Dear Sir/Madam


Thank you for the opportunity to make this submission to the Higher Education Base Funding Review.

The Music Council of Australia is the national music council. It works to advance musical life in Australia and brings that very broad perspective to its assessment of the situation of the tertiary music institutions. They are crucial to our ambition that music in Australia performs to international standards. Indeed, as described below, that is to an extent a survival issue for Australian graduates. If our institutions were adequately funded to achieve that end, they would also contribute more effectively to the vitality of the art form and the cultural and economic success of the Australian music sector.

Because virtually every Australian tertiary music institution is in deficit, their situation is most serious. The Music Council and the contributors to this submission therefore urgently request a face to face meeting with the Review committee in order to further explicate the circumstances and to answer your questions.

If you have a need for clarification or more information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely Richard Letts

NOTE: This submission addresses the situation of the tertiary music institutions. Please note that the Music Council is forwarding also a supplementary submission on the music training of school teachers in the Faculties of Education, with important bearing on issues of equity.

Submission formulated by Dr Richard Letts AM, Executive Director, with Associate Professor Diana Blom, Head of Program (Music), School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney Associate Professor Carl Crossin OAM, Director, Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide Professor Gary McPherson, Ormond Chair of Music and Director, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne Professors Huib Schippers, Director, Queensland Conservatorium and Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University Professor Kim Walker, Dean and Principal, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia


In addition to addressing major questions regarding the purpose, structure and level of higher education across the university sector in Australia, the 2011 Higher Education Base Funding Review provides a long-awaited opportunity to redress some of the inequities for specific disciplines which have become apparent in just over two decades since the Dawkins reforms. In this submission, the Music Council of Australia would like to highlight some of the issues that affect quality, equity and international competiveness in higher music education, and present a cogent argument for a more appropriate band of funding.

While music may not seem to be a key economic driver of any country, it is part of the cement of cultural identity and social cohesion. It is difficult to find examples of successful societies –past or present– that did not have a flourishing cultural life.

Moreover, music in all its aspects (from concerts to film scores, from computer game music to ringtones) actually does represent a significant dollar amount. Economist Hans Hoegh-Guldberg estimated the total turnover of music in Australia at $6.8 billion in 2007 (well over $7 billion in 2011 figures), or 0.7% of GDP.

Training for the various musical professions is labour and resource intensive. At the heart of quality musicians almost everywhere in the world is a substantial amount of one-to-one teaching. In order to be successful, musicians need to develop individual skills and identity. In over 200 years of conservatorium training (and going back to thousands of years of master-apprentice models), we have not yet found a viable alternative to working closely with a highly skilled senior musician, who can nurture young people to live up to their potential through a combination of discipline and creativity. In addition to dedicated teaching spaces with appropriate acoustic properties and soundproofing, this training requires infrastructure for ensemble rehearsals, performances, and master classes, as well as high quality instruments (a Steinway concert grand piano costs a quarter of a million dollars) and amplification and recording equipment.

This combination of high staff-to-student ratios and high demands on infrastructure place tertiary music teaching more on an equal footing with dentistry and medicine than with languages, allied health or even other art forms, with which it currently shares its funding base. The similarities between music and dentistry students are surely more compelling than those between music and language students. In both music and dentistry, a long process of training –individually or in small groups– in dedicated rooms with expensive equipment (whether a Steinway of a dentist’s chair) leads to individuals being trained to their specific strengths to serve the community. In languages, much more generic training in much larger groups suffices.

Research commissioned by the Music Council of Australia in collaboration with peak body NACTMUS and several major universities has revealed that 80% of the 4,500 students currently enrolled in music degrees are in ‘high teaching intensity’ courses (with the remaining 20 % divided over the less intensive musicology, music education, and combined degrees). It is surprising, therefore, that tertiary music education has been funded at the level of languages (band 5) rather than that of dentistry (band 8). As the past two decades have proven, it is also unworkable, inequitable, and a danger to Australia’s competitiveness in this field.

