Music Education In Remote Rural South Australian Schools: Does A Partnership With A Non-Government Organisation Work?
This paper reports on a research project investigating how partnership relations between rural schools and non-government organisations (NGOs) can support students and teachers to learn music (Hardwick-Franco, 2016; Hardwick-Franco, 2017). More particularly, it offers the Musica Viva in Schools Programs as an example of such a partnership relation and how it impacted on the teaching and learning of music in rural South Australian schools. Musica Viva is a non-government organisation (NGO) that invited rural schools to participate in the 2015 Beyond Whyalla tour and the 2016 Limestone Coast tour. The Musica Viva in Schools Programs had three aims. The first aim was to impact on isolated regional South Australian communities, the learning of teachers and students and also the wellbeing of the community. The second aim was to inspire greater participation in the arts, focussing particularly on the engagement of teachers in teaching music but also the involvement of students in music activity. The third aim of the program was to support teachers to sustain music education in regional communities, once the program has been delivered. This paper focuses on the ways in which the partnership between rural schools and the NGO enabled these three aims to be met. It highlights the impact the program and partnership model had on teaching and learning of music in rural schools that support vulnerable students (defined later). It also offers an example of how future investigations of school-NGO partnerships in general might be pursued.
The aim of this paper is to determine the extent to which the Musica Viva in Schools Programs met the three aims, as listed above. That is, this paper aims to determine how the Musica Viva in Schools Programs supported teaching and learning of music in rural schools impacted by the vulnerabilities of local families and communities. The research is significant because it evaluates the extent to which partnerships between schools and NGOs impact on student learning, teacher development and community wellbeing. Importantly, conclusions and recommendations can inform the ways schools work and NGOs partner in the future. The project also offers itself as an example of how future investigations of school-NGO partnerships in general might be pursued.
Context and Definitions
Musica Viva: A Non-government Organisation Supporting Rural Schools
Musica Viva is a not-for-profit organisation with a long history of working with South Australian schools since 1981. The mission of the Musica Viva in Schools program is to give every Australian school child the opportunity to experience the joy of live music. The organisation notes it is dedicated to supporting teachers with professional development and curriculum-linked resources. Musica Viva suggests it offers Australia's most popular live music incursion program, making it easy to offer quality music education in schools. The NGO also provides financial assistance to schools that cannot ordinarily access professional live performances because of location, size or level of resources. While the organisation achieves its mission through a variety of programs, this research focuses on the 2015 program entitled Beyond Whyalla - Enriching the Music and Educational Landscape of Regional South Australia (herein referred to as 2015 Beyond Whyalla tour) and the 2016 program entitled Limestone Coast Tour - Continuing to Enrich the Music and Educational Landscape of Regional South Australia (herein referred to as 2016 Limestone Coast tour).
The Rural South Australian Programs: 2015 Beyond Whyalla and 2016 Limestone Coast Musica Viva employed professional performer, Adam Page (see http://www.adampage.com.au/bio/) to visit rural South Australian towns to deliver music education programs. The 2015 Beyond Whyalla tour and the 2016 Limestone Coast tour was delivered to students, teachers and community in a number of regional towns. Federal data tells us that these towns have small populations, high levels of unemployment, high levels of social disadvantage and high levels of vulnerable students. This data is explored in more detail in the literature review. There were four elements to each program: a live school music concert, student workshops, teacher-training workshops and a community concert, all designed specifically to engage students and teachers in the learning of music and learning of music pedagogy as well as increase community wellbeing. The program also offered digital teaching resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum (AC), (see http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/the-arts/introduction) ready for teachers to use in the classroom. These resources are important to supporting generalist teachers who are keen to learn how to teach music and due to multi-layering, the resources also supported specialist music teachers. The 2015 program also offered to supply a class set of untuned hand percussion musical instruments.
The research focused on the work of the professional musician Adam Page. Adam has over fifteen years of performance experience, performing his multi-award winning solo show to audiences around the world (see http://www.adampage.com.au/bio/). He describes what he does as a unique style of performing, recording live instruments into loop pedals and spontaneously composing intricate grooves in many different styles (pers. com. 2015). For both tours, he spontaneously composed, improvised and recorded sounds using looping pedals, building layers of music while performing and incorporating the audience into his act with humility, seeming ease and understated intelligence. Primarily a saxophone player, the instruments Adam loops are as diverse as bass, keyboard, untuned hand percussion, vocals, beat-boxing, guitar, ukulele, flute and audience members.
