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PRESIDENT'S WELCOME I think many might agree that MTASA’s Expo at Thebarton Community Centre on Sunday September 23 was our best so far. Samantha Penny, Sofie Arhontoulis, Pete Barter and their sub-committee are to be congratulated on producing a very smoothly run professional show that seemed to tick all the boxes.  Two separate spaces enabled some very interesting presentations by visiting speaker Sam Coates (BlitzBooks) to function unimpeded by the hustle and bustle in the main space.  This space was laid out very well for exhibitors most of whom seemed pleased with their patronage and the overall vibe.  More and more businesses and organisations seem to be interested in being present so we hope for even more of a bumper year in 2019. 2019 promises to be a year of consolidation following the many changes in MTASA this year and last.  We are conscious that it is easy to run ‘projects’ which disappear as suddenly as they appeared, but making new developments stick is far harder.  From our new website to our revised magazine and changed yearly events there is still much to do in improving the service we offer and council members are busily engaged in doing just that.

Many thanks to Masako Kondo and the organisers of our second Concert Performance Day, too. The report herein gives more details but MTASA is pleased to offer events like this as long as demand remains, and that was certainly so on this occasion.  We are hoping to attract an ever greater variety of items in future and intend to go on selecting venues that can cope with solos, ensembles and various styles.

I was heartened by the election of MTASA’s new Council at our AGM during the Expo which contains some new faces and as well as familiar ones.  Continuity and renewal are vitally important in such a body and we are fortunate in our council membership.  There are hugely talented people there and I applaud the work they do very willingly.  So it was a great pleasure to acknowledge in Council the award of an OAM to our Vice President Robert Brown who richly deserved this recognition of his immense contribution to SA’s musical scene.   My very best wishes to all MTASA members for a successful end to 2018 and a pleasant break over Christmas.

2019 promises to be a year of consolidation following

Rodney Smith, President

the many changes in MTASA this year and last. 2


Print Post Pub. No 100003224 VOLUME 26 NO 4 – Summer 2018


PATRONS:                    Dr Doreen Bridges AM Emeritus Professor David Lockett AM PRESIDENT:                 Rodney Smith VICE PRESIDENT:         Robert Brown OAM SECRETARY:                 Masako Kondo TREASURER:                Samantha Penny AUDITOR:                    Australian Independent Audit Services COUNCIL 2017/2018: Sofie Arhontoulis, Pete Barter, Robert Boundy, Robert Brown OAM, Naomi Hede, Masako Kondo, Monika Laczofy, Heather Lander, David Metin, Samantha Penny, Rodney Smith, Ian Vayne   EDITOR:                       Robert Brown OAM Layout:                        Masako Kondo   MEMBERSHIP ENQUIRIES to the Secretary – PO BOX 4, RUNDLE MALL, ADELAIDE SA 5000 Mobile: 0402 575 219 E-mail:   ADVERTISING – Please contact the Secretary Please see MEMBER INFORMATION page for Advertising Price List.   CONTRIBUTIONS and DEADLINES for 2019 Contributions to SA Music Teachers are most welcome.  All items to be included must reach the Editor, Robert Brown OAM ( no later than these deadlines: Thursday January 31, Tuesday April 30, Tuesday July 16, Thursday October 31.   MTASA WEBSITE Please visit   MTASA FACEBOOK

Please visit the MTASA Facebook page at

The photograph on the front cover was taken at Eight Mile Creek (in the south east) by Samantha Penny.



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A CHANGE TO MTASA’S CONSTITUTION A Special General Meeting was held on Sunday September 23 during the Music Educators Expo to consider a proposed change to a section of clause 15, part b, of the MTASA Constitution. At the time it read ‘An Annual General Meeting shall be held each year within three months of the end of The Associations’ financial year ...’  The MTASA members present voted to accept the proposed change, which was to increase the period to ‘within five months of the end of The Associations’ financial year …’

NEW MUSIC DIARY Selling for $7 each, the proceeds support MTASA. The Music Diary features day-to-a-page journaling, staves for each week, holiday challenges and games every ten pages, with space for personal notes, lists and goal setting.  Visit for more information.

Madley Rehearsal Studio

February 17

Professional Development Day Keeping today’s pupils motivated

April 13

Salvation Army Citadel, Norwood

Concert Performance Day 1

Madley Rehearsal Studio

June 22 and 23

Competition Days The Reimann-Robinson Scholarship is open to all instrumental/vocal students of any member of the MTASA who are teaching in a private capacity.  Open to students who are 18 years or under on the closing day of entry to the Scholarship.  The Miriam Hyde Open Award is open to all instrumental/vocal students of any member of the MTASA or related organizations.  Open to students of any age.  The Miriam Hyde Junior Award is open to all instrumental/vocal students of any member of the MTASA or related organizations.  Open to students under 15 years of age on the closing date of entry.  The Norman Sellick Memorial Prize is open to all instrumental/vocal students of any member of the MTASA who are teaching in a private capacity.  Open to students who are 12 years or under on the closing day of entries to the competition.