As the budget models of Australian universities have become more transparent (income plus HECS for each student minus university overheads = available funds for tuition), all large conservatoires report major annual shortfalls, in spite of having limited one-to-one teaching to well below international standards (around 24 hours p/a versus 40 hours p/a elsewhere). Typical staff workloads increasingly show 60 percent teaching, 20 percent research and 20% service as opposed to the 40/40/20 model current in the rest of the university. This in turn impacts research activity and outputs, the justifiably celebrated teaching-research nexus, and the wellbeing of staff. This stifles quality and innovation.

The shortfalls are either accumulated as debt at the School level, cross-subsidised from other elements within a Faculty, or redeemed once every few years by a benign Vice- Chancellor. While this shows admirable commitment and acknowledgement of the importance of music, it is hardly a mechanism for sustained high-quality learning and teaching. Therefore, the Music Council of Australia passionately pleads for a rebanding of tertiary music teaching in line with its actual costs of delivery and international best practice. The following pages provide extensive background and data to justify such action to the benefit of music students in Australia, academics working in this field, universities, and all those benefitting from music in Australian society at large.

1. General principles governing the level and distribution of government investment in higher education learning and teaching

Q1.1 Government investment in higher education has been justified in terms of delivering benefits to the economy, benefits to society and equity of access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Should these principles continue to be applied, and if so how should they be used to determine the appropriate level of government subsidy for the cost of universities’ learning and teaching activities?

The Music Council of Australia subscribes to the principles outlined above. It believes that the purpose of tertiary education in music is to train the professionals who will play an active role in the musical life of Australia and beyond over the coming decades. A central focus of this training are those people who create and perform music for the public. They are able to do this because they received expert training from teachers, usually from an early age, and because they are supported by those who organise their contact with the public: the marketers, live music presenters, venue managers, record companies, broadcasters, technicians, lawyers and others. All of these people play a role in the musical culture. An expert practical experience and knowledge of music is for most, essential, and at the least, an advantage and all, therefore, are potentially candidates for tertiary music education.

This activity makes a significant contribution to cultural identity, social cohesion and economic strength of the country. The latter alone is estimated at 6.8 billion in 2007 figures, involving over 90,000 paid musicians (see Appendix 1). This benefit to the economy should not dominate the rationale for provision of higher education in music or indeed, other subjects. Economic success is not an end in itself, but serves other ends such as the pursuit of knowledge, increasing personal and societal options for a rich and meaningful life, the expansion of the opportunities for cultural expression and communication. Heightened musical activity builds cultural capital. This triple bottom line needs to be taken seriously (See Appendix 2).

Accessibility to pretertiary music education is extremely inequitable and heavily to the advantage of the affluent. (See Appendix 3.) The inadequacy of tertiary training of primary school teachers is a remediable cause, described in Appendix 5. Because this training takes place in the Faculties of Education rather than Music, it is the subject of a separate supplementary submission from the Music Council to the Review.

Q1.2 What principles should determine the appropriate balance of resources contributed by government, students and other sources towards the cost of undergraduate and postgraduate education?

MCA proposes that the current structure consisting of three basic funding sources for tertiary music education be maintained in principle, but not in funding level:

  • The government contribution paid directly to the universities for teaching music should cover the majority of the actual costs of delivering degrees. The current banding provides the right framework for this. What is not correct is the present band for music on the basis of its principle modes of delivery. While it is now grouped with Clinical Psychology, Allied Health, Foreign Languages and Visual and Performing Arts, it should be grouped with a discipline like dentistry, to which it is akin as a resource-intense, lab- based discipline (see Preamble above).
  • Student contributions should continue to contribute to the costs of delivering musical degrees roughly at the current level. HECS fees are and should be connected to expected income on completion of the degree. As this is not very high with music, the HECS fee should remain roughly in its current range.
  • Other sources should cover all activities which are not directly part of the universities’ tertiary training brief: community outreach (including concerts and events) not closely linked to the curriculum, activities teaching children or members of the general public, and commercial activities.

