New book argues schools need to change their tune on music

November 14 / 149

Professor Katrina McFerran with Bayside College student Shaeima
Professor Katrina McFerran with Bayside College student Shaeima

Building strong learning cultures and communities in schools through music is the focus of ‘Creating Music Cultures in Schools’, a book launched at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music last week.

In the book, authors Associate Professor Katrina Skewes McFerran and Dr Daphne Rickson explore the powerful influence music programs can have on students’ wellbeing and connectedness in schools.

Dr McFerran is a music therapist and researcher at the University’s Music, Minds and Wellbeing initiative, and Dr Rickson is a lecturer in music therapy at the New Zealand School of Music

Dr McFerran said musicians had an important role to play in building resilient school communities.

“A range of programs are necessary to address a breadth of needs, from individual wellbeing, to peer connectedness and community values and identity,” she said. 

The book offers an expansion of traditional ways of using music in schools and hopes to inspire the reader to explore new ways of fostering growth in their own school community.

Dr McFerran said a key recommendation is to encourage a culture of music participation in schools. 

“Music participation is not about being perfect or talented. A non-judgmental stance is appropriate when an inclusive approach is being adopted at this level,” Dr McFerran said.  

“Just like everyone who does AusKick will not be an AFL player, nor does every student or teacher need to be a superstar. It's about joining in.”

The text is written for music specialists working in school communities, including music therapists, performers, and classroom and instrumental music teachers.

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