Westminster School Band Room, Marion

August 25

Concert Performance Day 2 Early September

Piano lecture and Masterclass with Virginia Black (UK)


September 22

Thebarton Community Centre


Music Educators' Expo November 3

Professional Development Day, AGM and Dinner Accent on Woodwind

Aon, our recommended insurance provider, has over 50 years experience and a dedicated Entertainment team who understand your needs. As the New Year is already upon us, what better time than now to organise your cover and peace of mind for the rest of the year!   Aon’s Music Teacher Insurance Policy is affordable, easily purchasable online and comprehensive, covering you for Public and Product liability (including wrongful allegation), Professional liability and Personal accident.   For more information and to buy online visit


In July CEASA (Council of Education Associations of South Australia) changed its name to Educators SA, which has a new logo. This is to prevent confusion with Catholic Education SA (CESA) and to make the association’s purpose clearer.  More information is available on their webpage at   As a member of Educators SA, MTASA can offer benefits to its members.  Two are listed here.   Andersons Solicitors offer MTASA members: •          10% off legal services, in ALL areas. •          Free initial phone conversation with a lawyer. When contacting Andersons Solicitors tell them you are a member of MTASA, which is a member organisation of Educators SA (CEASA).  Visit the website at   Credit Union SA has a range of education only offers.  Visit the website at munity/education-communitybanking-benefits/ for more information.

OTHER ORGANISATION’S EVENTS SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSIC CAMP 2019 South Australian Music Camp 2019 will be held in July. The Camp offers instrumentalists aged from nine to twentythree years an opportunity to play in one of five orchestras or concert bands which cater for a wide range of ages, standards and levels of experience.  The daily routine includes a mixture of tutorials and rehearsals.  State Music Camp will culminate with a concert that showcases the achievements of the five ensembles.  For more information please visit the website at  Auditions will be held towards the end of Term 1.


The 23rd Balaklava Eisteddfod will be held from August 2-4, 2019. Disciplines included are Instrumental Ensembles, Bands, Choirs, Vocal Ensembles, Vocal, Musical Theatre, Contemporary Vocal, Instrumental, Piano, Speech and Drama and the Finale Concert including adjudication of the ‘Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir’ Vocal Scholarship.  Visit, the Facebook page at or e-mail for more information.  Entries open on April 1 and close on May 6.



Entries for the 2019 Adelaide Eisteddfod will be via Stardom; go to All of the participating competitions can be viewed from the Homepage.  To enter a competition you will need to be registered to login.  Visit the Adelaide Eisteddfod website at to read the General Rules and look for any news.  Entries will close on April 12 at 5 pm.  No late entries will be accepted.  Divisions being offered in the 2019 Adelaide Eisteddfod will include Choral, Vocal, Piano, String, Guitar, Flute, Recorder, Woodwind, Brass, Eisteddfod Ensemble Event and Eisteddfod Concerto.   Entry in the SA Final of Young Virtuoso, offered by the Australian Fine Music Network of community radio stations, is through the Adelaide Eisteddfod.  The winner of the National Final will receive the Young Virtuoso Scholarship of $10,000.  The adjudicators will select the SA finalists through Recitals offered via the Vocal, Piano, String, Guitar, Flute, Woodwind, Recorder and Brass Divisions.  The SA Final for Young Virtuoso will be held on Sunday October 13, 2.30 pm, at St John’s Church, Halifax Street, Adelaide.  The prizes for the SA Final will be: Vocal Prize: $750; Instrumental Prize: $750, SA Finalist Prize: $1,500.  The National Final will be held in Adelaide at St John’s Church on Sunday November 24.

The Adelaide Eisteddfod Society needs an Assistant Development Fund Treasurer.  This position involves assisting with recording paid sponsorship and issuing receipts, issuing invoices for unpaid sponsorship and looking after the Trust Funds and investments.  Please contact Brenda Rayner (8366 6531) for more information.


RESPONDING TO ABUSE AND NEGLECT (RAN) TRAINING The 2015-2017 RAN training certificate expires on December 31, 2018. The 2018-2020 RAN training replaces the 2015-2017 RAN training and the certificate for this expires on December 31, 2021.  Ensure that you do the 2018-2020 RAN training, or update the 2015-2017 RAN training on-line, so you can continue to teach at schools and work with children and young people.  New music teachers need to do RAN training to teach in schools.  RAN training covers recognition of suspected child abuse, to know how and when to notify child abuse and legal responsibilities regarding notification of suspected child abuse.  Music teachers are mandated notifiers and need to undertake RAN training.  Educators SA presents RAN training at the Education Development Centre, Hindmarsh.  Visit the website at ng-to-abuse-and-neglect/ for further information and to enrol.

MTASA MEMBERSHIP FEE INCREASES MTASA membership fees have been increased. This allows the Association to continue providing a sustainable service for its members.   The new membership fees are: Full member $120 Student $60 Friend $30 Institution $30

MTASA MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION RENEWALS 2018/2019 Subscription renewal notices were sent via e-mail midyear to remind members to log in and renew their membership for the new financial year. The increased membership fees were applied in this billing cycle.  If you didn’t receive an e-mail please check your spam folder.  You can log in at any time to renew your membership.  If it seems that you didn’t receive an e-mail, have forgotten your username or are having problems logging in please contact Masako Kondo (  Paper invoices were sent to members who preferred to receive them.

MOUNT GAMBIER EISTEDDFOD The Mount Gambier Eisteddfod is part of the ongoing work of Backstage Incorporated (founded in 1978). Enquiries, Secretary, Backstage Inc., PO Box 1711, Mount Gambier, SA 5290, Ph./fax 8725-5905, e-mail, or visit for further information.  Entries will be via Stardom, visit and look for ‘Mt Gambier Eisteddfod’ under ‘Competitions’.  Choral, Vocal and Music competitions are held in July and August.


RECOMMENDED TEACHING FEES The following teaching rates are recommended to members by the MTASA Council for 2018/2019. Full Member - $73 per hour Associate Member - $62 per hour Student Member - $46.50 per hour

DIRECTORY OF TEACHERS OF MUSIC The MTASA Council has decided not to publish another edition of ‘The Directory of Teachers of Music’ because it is available to all on the MTASA website at Please advise Masako Kondo ( of any updates or errors.