Q1.3 What other principles, if any, should influence the level and distribution of government subsidies for tuition costs in higher education?

The Music Council of Australia believes that funding should be based on equity of access (see 3.3), equity of employment conditions, and international competitiveness.

To begin with the latter, it should be understood that the graduates of Australia’s tertiary music institutions enter an international market. Most literally, some will seek to succeed with overseas audiences. But, as already noted, the international market and international standards exist in Australia. Australian audiences are very familiar with international standards through their continuing access to performers from across the globe, whether experienced through recordings, broadcasts or the web, or through live performances on tour to Australia, or through Australian travel overseas. They seek those standards and the appeal of the home-grown is only one of the factors that will influence their choices. Sales of recordings of Australian performers account for less than 30% of total Australian sales.

Australian tertiary music institutions also function in the international market. The best Australian students consider whether they are better served by attending an Australian conservatorium or a foreign one. Australian music institutions compete with institutions from other countries in attracting foreign, fee-paying students.

If Australia does aspire to a tertiary education sector of international standards and status, it must devise the strategies and provide the funds that make that possible. We seek not the assertion of international standards, but their achievement. In music, there is no reason that Australia should not rank among the highest achieving nations other than a failure to create the conditions by which that can be accomplished. It is appropriate to work for efficiencies and curricular innovation, but if there is not a match between aspiration and investment, if the resources are insufficient to pay for the delivery of a high level of instruction, talk of international best practice is meaningless.

It is important to note that there are consequences for the music faculty in terms of equity of the conditions of employment. Because of the financial situation of our tertiary music institutions, they routinely oblige their faculty members to transfer time from research to increased teaching duties. Typically the 40:40:20 teaching/research/ administration split changes to something like 60:20:20. This is inequitable. It disadvantages the music faculty members in maintaining the vitality of their practice and progress in their careers, and it disadvantages the institutions in their claims to contribute to the academic enterprise. Insofar as their funding depends on their research output, a bad situation is made worse. The institutions are less attractive to prospective faculty members, especially those in countries where research time is honoured.

In summary, the present funding regime has put Australia’s tertiary music institutions in crisis. As a whole, they know what they must do to provide a credible music education to their students but they do not have the funds to provide it. They know because pre-Dawkins, they were funded to provide many more teaching hours, including time for one-to-one instruction, and because they are aware of the norms in their competitors internationally. Total music teaching hours at Melbourne University declined from 1105 hours in 1992 to 556 hours in 2011 – a 50% reduction! (See ”’Appendix 4 ”’for pre- and post-Dawkins statistics for the Melbourne Conservatorium.) The institutions have cut programs in order to meet financial constraints, but believe that they must maintain some credible, acceptable standards. To do so, they run at a deficit. In some cases, the deficit is met by the university, in some cases by a cross- subsidy from within a faculty; in others, the institution is forced to repay the debt, which results in further cuts to their programs and credibility. Their situation continues to decline and eventually, for some, it will not be feasible to continue.

It follows from the above that the financial provision for tertiary education in music is insufficient to support international best practice in Australia.

2. A globally competitive level of base funding for course quality and student engagement

Q2.1 What are the best international measures of course quality that would provide appropriate benchmarks to inform judgments about the appropriate level of base funding for Australian universities?

While there are numerous indicators of course quality in higher music education, it is well documented that a fundamental requirement of the preparation of professional musicians is one to one teaching for performance and composition students. This is underpinned by national and international benchmarking and best practice for the discipline. The USA National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) states in its Handbook as part of its accreditation requirements for music institutions:

“4. At the undergraduate level all students in professional programs are normally required to have a minimum of one hour (60 minutes) of individual instruction per week, or a comparable equivalent arrangement of individual and/or small group instruction, in the principal performing area(s)”. [p 63] At the annual meetings of the Association of European Conservatoires (AEC), extended one-to-one lessons are frequently discussed as a sine qua non for professional music training. The appropriate international comparison for Australia are well-regarded conservatoires in Europe. These are supported by government funding, in contrast to those in North America, where the dependence on private funding results in greatly varying standards and practices.

