Difference between revisions of "Additions to Knowledge Base in 2015"

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Latest revision as of 19:47, 7 February 2016

Present and Future Changes and Their Role in the Scenarios

20 December 2015


The analytic depth carried out by various organisations differs to a great extent. Public statements of government policy often appear shallow though this may be partly for PR reasons. Both in the Music Trust and in our previous lives we have always tried to identify the ultimate causes and not just the direct or "proximate" causes of change. This is particularly important when looking decades ahead, as in the current music sector scenario project (or for that matter in the government's own 40-year intergenerational reports). Paper #13 in the scenario series briefly discusses the virtues of identifying ultimate causes of change, and not just what appear to be superficial direct ones. We strongly advocate that Australian politicians and their advisers take similarly long-term views, and publicise them.

Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future | Government Policies and Interventions

Creative Musicianship and Psychological Growth

14 December 2015


Dick Letts's doctoral thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, reflects his constant concern over the relegation of music to the sidelines of the school curriculum — a main reason why he founded The Music Trust in 2013. Prominent academic commentators as recently as 2015 have called the thesis "transformational" despite its more than 40 years long existence. It is highly appropriate that this work now becomes the second Music Trust e-book, and we hope it will be widely read on the Internet. It is an important contribution to the understanding of the subject of school music education which remains grossly undervalued and misunderstood.

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Issues | School Music Education | Music Trust e-books

The Arts on the Edge of Chaos

5 December 2015


This is the first Music Trust e-book of a batch of four to be entered by April 2016. The second is Richard Letts's PhD thesis described in the item above. The Arts on the Edge of Chaos is a hitherto unpublished manuscript dating from 1995. After twenty years, it is as fresh and original as when Dick wrote it, building on the emerging science of complexity and complex adaptive systems which originated mainly at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, under the tutelage of Nobel Prize winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann. The subject matter may seem esoteric at first sight but is not, and it deserves to be read by anyone with serious worries about the future of the arts in international and Australian culture.

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Issues | Mapping Music in Australia | Music Trust e-books

NAPLAN – a Brief Historical and Critical Summary

1 November 2015


Our critique of the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy is summarised in this article. It has received formidable support in the form of an open letter to parents and teachers from President Barack Obama to American parents and teachers, in which he calls for the proliferation of NAPLAN-like tests in the United States to cease. We strongly recommend listening to the President's audio-visual at the end of the White House document (follow link provided). The backup of our own analysis is powerful to say the least.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Music Education and Training | Government Policies and Interventions | International Perspectives | Statistics

Global Leadership Challenges: A Missing Link in the Scenario Planning

31 October 2015


The Music Trust's scenario project had already spawned eleven papers as we developed the approach in an open forum to give our readers a full view of the process. But we realised recently that one crucial external influence was missing which this paper rectifies — the exposure of Australia's music sector to the international tension associated with the rivalry of the current and emerging superpowers, America and China. It can no longer be ignored when we look at the prospects for music as a globally wide-open activity, for better or worse.

The set of what is now 12 scenario papers is listed below each of these papers.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future | International Perspectives | Statistics

Australian Classical Chamber Music Data

16 October 2015

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Another mapping and statistical cooperation within the Music Trust like that describing the success of Australian classical musicians abroad. Again there was sufficient basis for deriving plausible data from the lists pioneered by Dick Letts and described in the item below. Chamber music according to these findings are concentrated on the mainland capital cities, exclusively as home address is concerned but also in demonstrating that most performances by these ensembles take place in the capital city where they are based. An estimated one-third of the Australian population has no ready access to live performances of Australian classical chamber music groups.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Statistics | Chamber Music

16 October 2015

Australian Classical Chamber Music Ensembles


This is another initiative by Dick Letts following his initiative in identifying successful Australian musicians abroad (see items below dated 4 and 16 May 2015) and initially resulted in the identification of 75 ensembles, all domiciled in mainland capital cities (Perth might be underrepresented in the initial batch, with only three of the total number represented there). The article basically show the listed description of each ensemble, classified into piano trios and quartets, string quartets, single instrument family ensembles, mixed instrument family ensembles (at least initially the largest category), and vocal groups whether a cappella or accompanied (the smallest category). The descriptive tables show name of ensemble, its home city, member(s) to contact and website, and whether it has a formal residence, such as being sponsored by a university, church, performing arts centre or other institution. Each ensemble is also briefly described, mainly based on the websites of the ensembles. We invite all concerned to propose additions to these lists to build up a more comprehensive picture of this important musical artform.