METROPOLITAN MALE CHOIR ANNUAL MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP FOR 2019 The Metropolitan Male Choir Annual Music Scholarship will be offered again in 2019. Applications from young musicians are invited from May/June onwards each year with auditions usually held in September.  Visit for more information.


TEACHERS OF THEORY/MUSIC -IANSHIP To be listed in the ‘The Directory of Teachers of Music’ as a teacher of theory/musicianship applicants for Full or Student membership must supply evidence of having completed studies in this field to at least AMEB 5th Grade theory/musicianship standard or equivalent.



Pilgrim Church, 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide, at 12-10 pm and 1-10 pm. Adults: $5.  Tickets at the door.  Enquiries, mobile 0432114-127, e-mail  Visit u/ for more information.


Lunch Hour Concert Series, Fridays, 1-10 pm. General admission: $12. Gold Pass Subscriptions available. Evening Concert Series. 6-30 pm. Ticket Prices: $30 Adult; $24 Concession; $19.50 Student. Visit for more information.


Full members of the Music Teachers’ Association of South Australia may use the letters MMTA (member of Music Teachers’ Association) as a post-nominal while they are financial members. Interstate Music Teachers Associations are also encouraging their members to use this or a similar postnominal.

MTASA MEMBERSHIP NOTES Visit members/become-a-member/ to join MTASA. Current Full, Student or Associate Members are not required to submit any supporting documentation to continue their MTASA membership.  Anyone applying for Full Membership (either Tertiary Level Qualification and Study or Recognition of Prior Learning and Experience) or Student Membership for the first time must fulfil all of the requirements listed and submit the appropriate supporting documentation.  Associate Membership is no longer being offered but those who were Associate Members on September 24, 2017 can continue their membership provided they remain as financial members.  Full Membership (Recognition of Prior Learning and Experience) has replaced General Membership.   MTASA Members are always encouraged to write to the Secretary about any concerns that they may have.  The MTASA Council will consider your request.

EVENT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Enthusiastic volunteers are needed to help with various jobs at MTASA events. Tasks include setting up chairs, tables and piano, helping with registration at the check in table, ushering, assisting performers, helping with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, and packing up afterwards.   It is a great way to network and a volunteering certificate will be provided, which will enhance your CV!   For more information please email the Secretary, Masako Kondo, at

PEDAGOGY MATTERS by Rodney Smith The times, they are a changin’. Our multicultural society is no exception and more parents now seem to be looking towards overseas models of instrumental teaching that emphasize an early start and technical training as priorities.  They appear to be happy when their five-year-old manages a classical sonatina or sings a complicated popular song and does well at concerts and competitions.   Many teachers are aware of the difficulties associated with this approach, which necessarily omits meaningful development of musical understanding and musicianship skills.  Often music reading remains poor, not to mention aural awareness.   But what can studio teachers do?  Many are freelance and at the mercy of market trends.  Some appear to be just ‘doing their best’ using their accustomed tools, developed for pupils aged 7 and 8.  But will whizzing through the early Grades in the way some parents want really work for five or even four-year-olds?

In past years learning an instrument in Australia was sensibly reserved for ages when motor skills and cognition had developed sufficiently to manage the twin challenges of technical development and musical perception.  Generally that meant around age seven minimum.  Parents looking for music tuition before that age often enrolled their children in music classes that targeted general skills and understanding suitable for fours, fives or sixes.   The prospect of teaching these very young people to play an instrument in an environment bereft of teaching aids - such as a school practice room - and with insufficient research into the specialist approaches, must be daunting to many.  Yet they go on doing it, as the thought of saying no, losing pupils and possible credibility at their school doesn’t bear thinking about.   The key, of course, lies with the teacher.  Managing the very young pupil using the right approaches and teaching aids demands time and energy to master.  But it should be done if the teacher is to succeed in the long run.   Yet, where else would a teacher be asked to work with Receptions one minute and Year 10s the next?  The system is faulty, but the instrumental teaching profession isn’t strong or well organized enough to oppose its current role in it.  Many schools are making a considerable investment in early childhood education and the leadership teams’ opinion seems to be ’if the parents want instrumental music lessons they shall have it’.   Educationally, the group or class mode, using a general musicianship approach is infinitely superior for very young pupils.  However many parents see group lessons as an inferior option for their child.  They believe they won’t progress as quickly, meaning by that performing more difficult pieces.  And large numbers of studio teachers haven’t developed skills in that sort of teaching and possibly don’t want to.  Indeed some have entered the profession in the first place to get away from ‘that sort of teaching’.

It is hoped that a portion of MTASA’s future PD sessions can offer assistance to those teachers faced with this difficult dilemma.  ‘Do I love it or list it?’ seems to be a bit of a cliff hanger that is increasingly being faced by many.


FIVE MINUTES WITH JANE BURGESS Hayley meets the Performance Professional and Piano Teacher


The Music Teachers’ Association extends a warm welcome to the following music teachers who have joined the association. We are looking forward to meeting them at our events. -Ian Vayne, Full Member, Acc, OE, P, V, S -Amanda Grigg, Full Member, PERC -Arwen Falting, Full Member. P, T -Kathleen Lawler, Friend

by Hayley Wedding Music Teachers are all too familiar with the art of performance and how it influences instrumental learning. From beginner concerts, to preliminary exams, to SACE Performance, the benefits that stem from early performing are endless.   Jane Burgess has extensive experience as a performer, examiner and piano tutor.  Having built a career of all three avenues, meeting with Jane proved an extremely valuable insight into the benefits of Music Performance.  Read here for her teaching tips, tips for students and the incredible available opportunities in performance around Adelaide!

