Comment on Schippers Briefing Paper 1

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The Schippers paper is Communities Contexts and Constructs

  1. How do we position community music and its role in Australia's musical landscape? Inclusion in local government policies eg community arts, recreation, wellbeing,disability, arts and cultural programs.Communities should be creators as well as consumers of musical activity. This should then be reflected in staffing and budgets at grass roots level. Community music should be a stand-alone category for local, state and federal funding bodies.
  2. Musical excellence can be applied to community music; however it must always be seen in the context of the activity, eg excellence can be achieved in the delivery and musical participation of a person with an acquired brain injury or an instrumental concert band program for beginner adults over 50 years.
  3. Can community music provide models for music education in schools (and beyond)? YES.
  • Community music schools well resourced with professional staff in partnership with school music programs can provide musical pathways, tuition and enrichment programs for all ages and all abilities.
  • Resources can be shared, school music teachers receive professional development and access to network support.
  • Small schools can access music education by sharing music staff, composers. equipment and can be linked using technology.
  • Classroom and instrumental music programs in schools must be sustained in partnership with community music.
4.   Implications: Because schools are always strapped for cash and have to make hard decisions re "so-called" specialists eg library, sport, visual arts or music it is possible that there would be an expectation that community music would provide all things musical.
  • A fee for service would marginalise some children and some parents may be unable to support the child in an instrumental program.
  • Some local government councils and state governments would have great difficulty supporting or understanding the value of community music and community music schools.
  • The Shire of Yarra Ranges in Victoria is a "Learning Community" and supports the Dandenong Ranges Music Council in partnership with Arts Victoria and the Australia Council.

Author

Bev McAlister, 2008

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