The School of Music's Music Engagement Program (MEP) was introduced in 1984 and has developed into a leading innovative programme that emphasises the value of music-making for all. The ACT Government has provided generous support throughout this time. In particular, for over ten years, the Government (through artsACT), in partnership with the School of Music at the Australian National University, has offered free professional development, in-school support and music-making opportunities to hundreds of teachers and thousands of students in the ACT.
The Program has received international recognition and acclamation for its innovative and inclusive socially-directed approach to supporting the provision of music education and music making.
Professional learning is now available to any and all teachers within the ACT, from early childhood through to secondary school, to both specialist and generalist teachers, regardless of previous experience or training in music education. All teachers who have received training are subsequently able to access ongoing training, teaching resources and in-school support. Teachers also have access to (and the ability to participate in) ongoing research being supported by the ANU. Members of the ACT community are also able to access the Program, which facilitates and provides access to dozens of community outreach and professional performance events each year.
The program is run by Founder and Artistic Director Dr Susan West and Convenor Georgia Pike, both of whom are School of Music academic staff and certified teachers as well as researchers and professional musicians. We believe one of the Program’s particular strengths is the inbuilt mechanisms for evaluation and evolution: the Program is constantly evaluated by all participants, both teachers and students, and evolves to meet the expressed needs of the communities it services. For example, the pressures of a crowded curriculum have resulted in the Program providing workshops which help teachers embed music across other areas of the school curriculum. In 2014 alone, the Program has trained over 180 individual teachers from over 70 schools.
The School also welcomes the Australian Government’s recognition of the importance of supporting the professional development of school teachers in music education as evidenced by the announcement of a National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Programme on 20 October 2014.