1. How long have you built your career in Convening the Piano Division of the Adelaide Eisteddfod and examining with the AMEB? I commenced my role as Convenor of the Piano Division of the Adelaide Eisteddfod at the end of 2009 and as an AMEB Piano examiner in 2011. These roles are in addition to teaching piano at Scotch College and in my own private Piano Studio.   Since 2009 the Adelaide Eisteddfod Piano Division has grown from 26 sections run over three days, to 41 sections run over eight days.  The Eisteddfod is open to everyone and regularly attracts students from South Australian and other States.  For the first time in 2018, the Piano Division attracted competitors from two other countries.

2. For new teachers, can you please explain what these two organisations provide to Music students? The AMEB and the Adelaide Eisteddfod Society provide the opportunity for students to prepare and deliver a performance program and to receive written feedback. Students who perform in an AMEB examination present to an examiner who assesses how well that performance meets the Objectives of any given level using the Grading Descriptors to assign a grade.  The Objectives and Grading Descriptors are published in the AMEB Syllabus and can be found online on the AMEB website.  The repertoire performed in an AMEB examination in most cases is chosen from a selection of pieces listed in the syllabus.  Students receive a written report and a certificate.


TEACHING IN THE COUNTRY In recent years each issue of SA Music Teacher has included an article about music teaching in a country region of South Australia. No article was received this time and there are some regions that haven’t been visited yet.  If you haven’t done so please write something – it doesn’t need to be very long – and also include a photo.  If you have written something before you are welcome to send an update.  E-mail to Robert Brown at

CONTRIBUTIONS TO SA MUSIC TEACHER The Editor is always looking for things to include in SA Music Teacher. Articles can be about any music related topic.  If you would like to write an article this is your invitation!  A helpful hint, a comment, a joke, a poem, a cartoon, etc. … please e-mail them to Robert Brown at

The Eisteddfod performance opportunity is more like a concert situation as students are performing in front of an audience of other competitors, parents and the General Public. The winners of each section are chosen by an appointed adjudicator.  Convincing performances are more likely to be winning performances.  Convincing performances display a range of attributes including carefully chosen and age appropriate repertoire that is performed to a high musical standard.  Each Division of the Eisteddfod has a syllabus that can be found on the website, outlining the conditions of each section.  In most cases students choose the pieces they perform in each section based on the section requirements.

3. Do you believe these two separate performing opportunities bring different value to a student’s learning? How? Both organisations provide a platform for students to prepare and perform at a high level. While the performance settings of both organisations are different, the written feedback given can provide useful information to further develop a student’s technique, musicianship and performance skills.   In addition to winning prizes for performance excellence, the Eisteddfod can offer a performance platform for students preparing for exams, scholarships, auditions and competitions.   The AMEB gives a snapshot of a student’s achievement and musical development in the form of a grade.

4. How important do you think performing is to a student’s progress in Music Education? And why? Performance opportunities of any kind are always valuable for students wanting to develop and refine their skills as a musician and performer. Playing a piece to an audience has the ability to highlight areas of weakness that under pressure are not secure.  Before doing a concert, exam or a public performance encourage as many mini concerts as possible in front of family or friends to iron out these insecurities.  Video the performance and watch it back for the purpose of self-reflection and improvement.   Performing is a great motivator.  It gives students a goal to work towards and helps them to organise their time to achieve this goal within given timeframes.   Performing inspires growth, development, self-reflection and the desire for improvement.

5. What is your advice for teachers in coaching students dealing with pre-concert nerves? Most students enjoy playing. However some students need to learn to the art of enjoyment in their playing during a performance.   The more a student is exposed to performing the more natural it can become.  This does not mean that a student will not become nervous before a performance.  Learning how to embrace and ride on top of this nervous energy during the performance is necessary.   To achieve this, students need to be fully focused on what they are playing during a performance.  There is no room for any other thoughts.   Students need to accept the reality that no performance is flawless.  Unplanned events can and will happen and need to be immediately left behind.  You can’t change anything thing that has happened and need to maintain a focus on what is to come.  It is like driving a car.  If you spend too much time looking at where you have been rather than where you are going you are destined to crash.  Likewise, if you focus on the mishap while performing, one small mistake can turn into a series of stumbles leading to a major crash.   Preparation is key to any performance.  Well prepared performers have no need for nerves.  It is often said that if you prepare 200% you can afford to lose 100% during a performance.   Keeping focused on every little detail in the music facilitates a more musical performance and chases away any room for unproductive nervous thoughts. Meeting with Jane was such a pleasure.  As a new and growing music educator myself, tips and tricks for building student confidence, self belief and performance etiquette are extremely valuable.  It was beautiful to see Jane’s passion toward growing student confidence in performance, and the value such encouragement can bring to a child’s musical success.  Jane, thank you for your advice in teaching music performance - your insight is priceless!


A social event held to meet Judith Weir, left, (composer of the new Oboe Concerto premiered by Celia Craig with the ASO recently) with Richard and Celia Craig



EDITOR: REEDING MATTER ‘The Australasian Double Reed Society aims to promote and enhance knowledge of double reed instruments and interaction between double reed players in the Australasian region and to maintain close links with members of similar societies throughout the world’. Membership of the ADRS consists of a large cross-range of the double reed community, including professional players in major symphony orchestras, freelance professional players, woodwind educators, students in the secondary and tertiary sectors, enthusiasts and amateur players.   The ADRS achieves its aims with a team of enthusiastic committee members who generously give their time and talents voluntarily to further the cause of the ADRS objectives.   Our Society is privileged to have active representatives located in major cities throughout Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.   Popular events are held in each represented state and include recitals, master-classes, activities days, reed-making A posture session with Alison Bell (Physiotherapist)

demonstrations and workshops, performance practice workshops, lectures, teachers forums, double reed ensemble ‘big blows’ and social events where players of all levels can get to know each other.