The photo of Adam (Figure 1) highlights his fun, unusual, energetic approach to his craft, with reference to important elements of his performance: his mouth (a main instrument), his eyes (that convey a deep warmth towards and empathy for his audience), his beard (a key element, and instrument, of his often funny performance) and his beanie (another comedic feature of his performance). His interaction with his audience is that of a mild mannered, very funny performer, who clearly demonstrated high level professional skills as a musician on a range of instruments. His energy, humour and fast paced performance captivated even the most disenfranchised, disengaged, vulnerable students with ease. The performance captured the attention of students, staff and parents alike. The incorporation of his beard, beanie and audience names into his work kept the audience captivated and wondering, "What will he do next?" T3 noted "Adam Page is the best performance for primary schools that I have ever seen over a thirty-five year career".
During an interview with Adam he highlighted the non-threatening and non-competitive nature of the work he undertakes with students. He reflected that his performance makes people relax and laugh. One of his aims is to normalise the engagement of people in music making, so they feel that making music is a natural act, rather than something that requires specialised training and knowledge. When asked to reflect about the impact his work has on the wellbeing of staff and students, he noted that through making staff and students feel good about music, staff and students then go into the school yard and classroom interacting in ways that create a dynamic whereby they increase the wellbeing of each other. He reflected that when the wellbeing of staff was enhanced, this increased student wellbeing and that when the wellbeing of students was enhanced, this increased wellbeing of staff.
In 2015, Adam visited schools Beyond Whyalla situated within the five South Australian townships of Ceduna, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie and Whyalla (see Figure 2). The schools are isolated, in part, because they are between a two- and eight-hour drive to the capital city of Adelaide. One respondent stated, "without Musica Viva bringing programs to us, we can't access anything" (pers. com. TI2). Respondents were assured anonymity in line with ethical research practices and referred to as "T" and "TI" and were allocated a respondent number. As part of ethical research practice, respondents were invited to sign formal agreements to give permission for their views to be included in the research.
In 2016, Adam toured schools situated across the Limestone Coast within the six South Australian towns Allendale East, Glenburnie, Millicent, Moorak, Mount Gambier and Penola (see Figure 3). These towns are isolated because they have low populations and are situated south-east of Adelaide by between a four- and five-hour car drive. This isolation is confirmed by one respondent who commented, "being a small school rural community we miss out on a fair bit" (TI3) but was challenged by another who noted "we don't consider ourselves isolated we are the second largest region in South Australia" (TI4). The Limestone Coast covers an area of just over 21,000 [kms.sup.2], and is significantly smaller than the area covered by the 2015 Tour, which was in excess of 80,000 [kms.sup.2] (the size of Austria). When the maps of the Limestone Coast and Eyre Peninsula are overlaid with the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) -Remoteness Area map (Figure 4) it highlights the Limestone Coast is considered outer regional, unlike the 2015 Tour, which occurred in areas considered either very remote or remote.
One of the aims of the Musica Viva in Schools Program, is to "provide financial assistance to schools that cannot ordinarily access professional live performances because of location, size or level of resources" (see http://www.musicaviva.com.au/about-us/about). Teachers noted that their schools and communities do not have ready access to professional live performance, classroom music teaching programs, workshops for teachers to learn to teach music or community concerts. They noted a range of reasons for this including the notion that their schools are remote from the artistic, musical and cultural hub, the capital city of Adelaide, and cannot benefit from activity based in Adelaide. One interviewee noted, "Usually our students do not get to experience a range of performances because the performances are in Adelaide. Students do not get access to quality programs because we are remote" (pers. com. TI2). There are two key elements to this research that enable a deeper understanding of the data and each are now explored briefly in a review of relevant literature. These areas include the exploration of vulnerability, because of the impact low socio-economic background, intergenerational poverty and remote location has on students as well as an investigation of the definition of music education.