The following table gives data for a number of Australian and European tertiary music institutions: number of hours per student per year of one to one instruction, and the number of students per full time teacher offering one to one instruction.


InstitutionOne to one tuition Hours/student/yearOne to one students per full time teacher
Sydney Conservatorium of Music2818
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music18 24 in honours year/ |
Elder Conservatorium of Music – U of Adelaide26 28 in Honours year18
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U22 (up to 39 intensive)20
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester45N/A
Royal College of Music, London45N/A
Hochschule for Music,Wurzburg5112
Sibelius Academy, Helsinki3913
Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen3913

We have available also this more informal information about instruction in some other countries:

Norway: 30 weeks of instruction with lessons of 60, 75 or 90 minutes depending upon the level of the student.

Switzerland: 36 weeks of instruction with lessons of 60 or 90 minutes depending upon the level of the student.

A comparison between Australian and overseas institutions shows that the number of hours per year of one to one instruction provided to Australian students is significantly lower than in the European institutions. On average, Australian students only receive 60% of what their counterparts in Europe enjoy. Provision at the University of Melbourne/VCA is only slightly above one third of the provision in Wurzburg.

The workload of full time one to one teachers, as indicated by number of students per teacher, is also considerably higher in Australian institutions, and dedicated to teaching fewer and shorter lessons. Note that this is the teaching workload only for one to one lessons. Customarily the total teaching contact hours in Australia is of the order of 24 hours per week. Also, as noted in Q1.3, the Australian faculty are obliged to bear an increased teaching load at the expense of time available for research – a ratio of 60:20:20 instead of 40:40:20, the expectation in other faculties. The Australian institutions would not be able to offer instruction even at the levels indicated if they depended upon the funding level prescribed by Funding Cluster level 5. All incur deficits:

Sydney Conservatorium: At December 2010 costs to SCM for delivery of its tertiary teaching and learning program (excluding Research Training) totalled 19.2 million. In the same period revenue from student fees totalled $13 million – a shortfall of $6million for delivery of the program. A recent costing exercise suggests that the average cost per EFTSL for delivery of the teaching program is $23.7K. Prior to 2011 the University contributed to fund the program. This year under the University Economic Model it is uncertain whether it will continue this historic support or reduce dramatically in years ahead. This renders the current discussion critical to the future of the institution.

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University: With the funds that are currently allocated on the basis of the University’s transparent funding model (income per student minus university overheads = funding per student for learning and teaching), an annual deficit in excess of $1 million a year is incurred, even with staff workloads well above and lesson times well below international standards. There is an understanding with the University that QCGU is not overspending but underfunded, but no long-term solution to the problem.

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music: In 2010, the university provided a total subsidy of 4.5 million and in 2011 will provide 2.6 million. The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music will receive none of the extra subsidy that the State Government has allocated for the Victorian College of the Arts and is therefore working to reduce its spending to ensure a balanced budget.

Elder Conservatorium: the deficit is generously absorbed by the Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences, funded by profits from its other three schools, Humanities, History and Politics and Social Sciences. This is tacit evidence that the relativities of cost delivery as embedded in the Funding Clusters do not reflect the real world.


InstitutionTotal funds per studentGovernment funding per studentTuition fees per studentTotal, government + student
Sydney Conservatorium of Music24.711.05.216.6
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music19.713.23.416.6
Elder Conservatorium of Music – U of Adelaide16.611.25.216.4
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U16.510.75.916.6
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester36.715.910.526.5
Royal College of Music, London39.413.311.825.1
Sibelius Academy Helsinki32.532.4-0-32.4
Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen51.850.30.450.7

The total funds available per student and the funding provided by government is lowest for the Australian institutions. Government funding to the Danish Academy is triple the government funding to the Australian institutions. Government funding to the Royal College of Music, London, are 53% higher than to the Australian institutions – and the RCM has access to considerable other fund such as endowment funds, giving it total funds per student 235% of those available to the Adelaide or Brisbane institutions.

