Warrnambool Primary School pupils Matthews Clements, 8, and Alistair Baker, 7, will benefit from a new music program involving teachers Jenny Gellert and Gina Mills. It was announced by James Tait, Fiona Phillips and Jenny Grenfell. HUNDREDS of south-west primary school pupils will begin to encounter performing arts in their classrooms with the introduction of a new regional program.
Nanjing Night Net

Warrnambool charitable trusts, the Ray and Joyce Uebergang Foundation and the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, have pledged $228,000 to Deakin University to tackle the lack of music in local primary education.

The Deakin Music in Schools project will mentor 27 teachers from about 15 south-west schools to design and implement a music curriculum that encourages pupils to become interested in the arts from an early age.

“We’re trying to fill the gap in availability of primary school teachers who have a knowledge of music,” the foundations’ trustee of 30 years James Tait said yesterday. “Many of them only get 23 hours’ exposure to music in the whole four years of their (teaching) course.

“They have no confidence in running music classes.

“We’re trying to address the deficiency in the district with teachers who are already there.”

Mr Tait said the program had been a long time in the making and would focus on instrument play and theory, including note reading, rhythm and pitch.

“I’ve been trying to get something going since 2006,” he said.

“Everybody can clap, everybody can use their voice.

“They might say they can’t sing but everyone can, really.

“This is the best way to start them off.

“Exposure to music sharpens other learning processes.

“Unless children have an aptitude for music they are unlikely to pursue music in secondary school.”

The teachers will attend an in-service at Deakin every Monday for 10 weeks under the guidance of the school of education’s Fiona Phillips and guest experts.

They will learn how to integrate music into their teaching plans and come back each week to discuss which aspects were successful, according to Deakin Music in Schools program co-ordinator Jenny Grenfell. “What it does is fill a need for program development for teachers — in arts and music, particularly,” Ms Grenfell said.

Warrnambool Primary School is just one institution involved in the initiative, with grade six teacher Gina Mills and grade two teacher Jenny Gellert to attend the weekly tutorials.

The pair is hoping the program will inspire more children to pursue the performing arts and follow in the footsteps of former pupils, musician Jackson McLaren, comedian Tom Ballard and radio presenter Alex Dyson.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.