The ADRS is proud to have been the host for an International Double Reed Society Conference held in Melbourne in 2004. This was significant not only for the expansion in the interest of double reed practice in the region but also indicates the advancement and achievement of the ADRS, Australasian music and double reed performance.

Success has been achieved through the promotion of events, the publication of the journal Reeding Matter (published three times per year by a team based in Adelaide!), support from music trade and service organisations, and an everincreasing membership base.

Mark Gaydon and Matthew Wilkie at the ADRS National Conference in Melbourne in early October


The Reeding Matter team (Josie Hawkes,

Jack Schiller performing in the SA annual

Charles Klein, Caryl Lambourn) at an ADRS

concert in St John’s Church

National Conference in Sydney


HEART STRINGS: TEACHING IN THE TERRITORY BY ADELE GIBSON Reprinted with permission of the author from Stringendo, Journal of the Australian Strings Association Ltd., Volume 40, No 1, April 2018.

I am not a teacher. I have never aspired to be a teacher, nor imagined myself as a teacher. Too much responsibility, too much patience required, and one very scary experience with a behaviour-challenged 7-year-old many years ago have combined to safely deter me from teaching ever since. I moved to the NT six years ago, to take up a Real Job with an Aboriginal Health Organisation. Since picking up my first instrument at three years of age (a recorder), music has been the best part of who I am, even if another profession pays the bills. Alice Springs is a Third World country, hidden in plain sight in Australia’s heart. People work on short term contracts for good money and perks, then leave as soon as they can, unless they are of this country and therefore bound to it forever. The gap between whitefella and blackfella parallels the one between rich and poor, healthy and sick, hope and despair. We whitefellas live in privilege here, while poverty, hunger and trauma swirl around us like the red dust amongst the piles of crushed cans and broken glass. Unless you learn not to see or feel it, it swallows you whole after a while.

In 2014, I found myself in Alice Springs, running a programme for female Indigenous violent offenders at the prison. As always, music was my own therapy, as well as a tool for my everyday interaction with vulnerable people. I was playing a few gigs - rock bands, folk bands, background for weddings and art gallery openings, nothing too strenuous. I was approached by a persistent parent of a little girl who had a Violin Dreaming. I tried everything I could think of to avoid and deflect this parent, to no avail. So I reluctantly took on my first Territory student - Ella, the canary in the mineshaft. After declaring myself not to be a teacher at all, I set out to at least persuade this child to enjoy music. And I had fun doing it. Unexpectedly. My canary survived. Maybe I had a latent teaching vocation after all? So the persistent parent spread the word, and I accumulated a few more students - all little ones, all beginners, all cute... And all prodigies, of course! As the usual beginner frustration set in for them, I realised that I had to start something fun and social to mitigate the dreariness of learning and practising in isolation for little people: The Alice Strings was born. More students came, and my full-time job became somewhere that I had to be just to fill in time until my students arrived.

Music here means an endless coda of over-amplified guitars What isolation really looks like‌ and singers, grinding out country, mixed with folk and rock, and Picture a long straight road which extends beyond the peppered with the occasional crash of heavy metal. Teachers horizon, fringed on both sides with red dirt, spinifex, and come and go with consistent inconsistency, and a purely partnot much else. The odd roo carcass, attended by a group time focus. Strings are elusive, unless they are on a guitar.


of feasting wedgetails, an orange termite mound, a nyinkka sunning itself on the road … no other cars, no sound, but the most brilliantly-blue sky imaginable. This is my workplace - how lucky am I! After several hours of driving, feeling like the only person in the universe, I can tell when I am nearing a community: the growing mounds of broken glass glitter in the sun. Packs of dogs appear and chase the car, followed by packs of kids who should be in school, but invariably are not. If I’m in a white Prado, rocks are thrown occasionally - I carry incident report forms in the glovebox (White Toyota Dreaming is another whole story of anger and disempowerment in the face of government interventions). If I’ve been there before, the kids know me as ‘The Puppet Lady’ - I travel with a collection of puppets, music, and often, my violin. I do whatever it takes to transcend the barriers of language, resentment and alcohol-induced cognitive impairments to engage with the community on various issues related to health and wellbeing, sharing music along the way. There is not much teaching involved, yet there is learning on my part. I try to introduce, allow exploration, making music and important messages accessible. These kids love music, and many are musical, despite their many disadvantages. I play to draw a crowd, children and adults, so that I can talk to them. The children particularly like my fretted Viper because they can relate it to electric guitars - I let them play it and produce some excruciating noises, because it’s cool and they will remember me. But I don’t live in the community, so it’s just an event for them. The little school has two teachers who burn out regularly and move on. Brightly-coloured ukuleles and donated iPads represent the only ongoing access to music in the classroom. Whose responsibility is string-playing anyway? ‘We don’t do strings in Central Australia’ said NT Music School, Darwin-based, in 2014. ‘There’s not enough interest… we’re too busy’, said countless teachers and artists re visiting and playing in Alice Springs. ‘There are not enough members to have an NT Chapter’ says AUSTA, ‘so we’ll tack you onto the SA Chapter…’ (And send you regular updates and notices of all the fantastic events and opportunities in Adelaide, so you know exactly what you’re missing!) ‘There used to be a good string programme here, but the teacher left town’ said a local pianist. ‘Only two private schools offer string tuition here, and they don’t share or mix with anyone else’, said the same pianist. ‘What does a violin sound like?’ Indigenous 10-year-old in a remote community, 2013.