The schools Adam visited are situated in small towns with vulnerable communities that have low levels of resources and high levels of socio-economic and educational vulnerability as measured through various federal data collection tools. These tools include the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC, 2015; AEDC 2012), the Social Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA, 2011) and data on average wages and unemployment drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2013; ABS, 2011). The following offers a summary about each data set. The AEDC investigates indicators that sit within the following five 'domains': physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills as well as communication skills and general knowledge (see http://www.aedc.gov.au/about-the-aedc). It has been shown that the vulnerability of children at the point of AEDC census (in the early years of the life of a child) can be correlated to their future educational attainment such as their NAPLAN results. The AEDC data has been shown to predict not only later academic success, but also future health and wellbeing. The SEIFA indicates the Relative Socio Economic Disadvantage of each local government area, as measured through the data collection of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The number reflects the level of disadvantage related to low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and the jobs available in relatively unskilled occupations (see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/2033.0.55.001). As part of a literature review, it is important to highlight these on-line texts and data sets because they draw attention to the level of disadvantage in the communities that sit Beyond Whyalla and across the Limestone Coast. These texts inform the investigation of how a school-NGO partnership can support rural schools and communities. Notably, many of these towns have high percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) families. One interviewee reflected that "Musica Viva programs address regional inequality" (pers. com. TI3) while another noted, "White fellas go in for this [attending professional performance] but not ATSI kids" (pers. com.TI1) but bringing a performer like Adam, means "students have no fear about picking up a musical instrument and making music" (pers. com. TI1).
Data displayed in Table 1 and Table 2, highlight the levels of disadvantage of communities involved in the 2015 Beyond Whyalla tour and 2016 Limestone Coast tour respectively. Column One lists names of towns and cities involved in each tour. Column Two lists the percentage of children in each town who are identified as vulnerable in one or more areas of the AEDC as identified in the 2012 data (Table 1) and 2015 data (Table 2). The data clearly indicates there is a higher level of vulnerability in children who live in the isolated towns associated with both tours, when compared to Australia more generally. When comparing the data sets, (AEDC, 2015; AEDC, 2012; SEIFA, 2011; ABS, 2013; ABS, 2011) Whyalla is significantly more disadvantaged than towns across the Limestone Coast. The data collected indicates that all towns involved in the 2015 Beyond Whyalla tour are more disadvantaged than the national average (AEDC, 2015; AEDC, 2012; SEIFA,
2011; ABS, 2013; ABS, 2011). Column Three details SEIFA results indicating there is a higher level of social- and economic-disadvantage Beyond Whyalla and across the Limestone Coast, when compared to other parts of Australia particularly when compared to Adelaide and Sydney. The lower the number, the more disadvantaged the community (see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/2033.0.55.001). It is important to note an anomaly with Whyalla (Table 1); the data was collected at a time when there was a high level of advantage, during an iron ore mining boom. Apart from this anomaly, all towns are more disadvantaged than Adelaide.
Data highlighting average wages and unemployment rates in relation to towns Beyond Whyalla and across the Limestone Coast are noted in Table 3 and Table 4. Data in Column Two highlight the average wage of those who live in these areas is certainly less than the Australian average. In 2011, the average annual wage for someone living Beyond Whyalla, in Ceduna, was only $40,466, which is more than $10,000 less with the national average of $51, 923. The anomaly in data from Whyalla, is related to the success of the mining of iron ore for the Chinese market at the time of data collection. In 2013, the average annual wage for someone living in the Limestone Coast town, of Millicent, was only $38,138 which is nearly $7,000 less than the national average of $44,940. Important to note is the average wage across the Limestone Coast has little variation; that is, on average, families across the region have the same low level wages.
Data in Column Three indicate the unemployment rate across the towns is almost exclusively higher when compared with the national average. Income figures for this paper were sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2011), using information that focused on the Local Government Association (LGA) data (see http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?databyregion). It exposes that the unemployment rate in Whyalla is the highest at 8.2%, which is 2.6% higher than the national average. Percentages of unemployment for this paper were also sourced from the ABS 2011. The impact of lack of funds in these areas is noted by one teacher: "We are a small school, funding is based on enrolments and that we didn't have to pay was fantastic" (TI3).
Musica Viva believes in sharing with children, "the excitement and power of a live performance" (see https://musicaviva.com.au/education/about-our-program/). This is well received by those students and schools that reported students cannot ordinarily access live performance due to remote location and lack of resources. One teacher noted, "unless a family choose to visit Mount Gambier [50 kilometres away], exposure doesn't happen. We need to bring people to our school" (TI1). Musica Viva aims to meet this need and provided financial assistance to schools that cannot ordinarily access live performance due to location and level of resourcing. The data sets, when combined, indicate that schools Beyond Whyalla and across the Limestone Coast are supporting vulnerable students and communities as measured by a variety of formal federal government data: AEDC, SEIFA, wages and unemployment rates. This NGO is certainly meeting its aim through partnering with schools to support music education of a significant proportion of vulnerable South Australian rural students who are living with financial disadvantage.
