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Music: Count Us In
MCUI is Australia’s biggest school initiative. With support from The Australian Government, it has run since 2007 and is all about celebrating the value of music education to students’ development, whoever they are, wherever they are. It involves more than 600,000 students, teachers - and often parents – from schools all over Australia who sign up to learn, rehearse, then perform the same song, on the same day, at the same time.
Music: Count Us In is for all schools - primary and secondary, State and independent, nationwide. It doesn’t cost anything for schools to participate and all the support materials, including song charts and arrangements and classroom activity kits are freely available and downloadable.
What’s the performance date for this year?
Thursday, 31st October 2013
Who’s behind Music: Count Us In?
It is run by the Music Council of Australia’s national campaign to get more Aussies – in schools AND communities - making music, called Music: Play for Life. It is supported by funding from The Australian Government. The MCA is a non-government, not-for-profit peak body for music and is a registered charity.
Why is Music: Count Us In needed?
In late 2005, the federally-funded National Review of School Music Education was handed down. The Review found that most students miss out on meaningful music education in schools. It said that we needed to lift the status of music in schools, to remind teachers, parents, principals, kids and the community about the value and benefits of learning music.
What are those benefits?
Decades of research shows that learning music can help students’ self-confidence, self-discipline and team work. It can help students who might have lost interest re-engage in school, can improve school attendance and can even help students make healthy life choices. PLUS there are strong links between music learning and academic skills in literacy and numeracy. Research shows that music is unique in its flow-on benefits to students who learn it.
Don’t all schools already teach students music?
Not really, no. The key with meaningful music learning, as the Review says, is that it has to be ‘continuous, sequential and developmental’ for students to benefit. We know, for example, that as few as 23% of government schools are able to offer their students a music education which fits that bill - they would like to, but they lack the resources. In private schools, the number leaps up to 88%. The numbers vary greatly from State to State, but that ‘23% compared with 88%’ statistic reflects the national average. Music: Count Us In is about saying that ALL kids deserve music education.
What needs to happen to fix things?
The Review made many recommendations. It said the first step is to put music on the map in Australian schools, by explaining to the community its importance. That’s what Music: Count Us In is about. It’s not only a huge celebration of music in our schools, it’s also a way to spotlight the unique benefits to all Aussie students in learning music at school and to remind teachers, principals, parents and politicians that music should be central to every student’s education.
The Australian Government has included the Arts in the new National Curriculum, but it’s important that sufficient resources are provided to roll out any changes, including for more teacher training.
How does Music: Count Us In help?
Schools' participation in Music: Count Us In leads to pro-music decisions being made in those schools. This can cover everything from more students putting their hands up to join existing choirs and music ensembles, to principals deciding to allocate more time and resources to music.
More about music benefits here.