Numerous musicians and composers have drawn inspiration from the beauty, cultural richness and mystique of Uluru, Alice Springs and Aboriginal culture here, going on to create, perform, and make money as a direct result: is it time to give something back perhaps? People come here as tourists and voyeurs, then leave thinking that they ‘know’ this place, taking from it without giving back, leaving without a backward glance.

My group of students are like a rainbow: African, Asian, Indian, as well as Caucasian, reflective of a diverse cultural community. Yet I have not one Indigenous student. I tried to think of a way of setting up a couple of scholarships for local kids, but could not overcome the multiple barriers involved: the lack of support/interest from local schools being a major one. Town Camp children live in overcrowded houses, as many as 20 people in a three-bedroom house, with no concept of individual ownership. Even if I offered tuition scholarships, how could I provide the students with instruments and practise opportunities? But the very first problem is interest: how do you know if you want to learn to play a particular instrument if you’ve never seen one or heard one? If local kids aspire ‘to play music’, this means they aim to own an iphone and headphones one day - a huge goal for children without food or a regular bed. Occasionally, it means a guitar. Boys in some language groups may aspire to play the didgeridoo. Girls are firmly focused on survival only music is an indulgence for others. During the recent Centralian Eisteddfod, my students and I entered approximately ten sections altogether. There was no competition - each of us performed knowing that we were the only one/s in the section. There is something disappointing about that for kids. Because the string sections were so poorly-supported this year, they were all shuffled to the end of piano, woodwind and vocal sections, like afterthoughts. My prediction is that stringplaying will die completely here within a few years, unless something changes dramatically. There used to be three (part-time) violin teachers in town, but one, Paul Leggett, drowned at Ellery Creek Waterhole just before Christmas 2016. As well as losing my duet/quartet partner, Paul’s passing has left a void here for students. Now there are two part-time violin teachers and neither of us has the time to do anything but provide lessons to as many students as we can fit in around our other jobs. We are both exhausted, overworked, and hardly ever get the chance to connect with each other, let alone lobby for a string programme here to make strings accessible to all kids, not just the private school elite. Personally, I feel impotent and frustrated. I am not comfortable knowing that Australian children here do not have the privilege and opportunities I had as a child: that many will never see, hear or touch a violin in their lifetimes. I am sad for my little students, who will never hear live music, and rely solely upon Youtube; who have no one to play with, except each other; no meaningful competition, and no hope of ongoing tuition even, once I leave town. They will inevitably give up their instruments, without support or momentum, and any talent or love for the violin will be lost.

I am even sadder for the Indigenous kids I’ve met and played to over my years here - that string music will only ever be a one-off for them, yet another unattainable thing in their lives. Something besides football which could have had the potential to heal, nurture, and perhaps even lift them out of the hopelessness they are born into.


How much potential talent has been lost here through neglect and lack of opportunities for children to explore? What is needed? I don’t pretend to have all the solutions, and I am just one person, after all. My appeals to Darwin, DSO and Charles Darwin University, haven’t even rated a single response over the years: if Alice Springs is a different planet, then Darwin/Top End is a different solar system.

These things might help: • Commitment - from teachers and performers in other States. Put us on your touring schedule, even if the interest is not yet there; • Advocacy - lobby NT Music School, DSO, CDU, NT Government to support access to string programmes for all children; • Collaboration - plan an event here. A concert, a conference, a workshop; • Resources - help us to get instruments into schools, and innovative ideas to engage kids with strings; • Mentoring - of teachers and students from wellresourced programmes interstate; • Mutual learning - be willing to share experiences, and acknowledge that there is talent, experience and resourcefulness here too. I was fortunate enough to participate in the inaugural AUSTA National Orchestra Tour to Europe last year, travelling and playing with REAL teachers. It was fantastic and illuminating for me, and highlighted the differences in our worlds. But life cannot be spent entirely on tour … I still don’t see myself as a teacher - I do not have the training,

experience, pedagogies, networks, resources. I simply share what music and knowledge I have. I don’t even own a proper violin anymore, since ruining my neck, selling my Amati, and compensating with my custom-made Vipers. My students are not getting the full experience of learning the violin, but they will get even less when I inevitably leave town. If being privileged with music in our lives from an early age means that we have an obligation to share what we know, and pass that knowledge and passion on to the next generation, then, yes, I suppose I am a teacher after all. As a musician and a teacher, I believe strongly that all Australian children should have the opportunity to explore a musical instrument, including strings. I am appalled and ashamed that so few such opportunities exist for children living in Australia’s heart, and I believe that it is possible to change this situation with support from the national network of string-players and teachers. UPDATE: In the year since this article was written for Stringendo AUSTA, a few things have improved: there is another part time string teacher in town (again, employed in the private school system), and there has been some extraordinary generosity from The Sydney String Centre and individual teachers, such as Judy Hellmers, which has seen more than 20 student instruments donated to me for use in Central Australia. I hope to interest one or more of the local primary schools in trialling a string programme before the end of the year. Unfortunately, the negative attitudes towards stringplaying here persist at various levels, and my applications for funding to get expert string players and teachers to come here have so far been unsuccessful. Nor have I yet been successful in convincing any of the local string players to play with me, not even for fun: this insularity seems to be a sad fact of small towns.


MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF SA INC./GRACE BARBARA TURNER AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR 2018 The Music Teachers’ Association provides the Music Teachers’ Association of SA Inc./Grace Barbara Turner Awards for Excellence in Performance every year at the Adelaide Eisteddfod. The recipients for 2018 are:

Wind Tahlia West, flute Tahlia is 15 years old. She attends Aberfoyle Park High School where she is in Year 9.  She plays in the school Concert Band as well as in the DECD SA Schools Concert Band and has completed SACE 2 Music - Ensemble Performance this year.   She has been learning the flute since she was six and has had the same fantastic teacher - Cassandra Boath ever since she started.  Last year she also took up the piccolo.   In 2017 Tahlia completed her Grade 6 exam and received an A+ and the AMEB Prize for Grade 6 flute.   She has won a number of flute awards and prizes at the Adelaide Eisteddfod, including the Ray Rosser Award for most the promising flute player aged 12 years and under in 2014, the Junior Champion of Champions at the SA Band Association’s State Championships and the Flute Society’s Carolyn White Memorial Scholarship in 2017.  Most recently she won the Grade 7 and 8 and Certificate of Performance Flute Solo section at the Adelaide Eisteddfod, as well as the 16 Years and Under Flute Solo and Piccolo Solo sections.   Tahlia has played in the Primary Schools Festival of Music twice as an assisting artist and enjoys playing with her sister at community events.  She was recently a guest on the ABC Adelaide Evening Show with Peter Goers.   When she isn’t playing the flute, Tahlia is a keen netball player and draws beautiful mandalas.

Piano Benjamin Nicholls Benjamin Nicholls is currently studying for a double degree of Music and Arts at the University of Adelaide, majoring in Classical Piano Performance and History. Ben has benefited greatly from his piano studies with Anna Goldsworthy at the Elder Conservatorium and now also studies piano with Eleonora Sivan privately.  Ben also composes.  In 2017 he won the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, Hal Leonard prize for his composition, Dance of the Smartphone Zombies.  Going forward he hopes to be involved in music education, while continuing to develop as a performer and composer.


Strings Jack Overall, cello Jack Overall is an up-and-coming cellist and singer from Adelaide. He started singing at the age of 6 with Young Adelaide Voices.  He began learning the cello at the age of 9 after hearing the instrument at a concert at his school.  He is currently attending Marryatville High School Special Interest Music Centre, after being awarded a placement in 2013.   Since attending Marryatville High School, he has involved himself in a variety of ensembles, ranging from baroque to chamber music to jazz.  He has participated in the Adelaide Eisteddfod in since 2015, where he was twice awarded the most promising cellist after many successful performances.  As principal cellist in the Adelaide Youth Orchestra, he has performed in string quartets to school students and seniors around Adelaide, and most recently Brahm’s Clarinet Quintet in the Marryatville Music Centre Town Hall Concert.   Notable performances include as a children’s chorus member for the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdink (2010), Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (2012) and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (2014), and as a soloist in the Lord of the Rings; the Fellowship of the Ring, in concert (2012).  Recent performances include the Adelaide Town Hall 150th Anniversary Concert, as a member of the Adelaide Youth Orchestra (2016) and the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp concert series (2017 and 2018).  Jack is currently looking to complete a tertiary education at Adelaide University and live the life of a professional musician.

Vocal Marie Campbell, Mezzo-Soprano Adelaide born Marie Campbell graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she was a double scholarship recipient working with German dramatic soprano, Anke Höppner. Most recently, Marie won the prestigious Barbara Howard Vocal Prize for exceptional acting in two contrasting arias at the Adelaide Eisteddfod.   In 2017 Marie performed in a three month regional tour of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Co-Opera), she was a featured ballet dancer in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (Operantics) and she performed the role of Tessa in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (Rockdale Opera Company).  She also made her Carmen debut in Port Adelaide (Elephant in the Room Productions).   Since relocating to Adelaide earlier this year Marie has Assistant Directed Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (CoOpera).  She made her Fringe Festival debut in Sean O’Boyle’s children’s opera Space Encounters (Emma Knights Productions) and made her Adelaide Festival debut in the stage chorus for the Helpmann award winning production of Brett Dean’s Hamlet (State Opera South Australia/Glyndebourne).  In July-August Marie made her international operatic debut as Cherubino (Mozart’s Le Nozze de Figaro) and Suzuki (Puccini’s Madama Butterfly) as part of the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival 2018 in Sicily, Italy.  Commencing in September Marie will be understudying the role of Amneris (Verdi’s Aida) for a 6 week tour of mainland China with the Australian International Opera Company.   Marie is also trained in classical ballet, having completed her Advanced 1 Certificate in the Borovansky Ballet syllabus in 2014.  She has been dancing since the tender age of 4.


SOME RECENT MUSICAL EVENTS by Jeffrey Kong, Music Educator

It is with great pleasure that I was invited to adjudicate three very important musical events in South Australia this year. 1. The Music Teachers’ Association Competitions, Miriam Hyde Awards 2.  The Adelaide Eisteddfod (Piano Division) 3.  The Balaklava Eisteddfod (School Band, Ensemble in multi genres)   I was delighted that there were a significant number of truly gifted young people in music.  There was a wide range of music presented from many musical periods.  Needless to say there were some master pieces that were composed by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Miriam Hyde that were performed to a splendid level.   I have to pay tribute to all the dedicated music teachers from the Adelaide Community, which include staff from Adelaide University, and the private teachers who train our younger generation so incredibly well.   I believe that the young people taking part are all winners as they all have to prepare for the competitions, and one certainly benefits from practicing for performances before, during and after the competitions.   I sincerely hope that parents of the young people who took part in the competition will continue to support their children’s music making.


