A recently released report, Fading Notes, demonstrates diminishing levels of music education within generalist primary teaching degrees.   

The report, commissioned by Alberts | The Tony Foundation for the Music: Right from the Start initiative, highlights how music education training for generalist primary school teachers has fallen from an average of 17 hours in 2009 to eight by the end of 2022.

One of the key recommendations from the report is the need to raise awareness of the lack of fair access Australian students currently have to quality music teaching in schools. 

Sydney Catholic Schools is actively fulfilling this recommendation and challenging conventions, with its Amadeus Music Education Program to place 52,000 instruments in the hands of Year 3 to 8 students.

The program has already seen successful launches at more than 98 Sydney Catholic Schools, and its availability will expand to all 147 schools by 2024.

Sydney Catholic Schools believes music education should be accessible for all students and not just for the privileged. 

The Amadeus program is one of the biggest, most comprehensive and ambitious investments in quality music education ever undertaken in Sydney’s schools and will be led by 80 school classroom music teachers and 270 specialist music tutors.

The sheer scale of Amadeus and number of music teachers involved, further highlights recommendations in the report that advocate for more K-12 teaching degrees with music specialisations.

The benefits of a quality music education are immense for all students, contributing to enhanced brain function, personal wellbeing and overall development.

“Music is an important part of life through which we express ourselves as human beings – it brings communities together, creates joy and stimulates the brain and the senses,” Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, Tony Farley, said.

“We decided that music education should not be a privilege just for those who can afford it.

“The introduction of Amadeus is a great example of how we are applying the scale and collaboration of our network to deliver innovative educational programs.

“We are committed to putting our students at the centre of everything we do and with Amadeus, we are not only putting more than 50,000 instruments into the hands of every Year 3 to 8 student, and classroom music lessons from kindergarten, but providing the teaching and support they need to learn and thrive.”

Amadeus students undertake instrumental tuition in small groups of five to eight students for 30 minutes per week learning to play on a string, woodwind, or brass instrument.

Students will also play their instrument in a string ensemble, orchestra, or concert band (whole of class) for up to one hour per week

Professional musicians will tutor students and nurture their passion and skills to meet musical outcomes for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and Quality Music Instruction and support students to complete standard graded music exams.

These music tutors will bring professional experience from orchestras and ensembles around Australia and the world.

The program has the support of renowned stakeholders within the music industry including Opera Australia, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Youth Orchestras. 

Students will have the chance to perform at school and parish level, at larger inter school events and at Sydney Catholic Schools’ competitions and showcases, including Sydney Catholic Schools’ Performing Arts Festival and Eisteddfod.

The Kindergarten to Year 8 scope of the program means there is a continuum of music education from a student’s primary school to their secondary school. Students can also choose to continue Music as an elective into Year 9 and beyond.

Decades of research shows that learning an instrument and playing in a musical ensemble strengthens neural pathways in the brain and can significantly improve student academic success in areas including language and mathematical development.

Access to a musical instrument also improves engagement, attention, self-discipline and promotes wellbeing in students. 

Sydney Catholic Schools is currently seeking passionate and enthusiastic classroom tutors to join our growing Amadeus Music Education Program team.

There are multiple opportunities available across our network of schools which can be applied for via the following link – https://sydcatholicschools.nsw.edu.au/musicjobs.