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Where is Music Heading?

The Music Trust's Knowledge Base combines two big tasks:

*To complete the analysis of the present status of all music in Australia — culturally, socially, economically and politically. Music faces formidable competition from numerous other activities, especially in the economic and political areas. What's more, the globally open music market makes it subject to huge threats and opportunities.

Alt=Best and worst cases

*Since 2014, the Knowledge Base has developed four scenarios to 2035 ranging from "best" to "worst" case — the chart shows a very wide range with no certainty of what can happen if no action is taken. Uncertainty starts at the global level. International politics and economics follow unpredictable directions, affecting individual countries and their respective economic and cultural sectors.

The first of fourteen scenario papers outlines the vision and also contains a list of the subsequent papers (paper #15 is in the pipeline). The four scenarios, with numerical forecasts for each, will be published as a Music Trust e-book in mid-2016. This will provide a means for corrective planning to secure the best possible solution for all activities, including the music sector — how to promote the best and shun the abysmal. The project is a world first for any artform.

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Complex Adaptive Systems (see middle column of this page) is a basic part of this research. Again, applying it to an artform is a world first.

The scenario papers form the category "Scenarios for the Future", which is found by clicking on Browsing on the menu bar above, then on All Categories.

Valuing the invaluable

Alt=Music TEV

Reflection should make anyone realise that culture is literally beyond valuation. One can put an economic value on traded goods and services and perhaps estimate other services derived from our great and indispensable cultural and ecological assets and ecosystems, but much remains out of reach. This is important for our music sector scenarios. Much ecological and cultural damage is beyond measurement.   Learn more...

Cultural funding is drying up


This is not news but our "money pig" keeps an essential issue open. Funding has been declining for several years now and institutional funding arrangements are under threat. We can hope that positive changes will happen under the Turnbull government but not too much is visible yet.   Learn more...

New on the Knowledge Base

Full list here .... Selected summaries below.

Proposal for a National Cultural Policy

Simon Crean was Commonwealth Minister for the Arts and in 2011, called for submissions to a national cultural policy. This paper is a set of proposals for the music sector but also covers important general issues. Such a comprehensive formulation is rare if not unique. Despite much digital disruption, most of the proposal still has relevance. Crean’s policy will be revived if Labor is returned to power in 2018.

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Commonwealth Arts Policy and Administration - 1908 to 2009

COMMONWEALTH ARTS POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION 1908-2009 is a paper tracing the history from just after Federation, written by an officer of the Parliamentary Library and intended to provide factual information for use in further policy development by governments, political parties and citizens. It offers detail from the time of the Whitlam government onwards.

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SWOT Analysis Of Music Education - Vocal Music

The SWOT ANALYSIS OF MUSIC EDUCATION – VOCAL MUSIC is preceded by an introduction laying out basics of voice science, pedagogical issues and benefits of singing. A Conclusion includes possible roles for the Australian National Association for Teachers of Singing in addressing threats and weaknesses listed in the SWOT and picking up on some of the opportunities.

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SWOT Analysis of Historical Research in Music Education in Australia

The SWOT ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN MUSIC EDUCATION gives detail of the history and present situation of this research. It notes the practical importance of the contents of this research, with the record of past success and failures of music education available to guide new initiatives. Neglect of the research makes it likely that past lessons are not brought to bear.

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A Bibliography of Historical Research in Music Education in Australia

A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN MUSIC EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA. This remarkable bibliography comprises all known sources of information relating to the foundation and subsequent development of music education in Australia and the life and work of Australian and overseas music educators who have been prominent in Australian music education.

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SWOT Analysis of Music Teachers’ Association of Queensland

This is primarily an analysis of the MTAQ. It records the valuable role that the MTAQ plays through its Brisbane HQ and regional branches. Among the recorded weaknesses is a perception that it is a pianist-only organisation. The main threat is the lack of regulation of standards and public ignorance of their value. Opportunities lie in boosting teacher education and professionalism and building membership, especially of younger teachers.

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SWOT Analysis of Copyright

This brief treatment goes to key issues confronting copyright in a time of digital disruption and sometimes unwise formulations by governments or their agencies. The copyright industry is the third-largest in Australia and its health must be a priority for industry stakeholders and government.

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Australian music demands bold action for the 21st century

In his Peggy Glanville-Hicks address for 2017, Kim Williams observes a flagging commitment to vitality in the arts, especially by government, in a period where we are immersed in technological changes and disruptions – of which he gives a detailed listing. He is especially concerned with the lukewarm official interest in art music. He proposes a new boldness in the support of “ideas that produce great, compelling work”.

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Musical Theatre in Australia

MUSICAL THEATRE IN AUSTRALIA is a mapping article that describes the history of the Broadway musical in New York and then in Australia, the musicals written in Australia, the Australian industry, training, and some recent audience data.