The Musica Viva in Schools program, is designed to "give every child the opportunity to experience the best musicians Australia has to offer" because Musica Viva believes "music is an essential experience for every student" (see https://musicaviva.com.au/education/about-our-program/). Research regarding primary school music education (DEST, 2005) indicates that it is an area of the curriculum neglected by generalist classroom teachers. The need for schools to link with NGOs such as Musica Viva that offer music education programs to fill this gap is obvious. Anderson and White (2011) note that in Australia, knowledge about the scale, nature and impact of partnerships that schools create is limited by lack of research and evaluation and that contextualised knowledge on this topic in Australia is in its infancy. There is, similarly, a paucity of current government reports examining music education in Australia. Lierse (2000, p. 20) notes there is a lack of time devoted to music education in schools resulting in music programs that are "patchy" and "lacking sequence and depth". The Music Council of Australia research indicates that only 23% of public schools offer a credible music education program (Stevens, 2003). Historical evidence goes so far as to suggest that teachers are omitting music from their school program (Russell-Bowie, 1993) with more recent evidence suggesting "a low willingness [of pre-service teachers] to engage with Arts education in their roles as teachers" (Garvis & Lemon, 2013, p. 101). This is supported through this project with one interviewee noting "we don't have skills to pursue learning to teach music" (TI1).
The Australian Curriculum (AC): The Arts was released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in 2014. The AC encompasses eight "learning areas", where the "arts learning area" is one of the eight. In turn, the "arts learning area", consists of five "subjects", where music is but one "subject" (see https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/the-arts/). It is important to note the pressure primary school generalist teaching staff are under to teach the AC as it is a requirement that the five subjects with the arts, including music, be taught to all primary school students. Despite the difficulties associated with incorporating the teaching of music in their classrooms, teachers want to support students to learn music. Although it is noted that individual teachers with little experience of music making often find performance aspects of arts education confronting (DEST, 2005). One Limestone Coast school notes they struggle to cover each subject and "in the younger years we cover the five elements of the arts over three years" (TI3). While a different Limestone Coast school is going so far as to ensure "every teacher learns the musical instrument with the student" (TI4).
There are indications that in most Australian primary schools, music education is largely the responsibility of the classroom generalist teacher (Jeanneret, 1997b). There is also evidence that supports the claim that music continues to be the subject generalist teachers feel least confident in teaching (Hennessey, 2000; Jeanneret, 1997a, 1996; Hargreaves, Comber, & Galton, 1996). It has been suggested that this is due in part to a lack of funding available in music education for primary teacher trainees at the tertiary level (Stevens-Ballenger, Jeanneret, & Forrest, 2010;
Pietsch, 2009). Research tells us that teachers' lack of music background and lack of confidence to teach music are significant factors that will determine whether music education actually takes place (Hennessy, 2000; Bodkin 1999; Russell-Bowie, 1999; Jeanneret, 1997b; Lepherd, 1993). It is no surprise then that the support offered to schools, from an NGO like Musica Viva, through online teaching resources and teacher training workshops, is highly valued by staff. To the point where one respondent noted "it would be ideal to have Musica Viva provide a unit of work which includes videos of Adam talking to teachers about what you can do with kids and how to do it" (TI5).
Another important area for consideration is the exploration of what is meant by "music education". Relevant to this project, Lierse (2000) notes, that there is lack of agreement amongst educators around what constitutes a satisfactory music education. I suggest it is important to teach musical elements. McPherson (1997, p. 210) suggests that elements of music education could include aural, technical, kinaesthetic and expressive skills. Rao (1993) suggests music-reading skills are highly important. I suggest further elements of an effective music program include the teaching of rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo, dynamics, articulation, form, texture, timbre, theory, (ethno-) musicology, composition, arranging and pedagogy (for example the Yamaha Music Foundation pedagogy) where these elements are taught through voice and / or instruments. The Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2017) calls for the teaching and learning of a range of musical elements for the primary years (See https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/the-arts/music/for more details) including: developing aural skills, pitch, rhythm, dynamics and tempo through singing and playing instruments. Students are to use this knowledge to compose, perform, record, improvise and arrange. The Australian Curriculum also calls for students to link with music from the community and investigating how different cultures, such as Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders, use elements of music to communicate meaning.
