

While there are examples of excellent music education in schools, many Australian students miss out on effective music education because of the lack of equity of access; lack of quality of provision; and, the poor status of music in many schools.

Music education in Australian schools is at a critical point where prompt action is needed to right the inequalities in school music.

There is a need for immediate priority on improving and sustaining the quality and status of music education.
Action is needed to:
• Improve the equity of access, participation and engagement in school music for all students;
• Improve teacher pre-service and in-service education;
• Improve curriculum support services (advisory, instrumental music, vocal music and music technology;
• Support productive partnerships and networking with music organisations, musicians, the music industry and the Australian community;

• Improve music education in schools through supportive principals and school leadership, adequately educated specialist teachers, increased time in the timetable, adequate facilities and equipment;

Improve levels of accountability; and

    • Improve the overall status of music in schools.


    About the report

    In March 2004, the Australian Government announced a National Review of School Music Education.  A team led by Murdoch University undertook the Review on behalf of the Australian Government to identify:

    • The current quality of teaching and learning of music in Australian schools;
    • Factors that affect the quality and status of teaching of music in Australian schools;
    • Examples of best practice of teaching and learning of music both in Australian schools and schools overseas; and
    • Key recommendations, principles and priorities for enhancing school music education.
    This study included a literature review, call for submissions, site visits, national survey and curriculum mapping to determine the current quality and status of music education in Australian schools.  It provides an examination of the challenges facing schools in providing music education and highlights opportunities for strengthening music education in schools.
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