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Mapping Music in Australia | Chamber Music

NAPLAN: Annual Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy in Schools

2 October 2015


NAPLAN is the acronym for the annual literacy and numeracy tests introduced into Australian schools in 2008. The tests have been severely criticised for disrupting the curriculum-based school teaching which with the have little in common. The annual event, including virtually all students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9, has harassed students, teachers and parents alike. It is also extremely costly, though much doesn't show up in official records but are internal to the schools having to reallocate their activities to deal not just with the date of the tests but also with the prior preparation of students which can be extensive. Finally, the annual tests give much the same results, suggesting that they need to be carried out more infrequently, say triennially. As this doesn't meet the criticism that the tests are irrelevant to the proper curriculum activities, a better solution would be a well-designed annual statistical survey, which would cost a fraction of the current multi-million dollar cost.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Statistics | School Music Education | Issues

Music: Universal Language? Between All Nations?

23 August 2015


Music is not a universal language in the sense that different styles and traditions can be automatically understood, say, between the western classical tradition and Australian Indigenous music. Most importantly, the cultural dimension is lacking. This keynote address from 1996 is one of the "classical" contributions to the Knowledge Base which has stood the test of time. It sets out the complexities of bringing cultural "ecosystems" together and nothing less than a full read of the address will do the subject justice. Highly recommended.

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Issues | Music Education and Training

Freedom of Musical Expression

3 August 2015

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Freemuse was founded in the late 1990s to attract attention to the internationally widespread music censorship, leading to death, arrests and other restrictions to musicians and composers. The findings are not strictly statistical but the initiative is important not least because of the extensive news commentaries published on the Freemuse website for about two-thirds of the world's almost 200 nations. This important information has the potential of becoming more purely statistical as the database grows.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Statistics | International Perspectives

Arts and Other Teachers in Australian Schools

14 July 2015

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The most comprehensive data on school teachers are from a triennial survey by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER). The latest survey in 2013 shows that 85% of all primary school teachers are generalist class teachers. Specialist music teachers in primary schools account for only 3.1% of total primary teachers (about 4,000 persons). Although some of these teachers are taking steps to improve their qualifications, the magnitude of these steps is a key issue for Australian school music, as discussed in other Knowledge Base papers. In junior high school, 3.4% currently teach music, in senior high school (years 11-12) 1.9%. The situation is further complicated because of a significant increase in the number of children born since 2008, which will necessitate a major program of building classrooms, initially for primary schools but extending into secondary schools from about 2018.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Statistics | School Music Education

How Much Does it Cost? A Guide to Commissioning New Music in Australia

5 July 2015


Matthew Lorenzon is a musicologist and PhD candidate working in the intersections of music history, economic and other social science, and philosophy. This article, the first in a series he is writing for the Partial Solutions blog and reprinted on the Knowledge Base with his permission, is a pioneering contribution to the under-researched subject of commissioning new music in Australia. The project was inspired by the realisation that little systematic information has indeed been assembled on the subject, an impression amply confirmed as the research progressed. It reviews the possible approaches to obtaining commissions and is a potential precursor for future statistical analysis of a truly creative activity. The Knowledge Base looks forward to cooperate further with the author on this and other subjects.

