Music falls flat during COVID

Vital music education is excluded from the state government’s roadmap, citing incompatibility with COVIDsafe guidelines.

Gippsland members of the Association of Music Educators (AMusE) have expressed their concerns. AMusE has written to Education Minister, James Merlino seeking a resolution with no response to date.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath highlighted the issue in State Parliament last week calling for the full return of music programs across all Victorian schools.

Ms Bath also called on the Minister to work with a music education taskforce to facilitate to return of music to schools and back into the community.

The taskforce brings together educators and music associations to support the sector and ensure music continues to thrive in schools and the wider community.

Ms Bath said brass and woodwind instruments and singing in schools and community settings remains banned indoors, hampering the education pathway of thousands of Victorians.

“Frustratingly there has been little dialogue with our music educators regarding restriction decisions,” said Ms Bath.

“The result is a reduction in employment of instrumental staff, interruption to the school curriculum and a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of students and the community.

“Our hardworking teachers and educators showed their adaptability through the first and second wave to deliver innovative lessons, however indoor music tuition has found itself left off the state government’s operations teaching guide.

“It is important that students are not unnecessarily denied the opportunity to access music as a subject or hampered from pursuing a career in music and the arts.”

Ms Bath said music teachers are well aware the need to minimise the risk of spreading exhaled vapour, however a blanket ban is a blunt instrument of defence.

“Music educators are seeking the opportunity to work with the state government to balance the needs of students, the community and health protocols.

“They aim is to develop a nuanced and staged roadmap for the return of music making in Victorian schools and the wider community as we move towards a COVID normal life.

“Music teachers are seeking the opportunity to use readily available peer-reviewed research and industry experience to make recommendations to make all music flourish in our schools again.

“I call on the Andrews Labor Government to work with our music educators and facilitate its safe return to the classroom.”