In the case of Australia, the tuition fees shown are those charged to domestic students and covered by HECS. The fees for foreign students studying at Australian institutions are much higher. However, the extra revenue is split between directly serving the student and paying for university wide costs.

Tuition fees per student are higher in the UK institutions than in the Australian ones. Geography and fame gives them an ability to charge and their endowments and other sources of funds support a quality of instruction that can demand a price in the international market. Since the Scandinavian institutions are totally funded by government, such considerations do not arise.


InstitutionTotal cost per studentDirect costs per student *
Sydney Conservatorium or Music3323 per EFTSL
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music2115
Elder Conservatorium of Music – U of Adelaide2114.8
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U19.411.9

蜧 Excludes ‘other costs’ such a University Wide Costs and charges

These data are not available from our foreign institutions.


InstitutionTotal revenue per studentTotal costs per studentBalance
Sydney Conservatorium or Music2533(8)
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music2021(1)
Elder Conservatorium of Music – U of Adelaide16.622(5.4)
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U16.719.4(2.7)
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester37370
Royal College of Music, London39372
Sibelius Academy, Helsinki33303
Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen52520
InstitutionTotal revenue per studentTotal costs per studentBalance
Sydney Conservatorium or Music2533(8)
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music2021(1)
Elder Conservatorium of Music – U of Adelaide16.622(5.4)
Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U16.719.4(2.7)
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester37370
Royal College of Music, London39372
Sibelius Academy, Helsinki33303
Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen52520

It is only the Australian institutions that show deficits.

Excluded from most of these figures is teacher training for those planning to work in Australian schools (only 11% of students in the national survey quoted in the Preamble was enrolled in such degrees, as most of them are enrolled in education faculties. This is an area where the Music Council of Australia has been passionate, concerned and active. International best practice is to place music teacher training inside conservatoires, as it is more demanding to achieve appropriate levels of musical skills than pedagogical ones. See Appendix 5 for more extensive considerations on this important topic.

Q2.2 What are the best international measures of student engagement that would provide appropriate benchmarks to inform judgements about the appropriate level of base funding for Australian universities?

Such measures could include active participation in a wide variety of performance and community engagement activities, as well as work integrated learning based on portfolio careers to prepare for a life as a musician. The Music Council was unable to discover any such data internationally or within Australia.

Q2.3 Is there a system of higher education funding in another country that would be a useful benchmark model to inform Australia’s review of base funding?

Scandinavian countries provide full funding for tertiary education. Most other mainland European countries charge students a modest fee (lower than current Australian HECS). In the UK, a similar system has been in place although, faced with the consequences of the GFC, the current government is planning to replace this with a US-based model of students paying the full costs of their education (through incurring a large debt or scholarships). In Asia, an increasing number of schools charge no fees and provide scholarships, emerging as major competitors in the field. Given the current cultural and funding environment the Music Council of Australia regards the mainland European model as the appropriate benchmark for Australia.

Q2.4 What is the connection between the level of base funding and quality outcomes?

Although there is a lack of research presenting hard evidence of the relationship between well-funded tertiary music education and high quality music making (it is hard to express musical excellence in quantitative measures such as numbers of notes played per minute), it is evident that a number of Scandinavian countries punch well above their weight in producing excellent and successful musicians.

3. The relative costs of quality teaching and student engagement at the undergraduate level

Q3.1 Do the current funding relativities reflect the relative cost of delivering undergraduate courses in particular disciplines? What, if any, relative weightings should be afforded to various discipline groups and why?

As stated in the preamble, an inventory of 5088 students enrolled in music degrees in Semester 2, 2010, convincingly demonstrates that this is not the case. Only 20% of students enrolled in undergraduate music degrees follow programs that can be delivered within the current funding band. The other 80% find themselves in a stressful environment negotiating the tension between underfunding and delivery below international standards.