CONCERT PERFORMANCE DAY 2 by Rodney Smith Held: Sunday August 26, Westminster School Band Room, Alison Avenue, Marion

The format was familiar, but the setting was new for MTASA. Westminster School Band Room is almost as large and functionally opulent as some assembly halls around town and we are very grateful to Westminster School for allowing us to use it.  The idea was that its resident percussion and other instruments might come in handy if we attracted an ensemble or two, but alas, they went unused.  We’re quite determined to attract more music groups to these events, though, so maybe next year they’ll get an outing.  In the meantime the Band Room’s very nice grand piano got plenty of use and there were music stands and other incidentals aplenty when needed for all our performers.   And there were plenty of those!  Around 60 performed during the afternoon and kept our reviewers busy writing their non-graded reports to hand out immediately each of the three concerts was over.  So we’re very grateful to Monika Laczofy and Helen Payne (Session 1), Koula Raptis and Diana Weekes (Session 2) and Yong Cheong Lye and yours truly (Session 3) for their significant contributions to the performers’ concert experience.  We all know that it’s very hard to gain an accurate impression of how we played.  The objective short reports do just that for our participants and for some unhappy with their work hopefully their report cheered them up and onwards.   As members will recall, the sessions are always very mixed in age, attainment and style although efforts are made to sort the music so the more advanced works follow on from less demanding ones.  All three sessions did this effectively, each covering a 75-minute or so time span and it was a pleasure to watch how all performers measured up to the challenge of making music in a strange environment with a sizeable audience.   Ongoing strong support for our Concert Performance Days encourages us to continue scheduling them each year and 2019 will be no exception.


MUSIC EDUCATORS’ EXPO by Pete Barter, SAMii Held: Sunday September 23, Thebarton Community Centre

The MTASA team delivered yet another successful Expo with numbers slightly higher than last year. This year the layout of the event changed significantly with a dedicated space for the keynotes presentations separate from the exhibitors.  Feedback we have received from the attendees as well as exhibitors is positive.  Samantha Coates (Sydney) delivered two very informative keynotes on two very important music education topics.   Luigi served up some great coffee and food.  Thank you to all of our exhibitors, educators and the students who attended Expo 2018.   Next year, I’d like to see the inclusion of young and exceptional performers as an addition to the current format to entice families to attend the day.


CONTACT DETAILS FOR OTHER ORGANISATIONS 5MBS Visit:   ABODA   ABRSM International Representative – South Australia – Anastasia Chan E-mail:  Tel: 08-8234 5952/ 0423 282 589   ACCOMPANISTS’ GUILD of SA INC. Contacts: The President, Monika Laczofy,, mobile 0411 271 215 or the website   ADELAIDE BAROQUE   ADELAIDE CHAMBER SINGERS   ADELAIDE PHILHARMONIA CHORUS For enquiries please contact the Secretary at,   ADELAIDE EISTEDDFOD SOCIETY INC.   ADELAIDE YOUTH ORCHESTRA   AMEB E-mail:   ANATS SA & NT CHAPTER E-mail: Website:   ANZCA MUSIC EXAMINATIONS   ASME   AUSTA, Australian Strings Association   AUSTRALASIAN DOUBLE REED SOCIETY   AUSTRALIAN STRING QUARTET  


CONTACT DETAILS FOR OTHER ORGANISATIONS BALAKLAVA EISTEDDFOD or write to PO Box 253, Balaklava, SA 5461 or Ph/fax (08) 8863 1242.   ELDER CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC   ELDER HALL or Contact:  Elder Hall Concert Manager 8313 5925   FLUTE SOCIETY of SA INC.   MUSICA VIVA for concert details.   Mt GAMBIER EISTEDDFOD Enquiries, Secretary, PO Box 1711, Mt Gambier, SA 5290, telephone (08) 8725 5905, E-mail, website   PRIMARY SCHOOLS MUSIC FESTIVAL THE SOCIETY OF RECORDER PLAYERS SA INC. Society mobile number 0410 109 135, E-mail   SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BAND ASSOCIATION   SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSIC CAMP ASSOCIATION INC.,


NEW MUSIC TERMS ALLREGRETTO: when you’re 16 measures into the piece and suddenly realise you set too fast a tempo. ANGUS DEI: to play with a divinely beefy tone. A PATELLA: accompanied by knee slapping. APOLOGGIATURA: a composition that you regret playing. APPROXIMATURA: a series of notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an ‘I meant to do that’ attitude. APPROXIMENTO: a musical entrance that is somewhat in the vicinity of the correct pitch. CACOPHANY: a composition incorporating many people with chest colds. CORAL SYMPHONY: a large, multi-movement work from Beethoven’s Caribbean Period. DILL PICCOLINI: an exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes. FERMANTRA: a note held over and over and over and over and over and over… FERMOOTA: a note of dubious value held for indefinite length. FIDDLER CRABS: grumpy string players. FLUTE FLIES: those tiny insects that bother musicians at outdoor gigs. FRUGRAL HORN: a sensible and inexpensive brass instrument. GAUL BLATTER: a French horn player. GREGORIAN CHAMP: the title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest. GROUND HOG: someone who takes control of the repeated bass line and won’t let anyone else play it. PLACEBO DOMINGO: a faux tenor. SCHMALZANDO: a sudden burst of music from the Guy Lombardo Band. THE RIGHT OF STRINGS: Manifesto of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Violists. SPRITZICATO: an indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound. TEMPO TANTRUM: what an elementary school orchestra is having when it’s not following the conductor. TROUBLE CLEF: any clef one can’t read, e.g., alto clef for pianists. VESUVIOSO: an indication to build up to a fiery conclusion. VIBRATTO: child prodigy son of the concertmaster.

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Wishing you a very happy festive season! from MTASA

Profile for Music Teachers' Association of SA Inc.

SA Music Teacher Summer 2018  

Summer Edition of SA Music Teacher

SA Music Teacher Summer 2018  

Summer Edition of SA Music Teacher