Author: Matthew Lorenzon        Categories: Issues | Composition | New Music

A First Set of Music Sector Scenarios

25 June 2015


This scenario paper (#11) marks the preliminary conclusion to the scenario project started 15 months ago. Previous papers set the ground rules, defining the framework for the scenarios and the global setting in which the Australian music sector has to be viewed. The crucial step was to create a two-way matrix with one axis representing the international setting as either "progressive" or "reactionary", — and the other axis defining that government policy takes either a relatively positive or a relatively negative view of the importance of cultural, educational and environmental policies. The four scenario stories are all part of this article, ranging from the "positive/positive" Culture Reigns as the best case to the "negative/negative" Sliding Inexorably as the worst. There are two other plausible stories in the matrix: one of a progressive world where Australian anti-culturally related policies prevail (Rugged Individualism), and the other depicting a reactionary, low-growth world (Vested Interests Prevail) where Australia and other medium-range countries nevertheless realise the value of culture and the natural ecology as long-term growth factors to be nurtured

A list of the special scenario papers (from #1, 27 March 2014) is shown at the end of each article in the series, including this one. These scenarios still have to be anchored to statistical analysis, which is planned for publication by the end of 2015.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future

Some Big Possible Positives - Or?

19 June 2015


Towards the end of the scenario project we encountered three reports which carry a prospect of pointing the way towards more powerful best cases, but also a greater risk of relative failure if not handled well by the international community. "Better growth, better climate" is a blueprint for a future incorporating growth into the long-term economic model — given concerted international action. "Greening Asia" describes how the Asian century started with huge pollution levels since the first decades concentrated on growth rather than the environment. "The new American university" describes the effort in the US to retain global leadership of higher education — while also achieving more equal opportunities to achieve a higher education domestically and internationally.

A list of the special scenario papers (from #1, March 2014) is shown at the end of each article in the series, including this one.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future

Honours Statistics

16 June 2015

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This statistical article compares recent Honours lists in 2014 and 2015 with the 2012 and 2013 Australia Day and Queen's Birthday lists — showing that the number of honoured music-related people halved between 2013 and 2014 and again between 2014 and 2015. So the number of Honours going to music people in 2015 was only a quarter of recipients in 2013. There was no reduction in the total number of Honours in the Australia Day and Queen's Birthday lists — in fact that number was higher in 2013, 2014 and 2015 than in 2012.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg.        Categories: Honours | Mapping Music in Australia

Comparative Advantage. Culture, Citizenship and Soft Power

11 June 2015


The need to redefine the nature of Australia's economy, search for new avenues of comparative advantage and embrace emerging ways of measuring intangible benefits has grown acute. There is strong international evidence that the cultural sector is growing strongly even while global trade is declining. Australia has distinct advantages which are not being exploited. The cultural sector goes far beyond the arts and should be regarded as doing so. Professor Schultz's paper provides potentially important support for the Music Trust's scenario-planning project.

Author: Julianne Schultz        Categories: Issues | Cross-cultural Influences | International Perspectives

Australian Honours: Queen's Birthday List, 2015

8 June 2015


The list of 22 music-related Australians receiving Honours on the Queen's Birthday in June 2015 was significantly longer than the very short Australia Day list on 26 January, and included four Officers, four Members, and 14 Medals of the Order of Australia. The total number was still low compared with previous years.

Author: Richard Letts.        Categories: Honours | Mapping Music in Australia

Successful Australian Classical Musicians Abroad – A Statistical Trial

16 May 2015

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The paper is a companion to Dick Letts's compilation of high-level classical musicians with internationally successful careers (see below). As the title implies, the companion paper is something of a experiment on how "soft" data can be extracted from purely verbal information. The introduction to the paper acknowledges and discusses the limitations of such an approach — nevertheless the patterns resulting from the analysis appear valid and gives new insights into an aspect of the Australian music sector that had not been researched until Dr Letts undertook the major task of undertaking the list which the current paper gives numerical content. There are two major sets of findings: main activities and positions of artists, and distributions by countries. The initial paper covered the 205 individual artists from the original compilation at the end of April 2015, but the list grew by as much as 98 during the first three weeks of May and by over 50% by the end of June. So the paper was completely updated, dated 1 July, but keeps growing. The underlying spreadsheets are being constantly updated to ensure ready further updating.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Statistics | Classical Music | International Perspectives

Australian Classical Musicians Successful Abroad at a High Level

4 May 2015


Dick Letts compiled this list in April 2015. It is the first time such a list has been constructed to demonstrate the important contribution that these classical musicians have made on the international scene, adding very significantly to Australia's cultural reputation abroad. The initial compilation had 205 names of individual artists (183 on a main list and 22 on a list of "early career artists"), but almost 100 additions brought the number to over 300 only three weeks after the first publications. Seven orchestras and ensembles are not included but can be explored on their respective websites. The information is necessarily compressed, showing broadly where these artists have worked and which organisations have employed them. Suggestions for further inclusions are most welcome.