Funding for discipline groups is determined by the ‘funding cluster’ into which they fall. The clusters are named utilising the ‘field of education’ code in the Australian Standard of Classification of Education (ASCED). Music falls into funding cluster 5 along with Clinical Psychology, Allied Health, Foreign Languages and Visual and Performing Arts. Music is not named but is a part of the category, Performing Arts.

At the time when the funding cluster system was introduced, music was considered an element of the “Broad Field of Education – 10 Creative Arts”. Concerning music, the relevant document states that “The main purpose of this broad field of education is to develop an understanding of composition, performance. …” The emphasis is upon academic study rather than artistic practice. But the great majority of music students at Australian universities are studying the actual practice of performance or composition. (For more information, see Appendix 7.)

Music education entails delivery costs not present for the other disciplines in Funding Cluster 5, including other arts disciplines.

COST STRUCTURES FOR MUSIC (Performance and Composition)

Music education delivery costs that are without counterparts in other disciplines in Funding Cluster 5

There are six major factors which contribute to the higher cost of delivering a music education and thus the shortfall from Commonwealth funding sources. While there may be occasional correspondences of one or another of these factors in other disciplines, in none are there equivalences to the entire set of factors required for music education.

One to one and small group teaching

As has been noted in section 2.1 above, it is well documented that music requires one to one teaching for musical performance and composition. This is underpinned by national and international benchmarking and best practice for the discipline.

While some music subjects such as music history can be taught in large classes, the core of instruction for music performers and composers is the “principal study”, the lesson given by one teacher to one student. Since one of the constituents of music is time itself, the one on one lesson must be extended in time. Advanced students are performing works that are commonly of half an hour duration, without interruption from the teacher.

The international standard minimum appropriate lesson time is one hour. As shown above, the international practice often provides for longer lessons or more than one lesson per week. Beyond the one to one teaching requirement, a substantial part of the other instruction is delivered to small groups; for instance, aural training and small ensemble music can each only be taught in small groups (<= 10).

Requirement for public performances

A key element of a music education institution is public performance by the students. This includes a wide range of performance types: orchestral, opera, chamber music, jazz, recital. All of these are public concerts and essential in equipping students for the profession.

Staff of music institutions are in general required to be practising performers. Their performances are directed at producing creative outputs which are recorded as such or as research as part of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). This is an important source of research income for music institutions. Performance also keeps the art alive in faculty members, vivifying their teaching. The third element in the music institutions’ public performance programs is the promotional aspect of remaining visible to the community and the obligation to account back to the community. In turn, this builds public support for the institution and its host university in many ways including audience attendance, general support for institutional activities and fundraising.

The scale of the activity is substantial. For instance, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music will present 680 concert performance and four opera productions this year. This level of activity is consistent across like institutions in Australia.

The cost elements involved in presenting concerts are not funded under Funding Cluster 5. They include:

  • Production costs
  • Venue costs
  • Concert management staff
  • Music costs and performing rights payments
  • Publicity and marketing.

Specialised Nature of the Building and Performance Facilities Required for Music

Music buildings are specialised facilities which differ markedly from the kind of buildings and facilities required of other disciplines in Funding Cluster 5. Features which set music buildings apart include specialised acoustics, lighting, sound isolation, traffic (people) control, airconditioning and humidity control (essential for musical instruments). These extend to specialised performance spaces and facilities including concert and recital halls and theatres. Both the capital cost of such facilities and the infrastructure and services required to support and run them are more akin to the cost structures for the sciences and dentistry/medicine/veterinary science which are in Funding Clusters 7 and 8.

