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The Song Room’s ‘DUET: In-school Teacher Music Mentoring’ Program

Posted by APATA Team | Aug 13, 2019

The Song Room is one of Australia’s most impactful organisations advocating real change within the classrooms of children and schools that have previously been without access to quality arts and music programs. Their partnership with ARIA, in creating The Telstra ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award, is a credit to their belief in the beauty and benefit of creative education. With their cohort of Teaching Artists, inclusive In-School Workshop Programs, early-learning initiatives, the ARTS:LIVE digital hub and indigenous and refugee community programs, The Song Room is transforming lives with the sound of music. Under the guiding hand of The Song Room, cultural and economic borders are being transformed into bridges, paving the way for empowered and confident children to function successfully in daily school life and beyond. This year, with funding from the Victorian Government, The Song Room was able to roll out a program specifically geared towards empowering teachers.

The ‘DUET: In-school Teacher Mentoring Program’ was implemented in 75 primary schools across regional and metro Victoria throughout semester one, with close to 160 teachers receiving in-class mentoring from a Song Room Teaching Artist. The truncated program delivered over 11 weeks, while benefiting the children, was focused on building the classroom confidence of the educators involved, who may have had little to no arts experience, so that they could then implement music education into their own classrooms and schools.

Developing the program with a firm foundation in the QMEF (Quality Music Education Framework) and Victorian curriculum, Director of Arts Learning at The Song Room, Alicia Wyatt and The Song Room team succeeded in creating a positive purposeful standard for teachers who took part. Alicia understands that for many teachers, time is of the essence and accessing professional development workshops out of hours can seem an impossibility. The Song Room’s In-School Workshops are usually a minimum of 6 months and are completely run by the Teaching Artist. ‘DUET’ gradually set the teacher up so that in the course of 11 weeks they were able take ownership of the program themselves. The first few weeks were spent with the class being led by the Teaching Artist with lessons adapting and responding to the children’s interests, the second stage the teacher co-delivered the class with the Teaching Artist. Building to stage three, where the teacher delivered the program themselves for the last few weeks while the Teaching Artist stepped back.

In Shepparton, 11 schools that took part in ‘DUET’ now talk and share ideas, other participating teachers have started choirs, ensembles, African drumming circles and other music-based activities because they now have the tools to do so. From school leadership through to parents and the broader communities of specialist and regional schools The Song Room’s ‘DUET’ Program created roots for music and creativity broadening the school experience for children and teachers alike. And it is that experience that can have a truly transformative effect.

One thing The Song Room is aware of is, that for a lot of kids, The Song Room Teaching Artist may be the first time they meet someone with a career in the arts. To see that artist, loving what they do, in a creative field and making a living from it can make a huge impact. To have kids and school leaders affirm the possibility of a future in music or the arts can create a whole world of opportunity and that is the passion for The Song Room. Working within a collective that is based on education and mentoring, Director of Arts Learning, Alicia Wyatt, says “The Song Room considers their young people to be their biggest mentors and teachers and their league of Teaching Artists are leading examples of where creative fields can take you”. Being surrounded by such creativity is a constant inspiration for the team at The Song Room HQ and their dream is to see a Song Room program in every school across Australia. The ‘DUET: In-school Teacher Music Mentoring Program’ has been a step in that direction with sprouts of musical inspiration popping up wherever they’ve made roots.

“The Song Room”, Alicia adds, “Has even taken a leaf out of their own book…and started a ukulele band.” Rehearsal weekly!

To learn more about The Song Room [Click Here]

In November we’ll find out who is the Telstra Aria Music Teacher of the Year, in the meantime, check out The Song Room’s video on the importance of music education. [Click here]

All Images supplied by The Song Room

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