Musicians, Educators, and 600,000 Students Band Together for Music Education in Australian Schools; Monster Music Reacts

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Monster Music, who offers music lessons from Perth to Melbourne, says, “It isn’t enough.”

Monster Music

The only effective way to ensure that students get a musical education is to get them private lessons outside of the school system.

Music: Count Us In 2012, in which 600,000 students in schools across Australia sang the same song at the same time in November, was seen as a huge success, according to an article from The Age. Professional singer, songwriter, and musician Josh Pyke mentored three high school students, Sun Woo Kim, Ryan Chelva, and Jorja Bromley, and collaborated with them on the song, called “Different People (Stand Together).”

The three students were chosen because, after considering 80 songs for the event, judges decided that three songs were worthy, and decided to give all three young songwriters a chance to be mentored in a workshop with a professional, where they wrote the song from scratch.

Music: Count Us In, whose mission is to raise support and awareness for music education in schools across Australia, has been in existence since 2007. It is run by the Music Council of Australia, with support from ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, currently the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth. Other high-profile supporters this year were “The Voice” contestants Prinnie Stevens and Mahalia Barnes.

According to the same The Age article, Richard Letts, who is currently the Music Council of Australia’s Executive Director, was happy with the participation in the event, but is not happy with the current state of music education in Australian schools. According to Letts, up to 80% of primary schools in NSW do not have any music education in their classrooms. Letts points out that in a four year teaching degree curriculum, future teachers only receive 17 hours of music education.

Letts also points out that the economic status of schools plays a factor in whether or not they have music education, with the more-affluent schools receiving music education, while less-affluent schools don’t. Letts also references literacy studies in which musical classes were proven to be more effective at producing literacy than literacy classes are.

In a recent post on his blog, Danny Achurch, Owner and Proprietor of Monster Music, writes that “Australian schools are coming up woefully short in music education.”

Achurch is concerned about the state of music education in Australian schools: “It is fairly well-documented that the 80% figure of schools that don’t offer music education quoted by Richard Letts is accurate, not only in NSW, but all across Australia. There are so many benefits to a music education, intellectually and socially, that not having music constitutes neglect on the part of the Australian educational system.”

Achurch continued, “Music helps kids learn. It helps kids relate to one another. It helps kids with self-esteem issues. All of these benefits are totally outside the scope of what most educators consider when they make decisions concerning music education, and they are being taken away from our children because most educators have no idea of the benefits provided by music education.”

Achurch contributes what he can through Monster Music: “We would love to see the system change, and see more music taught in Australian schools, but we don’t see it happening in the near future. We respect and admire those who are trying to change that system, but it does no good to students who are currently being deprived of the far-reaching benefits of music education.”

Achurch’s solution: private music lessons. “The only effective way to ensure that students get a musical education is to get them private lessons outside of the school system.”

Monster Music offers guitar, voice, piano, bass guitar, drum, violin, and general music lessons in Melbourne, Perth and across Australia.

Visit their website here for more information: http://www.monstermusic.com.au/ or call them at 08 9335 8881.

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Danny Achurch
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