The cost elements involved in supporting the building and venues are beyond what is provided for under Funding Cluster 5:

  • Venues management staff
  • Technical staff
  • Front and back of house staff
  • Ticketing
  • Energy consumption
  • Repairs & maintenance generally, and of technical equipment
  • Room management and scheduling
  • Security

Special Nature of IT and Audio-Visual Requirements for Music Education

By its nature, music education has a requirement for specialised A/V needs. These include high definition sound and video required to support teaching, live performance and the delivery of research and creative outputs. Also required is the IT interface with the HD A/V equipment. The cost elements beyond those supported by funding under Funding Cluster 5 are:

  • Specialised and dedicated technical and IT staff
  • Equipment costs
  • Repairs and maintenance.

Instruments and Equipment

As with building facilities, the equipment needs for music education are more closely related to disciplines in the Funding Clusters 7 and 8. That specialised equipment relates particularly to pianos and other expensive musical instruments. A music institution can have upwards of 150 pianos, needed in every studio, teaching space and performance venue.

The cost elements associated with these requirements beyond those supported by funding under Funding Cluster 5 are:

  • Purchase/leasing costs
  • Salaried piano technician
  • Contract piano tuning (pianos can require anything from 2 to 600 tunings per annum depending on the nature and quantity of use);
  • Other instrument repairs & maintenance.

Other Specialised Administrative Needs

The student life cycle in a music institution involves individual attention at all points:

  • audition and interview at admission stage (require individual scheduling before a panel of staff)
  • enrolment
  • placement and management in various ensembles (each student requires individual allocation to various orchestras, chamber music groups and other ensembles and the monitoring of those arrangements to ensure that course and assessment requirements are met)
  • individual assessment in recitals etc (each student has to be scheduled individually before panels of staff)
  • management of individual students to individual teachers
  • management of performances for each student.

These cost elements beyond those supported by funding under Funding Cluster 5 are:

  • Additional specialised administrative staffing
  • Music specific systems.

Q3.2 What are the costs to universities of improving the quality of teaching and the quality of the student learning experience at the undergraduate level and to what extent should they be reflected in the base funding model?

There are three distinct additional costs that will improve the quality of music teaching that should be reflected in the base funding model, roughly costed below:

Firstly, even on the current mode if delivery which is below international standards, an average deficit is incurred of around $3,000 per student. This would require 4635 x $3,000 = $13,905,000 per annum to be redressed.

Secondly, a key to excellence and international competiveness is ensuring that students receive world standard in numbers of hours of lessons. On the basis of the data available, this would mean an increase of about 16 one-to-one teaching hours per year for 80% of 4635 undergraduate students = 59,328 teaching hours p/a, which at a nominal cost of $150 per hour (including oncosts) would amount to an additional cost to the cost centre of $8,899,200 per annum.

Thirdly, to ensure a robust contribution to research from this sector, continuing staff need to be enabled to conduct (conventional or practice-based) research. With a national staff-to-student ration of 1:12, this would require 20% additional salary for 386 staff at lecturer/senior lecturer level, costing roughly $9.5m per annum.

With university overheads of 50-68%, these amounts would need to be doubled or more in base funding to ensure the correct funds flowing through to the cost centres. (See ”’Appendix 6 ”’for detailed date on student and faculty numbers and other key information for the tertiary music institutions.)

Q3.3 What are the costs of engaging low SES students in undergraduate education? Should such costs be a factor in determining base funding? How might support for low SES students be maintained in the future?

As noted, the probability of low SES students being admitted to undergraduate courses in music is constrained by the inequity of provision of music education in schools, and in particular, the inadequate provision in most public and Catholic schools. Given this inadequate provision, there is a likelihood that low SES students will need special assistance to enter courses. Once admitted, it is important that they have access to adequate one to one and small group instruction. There may need to be additional remedial provision in the first year. In particular, these students may not have possession of, or even access to, a musical instrument of choice. The institutions should have instruments available for loan.

Q3.4 What additional costs are involved in the provision of work integrated learning and should these be considered in setting the level of base funding?

Many conservatoires are already active partners in setting up collaborations with professional orchestras to give performing training/experience to advanced students, and engage actively with community organisations. Such activities can generally be realised on a low-cost basis, but require intense organisational support of about 1FTE at HEW 5 per 300 students.