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SWOT Analysis of the Australian Musical

The SWOT for the Australian musical is about the situation for the creation and production of musicals in Australia. A detailed preamble can be found under the title Musical Theatre in Australia, and there a further introduction at the top of the SWOT. The SWOT gives information and analyses for five categories of Australian musicals, based on scale. It concludes with a summatory SWOT for the entire musical theatre sector.

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SWOT Analysis of Music Libraries in Australia - 2017

The MUSIC LIBRARIES SWOT describes a situation in which a downgrading of the use of subject area specialists in favour of generalists is affecting library services for music. The increasing use of digitisation is also changing the nature of services and their delivery.

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SWOT Analysis of Classical Music - 2017

This SWOT attempts to be comprehensive. It covers the circumstances of classical music in school and tertiary education, music composition, classical music performance, recording and classical music’s presence in the media. Each assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in these sections is preceded by a brief factual description.

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BAMER is the Bibliography of Australian Music Education Research, a database of music education research studies undertaken at Australian universities or by Australian music education researchers at overseas institutions. Where available, abstracts have been included. Currently, there are over 570 research studies including masters and doctoral theses and dissertations held in university libraries and smaller research studies held in departmental libraries or privately. Compiled by Assoc. Prof. Robin Stevens.`

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SWOT Analysis of Local Government and Music

There are some 550 local or regional governments in Australia. As supporters of culture they tend to be overshadowed by state and national government but are actually quite important. With their close connections to community affairs and needs, they can give flexible support to diverse activities. However, programming and support can lack professional focus and skill. There is potential for development of a more substantial and better targeted role.

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The SWOT gives a definition of this necessarily complex and diffuse field of activity. It has powerful Strengths including its benefits, diversity and accessibility. It is registered as a Weakness that there is no commonly held concept of identity or purpose. It lacks the governmental support given to “excellent” music organisation such as the professional orchestras but there is opportunity for development and support along a multiplicity of paths.

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Australia has full-time professional orchestras in all capital cities except Canberra and Darwin and as well, a number of part time professional orchestras in the largest cities. This is a very detailed SWOT and cannot be summarised in a small space. The orchestras have strong audience support and high standards. They have difficulties from such things as declining general education in music, geography, constrained financial support both public and private. They are taking opportunities for development in such areas as international touring and the benefits it brings for artistic vitality though there are few financially.

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This SWOT analyses the situation of the Australian capital cities youth orchestras, omitting Darwin. In these cities, the large population base can sustain large and complex organisations: eg the Sydney Youth Orchestras actually comprises 12 orchestras. The level of accomplishment is high and for some, the youth orchestras are a valuable pathway towards professional orchestral careers. Their very size can be a problem; how to find a rehearsal venue for 12 orchestras? It is a field in which there is jostling and competition. Where to fit in the hierarchy? Naturally there are funding issues – the state orchestras, despite their importance, no longer get federal funding though their prestige can attract private support.

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Loudmouth whispers!

The Music Trust’s monthly ezine has music news, articles, reviews, goss from Australia and all over the world. CLICK for current edition.




CONTEMPORARY Tribute to Silverchair by 8 gr8 bands / The Church: ManWomanLifeDeathInfinity and that’s not all / Hannah Walker unusual singer-songwriter – Just Leave Me Here

WORLD Makindu – Indian+jazz+.

JAZZ Tony Gould remembers 8 gr8 Aussie jazz muso’s / Spyglass Gypsies – gypsy jazz with zip.

CLASSICAL Mozart Requiem – Cantillation, Orchestra of Antipodes, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and more, Antony Walker / Pianist Jayson Gillham/MSO – Medtner/Rachmaninoff / Miriam Hyde (dec.) plays her own piano music.

BAROQUE MUSIC Cello Napoletano - Tasmania’s Van Dieman’s Band CD debut / Marais Project – Spinning Forth, with viols + cross-genre music.

NEW MUSIC Prayer for Nil – Jessica Aszodi / Song of the Central Tree – Ron Nagorcka / Moravian Philharmonic plays Andrew Schultz / New Sounds Brisbane festival, LIVE CONCERTS.


BIOGRAPHIES Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man, 490 pages of uproar / Tex, Tex Perkins’s all-male memoir / Danger Music – Emma now Eddie Ayres leaves the ABC, teaches cello in Kabul, including to girls, has gender change..

You can read this month’s reviews at the link below and also all the reviews ever published on the site – now over 500. Search by title, artist, genre, reviewer. Go to Loudmouth Reviews

While you are there, if you click on the “Loudmouth” logo at top left, you will open the rest of the month’s ezine.

Jack Symonds

About Us

The Music Trust’s Music in Australia Knowledge Base is the principal source on Australian music sector facts, figures and issues. It covers the entire music sector including the music industry, music education, and music in the community. This superior source constantly takes new steps to understand the future — including the milestone 2014-16 scenario planning project.

The Knowledge Base content is prepared by authoritative writers, contributing their work freely. Readers are invited to comment, contribute or suggest new content. Guidelines for Contributors allows your personal style to fit in. Please contact us with original material or changes to existing articles.

Finding your way around


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