Lierse (2000) highlights there is lack of agreement amongst music educators about a definition of music education, suggesting that this may contribute to the plight of music education programs in Australia. For some, music education refers to what this author refers to as music appreciation, which includes the engagement of students in music viewing, listening, workshopping and performing without specific teaching of music theory and instrumental skills. Lack of agreement about what constitutes music education was emphasised during telephone interviews. TI4 notes "there wasn't much impact on our middle primary as they all learn instruments". While TI6 commented about the same event "there are so many ways to teach it [music] without having to learn a particular instrument." This highlights ways in which a teacher's evaluation of the Musica Viva program can be based on a teacher's musical understanding about the teaching and learning of musical elements as opposed to musical appreciation.
The research was conducted using a range of inquiry methods including participant-observation, surveys, one-on-one interviews and ongoing invitational dialogue. Information was collected via telephone-interviews with school staff involved in the 2015 program (n= 3) and school staff involved in the 2016 program (n=6); and an in-person-interview with the performer (n=1). Information was also collected via responses to written surveys (n= 13) completed by school staff involved in the 2015 program and data collected via responses to written surveys (n= 29) by school staff involved in the 2016 program. Observations of staff, students, their parents and broader community also inform this study. The author estimates nearly half the audience at a community concert held during the Beyond Whyalla program (18 November 2015) were parents (n[approximately equal to]60). A community concert held during the Limestone Coast tour (28 October 2016) was sold out (n=524). The observations were made by the author and Musica Viva staff. Data was collected with reference to both qualitative and quantitative information. A literature review was undertaken using databases Informit Search and Proquest. The use of multiple methods of inquiry, data resources and perspectives was described in 1966 as "triangulation" (Webb et al. cited in Mathison 1988) and ensures some means of confirmability (Guba & Lincoln, 1983; Bresler & Stake, 1992). Such ethnographic research is essentially phenomenological in nature and the researcher constructs a meaning in terms of the situation being studied. This study, therefore, falls within a descriptive / interpretive research paradigm. The conclusions drawn and recommendations made can therefore inform future directions (Fink, 2006) regarding the ways in which schools and NGOs can partner to teach music.
The author, in consultation with Musica Viva staff, created two surveys. Musica Viva disseminated the surveys to schools, collected the surveys and forwarded completed surveys to the researcher. Surveys included closed questions that offered respondents five levels of responses within the Likert scales with provision underneath each closed question for open-ended responses as "Comments". The survey therefore, facilitated the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. Teaching staff completed the surveys. One survey invited teachers to think about their experience from the perspective of a teacher. The other survey asked teachers to think about their understandings of the student experience. The author observed and participated in the four elements of the program: two of Adam's school concerts, two student workshops led by Adam, an after school teacher training event he conducted as well as an evening community concert performed by Adam and students.
The author also conducted one-on-one invitational interviews with the performer, and teachers involved with the 2015 and 2016 programs. The three aims of the Musica Viva In Schools Program were used as the basis for the semi-structured interviews conducted via telephone, with respondents then encouraged to add additional information they thought would contribute to improving the program. The researcher recorded responses during the telephone interviews in hand written notes, immediately typing them up following each interview.
The researcher made observations of the musical learning, engagement and wellbeing of students, staff, parents and community members. These included observations of the students and staff during the school concerts, the student workshops and the teacher training workshops. Additionally, the researcher made observations about the experience of students, staff, parents and community members to the evening community concert, including interactions between students, their families, community members, staff and Adam both during and after the community concert. Finally, the researcher triangulated all data sets. Participant observation is a well-established, accepted methodology within the social sciences. The method offers the researcher access to information and data that a non-participant cannot access (Jorgensen 1989).
Results were drawn from the two programs; 2015 Beyond Whyalla and 2016 Limestone Coast. Based on the procedures described by Miles and Huberman (1994) and Ryan and Bernard (2000), the content of all of the interviews, surveys and observations were analysed. Material was transcribed and coded based on the frequency of emergence as well as their pertinence to the research objectives. Constant comparative analysis was used to identify emerging patterns in the data (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Descriptive and pattern coding was used to analyse both within-case and cross-case patterns (Saldana, 2009)
Results indicated that the 2015 Beyond Whyalla and 2016 Limestone Coast programs impacted positively on vulnerable, isolated rural South Australian communities for a number of reasons. It is one of the only ways in which regionally based generalist primary school classroom teachers can access training that supports them to develop skills in teaching music. The teachers saw Adam teaching music to students which facilitated teachers learning music pedagogy and music content from Adam's role modelling. Through a school partnership with an NGO, teachers were engaged in professional development they reported as useful.