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Mapping Music in Australia | Classical Music | International Perspectives

Tertiary Pre-service Courses for Primary School Specialist Music Teachers

23 April 2015


One of the main objectives of the Music Trust is to promote better primary school music education, regarded as something of an Achilles heal of Australian music education. This article examines 17 universities with available information, exploring whether they offer a qualification in specialist primary school music education, or offer substantial content but not a formal qualification. There are supplementary descriptions of the situation in Victoria (by Robin Stevens) and Queensland (from the website of Education Queensland).

Author: Richard Letts        Categories: Mapping Music in Australia | Post-Secondary Education | School Music Education

Valuing the Invaluable

5 March 2015


Statistics only tell part of the story of the total impact of a cultural activity. This paper demonstrates the parallel between ecological and cultural valuations, and for the first time shows how closely the model of Total Economic Value (TEV) developed for protected areas or ecosystems fits the music sector. TEV consists of the use values of a resource or sector which are only partly measurable in statistics or "GDP" terms, and non-use values driven by its future significance as a resource for future generations. This short paper is highly recommended reading for anyone who wishes to understand the true value of cultural activities like the music sector. Numbers just aren't enough.

A list of the special scenario papers (from #1, March 2014) is shown at the end of each article in the series, including this one.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future

Music Sector Structure for Scenarios

28 February 2015


This is a pivotal paper in the scenario project, defining the state of the music sector in qualitative terms in 2015, the origin of the 20-year scenarios (a statistical base is due for completion by mid-2015). The paper establishes four sets of special driving forces for the music sector, headlined Culture, Education, Infrastructure, and Innovation. All are explained in detail. The concluding section describes the music sector in 2015, and how it is influenced by general business conditions as well as the special driving forces. The paper provides the basis for narrative scenarios derived from the stories told in Four Global Scenarios Set the Stage.

Author: Hans Hoegh-Guldberg        Categories: Issues | Scenarios for the Future

ABC Classic FM as a Dynamic Force in Art Music

11 February 2015


ABC Classic FM is receiving reduced Australian government funding, especially following the 2014-15 budget, causing the ABC to reduce its program by half. In contrast, ABC's contemporary music network, Triple J, enjoys management favour. This paper summarises a Music Trust proposal for Classic FM to "do a Triple J" and take dynamic leadership of both classical and contemporary art music, increasing its very small audience of young people. Full paper on the Music Trust website.

Author: Richard Letts.        Categories: Issues | Broadcasting | Classical Music | Government Policies and Interventions

Reassessment of the Music Trust Advocacy Program in Support of School Music Education

11 February 2015


Summary of a Music Trust advocacy document defining the basic expectations Australia should have for school music education, and the obstacles preventing these expectations from being fulfilled — notably a lack of musically trained primary school teachers. While these obstacles will take a long time to overcome, some other factors give ground for some optimism. The advocacy document describes a program of four strategic initiatives aimed at school principals, parents, tertiary education, and research support. Full document on the Music Trust website.

Author: Richard Letts.        Categories: Issues | School Music Education

Australia Day Honours List 2015

27 January 2015


A relatively short list of eight music people receiving AOs and OAMs on this occasion, much shorter than in previous Queen's Birthday and Australia Day Honours lists. Click to see list at Music People Receiving Awards in the Australia Day Honours List 2015

Author: Richard Letts.        Categories: Honours | Mapping Music in Australia

Compiled by Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, editor, Knowledge Base.

For previous annual summaries, see Additions to Knowledge Base in 2014, Additions to Knowledge Base in 2013, Additions to Knowledge Base in 2012 and Additions to Knowledge Base in 2011

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