There are serious concerns with a proposal from the Australian Primary Principals’ Association that could encourage some schools to abandon a commitment to primary school music education, according to the Chair of the 2005 National Review of Music Education, Professor Margaret Seares.
Professor Seares said that while the Association’s draft Charter on Primary Schooling, released yesterday gave music and physical education a privileged place over many other areas, they were still considered ‘non-core’ activities, perpetuating a false view that music and sport were simply ‘diversionary’ activities.
“The Charter states that ‘core’ subjects of English, mathematics, science and history enable children to embrace skills such as ‘learning, thinking, communication, self management and technology’, while music (and sport) are seen as ‘enjoyable’ areas that introduce students ‘to many other important areas of life’.
“This completely ignores the findings of the research undertaken as part of our national review, which demonstrated the crucial role that participation in regular music making can have for learning, thinking, communication skills and the like, not to mention enhanced mathematical reasoning,” Professor Seares said.
“The research also illustrated the importance of music as an avenue for these skills, for children for whom the standard approach to schooling does not work, and for children whose home environments lack the enrichment that other homes take for granted.”
Professor Seares – who is Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia – said she was concerned that such a charter would inadvertently lead to more Australian children, particularly children at risk of failing at school, being denied the musical environment that so many Australians had indicated to the national review that they wanted for their children.
Professor Margaret Seares 61 8 6488 2802