Findings also show that teacher engagement with the program empowered them to participate in the workshops as well as the teaching and learning of music. Further results highlight that the teachers who attended teacher-training workshops felt more able to support student interest in music, reported feeling more confident to teach music and reported that they are likely to continue to offer students opportunities to engage in music making. Generalist primary school teachers, who are not trained to teach music, report they are looking for ways to teach music in their classrooms on an ongoing basis and are looking for support to do so. Teachers are keen to cover the "arts" area of the AC as evidenced both through their participation in training they had to attend in their own time and their declarations that the program inspired them to access further training. That Musica Viva could deliver teacher training that empowers generalist classroom teachers to feel confident to teach music is significant. This highlights the positive impact a school-NGO partnership can have on supporting generalist teachers to deliver music education in vulnerable rural South Australian schools. The program met its third aim: to support teachers to sustain music education in these regional communities, once the program has been delivered.
The program was shown to impact positively on students because the Musica Viva visiting performer is often the only professional musician students see and hear. The towns that participated in the 2015 and 2016 programs support significant numbers of vulnerable and disadvantaged families whose children (many of whom are disengaged from learning) were captivated by the performer, performance and workshops. That some of the most disengaged, disadvantaged, vulnerable young people, many with depressive, violent, anti-establishment tendencies were on their haunches, eager to watch, listen and engage is remarkable. This is testament to the performance, content and pedagogy of Adam. So significant is the impact of the school-NGO partnership, Musica Viva's program, and Adam's impact that TI5, from the Limestone Coast, reflects that "when you are 5 or 12 and Adam comes to your school, that's the day you speak to your grandchildren about".
Teachers reported that having students captivated by the performer is a wonderful achievement, but that these highly disengaged young people were kept engaged for the duration of the concert and student workshop is extraordinary. It is not surprising therefore that teachers report their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the students and broader community members was enhanced through engagement with the positive, strength-based, funny and interactive performer, performance, workshops and community concert. This element alone, the sustained musical engagement of this disenfranchised student cohort, inspired staff to think about how they could sustain music education in their classrooms. The happy faces, positive disposition and energised discussions parents had with Adam and after a community concert (n[approximately equal to]20) highlighted the degree to which their wellbeing was enhanced. The evidence demonstrates how a school-NGO partnership can successfully facilitate the delivery of a music program where someone from outside the community can come into the school and support the development of a music program with positive results for students, staff and the broader community. The program met its first aim: to impact on isolated regional South Australian communities, the learning of teachers and students and also the wellbeing of the community.
The resources and workshops focused on interactive performance based music making and music appreciation activities, rather than the specific teaching of musical elements. While this limits the teaching of music elements that can occur after the program has been delivered, importantly, it supports non-specialist teachers to continue music education in their generalist classrooms because the expectations around what constitutes music education are achievable for teachers who are not formally trained in music or music teaching. Similarly, students learnt about music making in a strength-based positive stimulating and fun learning environment. While students did not learn many musical elements, they did engage confidently with music making. Teachers reported that this encouraged some students to think about learning an instrument. Due to the levels of relative economic disadvantage for these students, families are prevented from investing in ongoing musical tuition and the purchase of instruments. Nevertheless, the impact for these students is lasting and Adam's impact is an example of the legacy left to students and staff when a school partners with an NGO. Evidence shows the program met its second aim: to inspire greater participation in the arts, focussing particularly on the engagement of teachers in teaching music but also the involvement of students in music activity.
This research notes that long term embedding of the teaching of music and involvement of students in the arts, due to a school-NGO partnership remains to be seen. Despite the best efforts of Musica Viva and the best efforts of the musicians who visit schools, whether or not generalist classroom teachers go on to teach music in their classrooms will remain linked to the will and interest of the individual classroom teacher and stimulus from school leadership, particularly the school principal. Teachers reported they need ongoing support before they can teach music in their classrooms. The question needs to be asked, is it the role of an NGO, such as Musica Viva, to fill this gap? Conclusions can be drawn about the degree to which a relationship between a school and NGO can have a lasting impact on the teaching of music by generalist teachers only with longitudinal research. However, interviewees from the 2016 Tour were consistent in their pleas for further teacher training, seemingly not happy to only engage students in music appreciation activities, but eager to learn how to teach students music elements inclusive of music theory and instrumental skills. This study reveals there is widespread agreement amongst respondents that the Musica Viva In Schools program is a critical element of a school's music program; the partnership between the school and NGO is important.
