An Interim Report on the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program

The National Music Teacher Mentoring Program (NMTMP) is making a real difference in the lives of children across Australia.

The brain-child of Richard Gill AO one of Australia’s foremost music educators, this program seeks to improve the quality of music education through the mentoring of generalist classroom teachers by experienced music educators. Gill is committed to music education and works on the program pro bono which is implemented under the auspices of the AYO.

Our vision is to make high-quality music education available to every primary school child in Australia. 

The pilot program has been formally evaluated with an interim report by Professor Margaret Barrett from Creative Collaboratorium at the University of Queensland and the research findings highlight the musical and non-musical benefits for children and their teachers. As a model for contributing to the delivery of music education, mentoring is a cost-effective way of utilising existing expertise to upskill classroom teachers. The actual and potential benefits for children are multi-faceted and considerable.

‘I strongly believe in the value and joy that music brings to each and every one of us. That’s why I champion the serious business of teaching music properly in our schools. We have long known the benefits of a continuous and sequential music education on all learning and this program creates opportunities to bring the power of music to all classrooms in Australia,’ says Richard Gill AO. 

In two years the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program has surpassed all expectations in terms of participation and student, teacher, mentor and school outcomes. Teachers have improved confidence and competence in the teaching  of music and there is an improvement in student engagement, musical outcomes and student wellbeing.

‘Being a mentor is the most incredible professional development I’ve done in my life. It’s so powerful.’

Results to date show:

  • 97% of students have shown improvement in their musical competencies
  • 100% of teachers mentored have demonstrated improvement in their teaching competencies and confidence
  • 100% of mentors have improved professional confidence
  • Teachers who have been mentored have begun providing guidance to other generalist teachers on how to implement a music education program. 

'It has spread like fire across schools' was one mentor’s observation

Professor Margaret Barrett of the University of Queensland and Project Manager Bernadette McNamara presented a session on the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program  at the International Society for Music Education in Glasgow in July 2016.

It has commenced in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and more than 3000 students in more than 70 schools have benefitted.

A key factor in the success of any school music education program is the support of school principals. Principals have responded positively to the pilot and are eager to involve their staff and students. One school principal reports:  ’I think being mentored by somebody you’re connected to, who you can build a relationship with, is much more powerful than going to an external professional development course.’ Another principal commented – ‘as a program it offers professional learning that is real and meaningful because it’s actually in the classroom’; and ‘it’s had a positive impact on their attitude and their engagement in work and a bit of excitement about doing something very different.’

This pilot program is set to conclude in 2017 and we are currently seeking new avenues of support and funding to ensure its future. AYO sees this program as a valuable and efficient way of contributing to the musical education of all children. Whether future members of the AYO on stage or in the audience, the opportunity to learn music at a young age will be transforming. Our congratulations and sincere thanks to the Founder and director Richard Gill AO for his generous and visionary leadership of this program.

Read the summary of interim research findings here.