Richard Tognetti, Peter Sculthorpe and Richard Gill head petition to ensure every child receives a musical education.

Music advocacy group The Music Trust has launched an online petition calling for every child to have the opportunity to be involved with a music class, taught at least weekly, and by a trained music teacher.

While the Australian Curriculum contains a commitment to teaching the arts and music, it is the view of The Music Trust that a majority of primary school students miss out on this education due to a combination of ineffective teacher training and classroom instruction. The organisation emphasises the importance of classroom music teaching, as opposed to after-school band programs or merely individual tuition.

In Australia, classroom music teaching should form part of the teaching curriculum, and as such ensure that all students receive the benefit of a musical education, regardless of their socio-economic background. The Music Trust points out that, in a recent survey 63% of the schools that responded to their survey offered no classroom music instruction.

The Music Trust similarly targets teacher training, claiming that only 23% of government schools feature a music program taught by a specialist music teacher, as opposed to the 88% of independent schools.

Similarly, the Trust claims that the average primary school teacher receives only 17 hours of music education in an undergraduate degree, or 10 hours in a postgraduate degree, from which they are expected to teach music to the seven or eight years of primary school. This is significantly less than the 200 hours of instruction that Teachers Colleges or Colleges of Advanced Education provide (this figure is drawn from training of teachers in NSW by way of example).

The petition lists the support of many big names in Australian music, including Sarah Blasko, Richard Tognetti, Clare Bowditch, Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Gill, and Katie Noonan. The petition will be presented to the Minister for Education to help urge a change in how music education is handled in Australia.

Click here to sign the petition.