Elements of the program that teachers felt best supported them to sustain music education, once the program has been delivered are now listed: the resources forwarded prior to the musician's visit (in order to prepare themselves and students for the performances, workshops and concerts), online teaching resources, resources for use by teachers with no musical knowledge, resources that are aligned to the AC, the supply of musical instruments, teacher workshops, student workshops and the community concert. Teachers reported they are keen to cover the "arts" area of the AC and shared their thoughts about what could be added to the program that would benefit them. Teachers requested resources that align with the developmental stages of children in the following age groups 3-5, 6-8, 9-12,13-15.
Limestone Coast interviewees were forthcoming with their recommendations for improvement in the program. They request Musica Viva create and deliver music lessons over the internet (TI1), offer a detailed program and explicit directions about how to take the program further (TI5), share sequential units of work, videos and YouTube's of Adam teaching music that students can watch. TI5 asked for three different sets of YouTube's designed for three different sets of students; those who know how to play three notes, those who know how to play five notes and those who know the C major scale.
Staff reported that the extent to which a visiting performer can make a long term sustainable difference from a one- or two-day connection with a school is limited. Teachers believe that having the musician mentor them in the teaching of music on an ongoing basis would be useful. They asked for an artist-in-residence who could spend extended time in the classroom with students and teachers. These ideas are supported by Hardy (2012) who highlights the need for teachers to be involved in ongoing, sustained professional development in order for their classroom practice to change in a significant or meaningful way. In the absence of ongoing on-site support, the teachers linked to Limestone Coast tour are keen and interested to attend professional development through Skype[TM]. This suggestion is supported by Dezuanni et. al. (2015) who investigated the delivery of professional development in music teaching to staff in remote locations and conclude that the online space provides a legitimate and potentially transforming experience for primary school teachers. Adam inspired teacher participation and this inspiration is lost where teachers do not feel skilled enough to teach music without continued partnership with and support from the NGO.
There was an anomaly between the responses of the teaching staff linked with the two tours that is important to explore. There was agreement amongst staff from the 2015 Tour who noted the program empowered them to engage students in musical appreciation and improvisation. Whereas staff connected with the 2016 Tour were frustrated because they felt they need greater skill development, and ongoing support to ensure they can teach musical elements including the teaching of music theory and musical instruments. This difference relates to the definition of music teaching, explored in the literature review. Where some believe music teaching relates to the teaching of music making and musical appreciation where others believe music teaching is the teaching of music elements. The different responses from staff are no doubt due to the richer music ecology of the Limestone Coast when compared with Beyond Whyalla. The Limestone Coast incorporates a tertiary music academy in Mount Gambier, and local schools with rich music programs. Staff can, therefore, aspire to the delivery of formal music instrumental programs because they see and hear what is possible in their local rural towns. This highlights that when a school links with an NGO, there is a need to take into account the musical ecology of the region. This supports the NGO to match the elements of their program to the expectations of the partner schools.
The research concludes that the partnership between the schools and the NGO, Musica Viva, is a successful one and impacted positively on the learning of music by both staff and students. This study also concludes that the 2015 Beyond Whyalla and 2016 Limestone Coast programs, met the three aims of the Musica Viva in School program:
1) to impact on isolated regional South Australian communities, the learning of teachers and students and also the wellbeing of the community.
2) to inspire greater participation in the arts, focussing particularly on the engagement of teachers in teaching music but also the involvement of students in music activity.
3) to support teachers to sustain music education in regional communities, once the program has been delivered.
Additionally, this study concludes there are ways in which the relationships between schools and NGOs can be strengthened which would further improve the learning of music by students and teachers. The teachers offered recommendations, as mentioned above in the results. The Musica Viva program is highly valued by staff, students, parents and community. The visit by a professional performer, with a program designed to appeal to students, is key to the success of the Musica Viva in Schools Program.
Clearly, the partnership between schools and the NGO ensures a quality music education experience to disadvantaged students who live in remote and regional South Australian towns. The four elements to the program (live performance, student workshops, teacher workshops and community concert) are all highly valued by staff, students, parents and community. Furthermore, respondents reported that 2015 Beyond Whyalla enabled relationships between staff, students, parents and the broader community to deepen in the positive environment of music making which supports the development of the wellbeing of the community. A 2016 Limestone Coast respondent noted "We need Musica Viva to come to the Limestone Coast every year" (TI4).
This study concludes that the school-NGO partnership is valuable to these remote and disadvantaged towns. It determines the high level of success of the program is evidenced by the fact that the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and disengaged students remained captivated throughout the performances. Additionally, schools reported high numbers of parents attending the concert. And finally, generalist primary school classroom teachers reported feeling more able to incorporate music into their curriculum. Ultimately, this study concludes that the relationship between rural schools and an NGO has a positive impact on the teaching of music to students and teachers.
Finally, Anderson and White (2011) note that in Australia, knowledge about the scale, nature and impact of partnerships that schools create is limited by lack of research and evaluation and that contextualised knowledge on this topic in Australia is in its infancy. As funding of schools becomes tighter, and policy shifts encourage schools to create partnerships to deliver quality education, this area of research, that is the effectiveness of schools-NGO partnerships, will continue to grow. This article determines that these partnerships, when managed well, can make a difference to the learning and wellbeing of students, their teachers and community. This article offers itself as an example of how future investigations of school-NGO partnerships more generally might be pursued.
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Kathryn Gay Hardwick-Franco, Flinders University, Australia.
Table 1: Beyond Whyalla tour level of vulnerability and social disadvantage Column Two data taken from the AEDC data Census see http://www.aedc.gov.au/about-the-aedc (accessed 20160112). Column Three data taken from SEIFA see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf /2033.0.55.001. Please note the lower the number, the greater the level of disadvantage (accessed 20160112). Column One Column Two Name of city / town AEDC levels of vulnerability on one or more levels of vulnerability (2012) Adelaide 17% Australia 22% Ceduna 37.5% Port Augusta 36.5% Port Lincoln 22.4% Port Pirie 29.3% Sydney 8.2% Whyalla 25.2% Column One Column Three Name of city / town Social Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) (2011) Adelaide 978.31 Australia Not available Ceduna 931.69 Port Augusta 898.88 Port Lincoln 961.54 Port Pirie 875.02 Sydney 993.67 Whyalla 1012.501 Table 2: Limestone Coast tour level of vulnerability and social disadvantage Column Two data taken from AEDC data see http://www.aedc.gov.au/resources/2015-aedc-results (accessed 20170116). Column Three data taken from SEIFA see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf /2033.0.55.001 (accessed 20170116). Please note the lower the number, the greater the level of disadvantage. Column One Column Two Name of city / town AEDC level of vulnerability on one or more levels of vulnerability (2015) Allendale East 18.3% Adelaide 23.3% Australia 22% Glenburnie 18.3% Millicent 28.9% Moorak 18.3% Mount Gambier 29% Penola 28.9% Sydney 17.4% Column One Column Three Name of city / town Social Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) (2011) Allendale East 994 Adelaide 1036 Australia Not available Glenburnie 994 Millicent 918 Moorak 994 Mount Gambier 994 Penola 950 Sydney 1018 Table 3: Beyond Whyalla tour level of social- and economic-disadvantage Data for Column Two sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, using data that focused on the 2013 Local Government Association (LGA) http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?databyregion#/ (accessed 20170116). Data for Column Three sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, using LGA data dated 2011. http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?databyregion (accessed 20170116). Column One Column Two Column Three Name of Town Average Wage Unemployment rate (percentage of population) Ceduna $40,466 4.6% Port Lincoln $41,882 5.5% Port Pirie $43,668 7.4% Port Augusta $48,512 5.8% Whyalla $54,009 8.2% Australia $51,923 5.6% Sydney $56,383 5.8% Table 4: Limestone Coast tour level of social- and economic-disadvantage Data for Column Two sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, using data that focused on the 2013 Local Government Association (LGA) http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?databyregion#/ (accessed 20170116). Data for Column Three sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, using LGA data dated 2011. http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?databyregion (accessed 20170116). Musica Viva believes in sharing with children, "the excitement and power of a live performance" (see https://musicaviva.com.au/education/about-our-program/). This is well received by those Column One Column Two Column Three Name of Town Average Unemployment rate Wage (percentage of population) Allendale East $39,347 4.5% Glenburnie Moorak Mount Gambier $41,553 7% Millicent $38,138 6.1% Australia $44,940 5.6% Sydney $49,068 5.8% Whyalla $52,263 8.2%
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|Author:||Hardwick-Franco, Kathryn Gay|
|Publication:||Australian and International Journal of Rural Education|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2018|
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