A different type of work-integrated learning is described by one institution which requires its students to engage actively with the community as musicians in third year. This requires monitoring, Arts-Law talks, and lectures from other music industry people all involving expense.

Q3.5 What proportion of a higher education teacher’s time should be spent on scholarly activity and how could the costs of scholarship be included in the base funding model?

With the research assessment exercise ERA, creative research outputs have been fully acknowledged as products of scholarly activity. Virtually all musicians are reflective practitioners. As stated above, the current funding model forces most conservatoire academic staff to dedicate only half of the time allocated to their colleagues (20% vs 40%) to research. This would require additional funding to tertiary music teaching of 20% for all academic staff on continuing contracts.

Q3.6 Should any research activity continue to be supported by base funding?

It is internationally well recognised that the teaching-research nexus is one of the core strengths of university teaching. At least 20% (and preferably 40%) research time for any continuing staff member should be supported by base funding. Research project costs should be borne by the university or obtained through competitive grants.

Q3.7 Should infrastructure investment continue to be supported by base funding?

Certainly infrastructure should continue to be funded in order to ensure delivery of quality programs. The Music Council of Australia has no strong opinions on the most appropriate a system for this. Operating costs should be held safe from other incursions.

Q3.8 What other factors, if any, should be taken into account in determining base funding for teaching and learning in higher education?

We think the diversity of modes of delivery within every discipline should be recognised, reflecting an increasingly complex and demanding employment market. Having said that, we see sufficient coherence in the vast majority of music degrees to propose ca single funding structure for the discipline.

We reiterate that for music, the achievement of international standards is not simply a matter of status but is fundamental to graduate outcomes, whether the graduates practise here or elsewhere.

4. The relative costs of teaching at the postgraduate level

Q4.1 Is there a higher relative cost for postgraduate coursework degrees? If so why is there a difference and what is the extent of the difference compared to an undergraduate degree in the same discipline?

The costs are essentially the same. Costs tend to be lower in terms of classroom teaching and somewhat less in tutorials (particularly for research degrees), but often one-to-one is intensified for practice-based students, while research project costs (travel, fieldwork) contribute to the costs for others.

Informal comments are heard from Australian orchestral managements that they do not find the performers graduating from the conservatoria with a bachelor’s degree ready for employment in their orchestras.

A review of the Australian Chamber Orchestra in a London newspaper a few years ago said “This must be the best chamber orchestra on Earth.” The Music Council has just conducted a small survey of members of the ACO. 15 of the 17 core members, all string players, received a questionnaire. 9 responses were received.

Of the 9 respondents, 1 had no university degree, 2 had bachelor degrees and 6 had postgraduate degrees. While the Australian Chamber Orchestra is of very high standard, competition for positions in other Australian orchestras is fierce and it is likely that successful applicants will have similar qualification levels. (This will be checked in coming months through a larger survey.) It can be inferred that the core qualification for a performance career in classical music is a postgraduate award. This should be recognised in the availability of postgraduate places in Australian tertiary music institutions.

Q4.2 Are there other factors that contribute to the costs of postgraduate coursework degrees that should be acknowledged in the base funding?


5. The appropriate level of student contribution towards the cost of higher education tuition

Q5.1 Are there general principles that should determine the maximum contribution a student should make towards the cost of their education in a publicly funded higher education system?

As stated in 1.2, the maximum fee should not discourage participation, especially among low socio-economic groups and first-in-family students. Full fees for international students should be set with a regard to the international market.

Full fees for international students should be set with a regard to the international market

Q5.2 In what circumstances should the level of students’ contribution towards the cost of their courses be based on factors other than the cost of their tuition?

The level of the contribution determines the final debt. There should be a realistic prospect that the debt can be repaid from the income expected in the profession.

Q5.3 Should the basis for determining the level of contribution by the student towards the cost of their tuition be different at the postgraduate level?

Presumably the graduate degree adds to the prospective income level, but on the other hand the student contribution over the additional years adds to the total debt. This suggests that the rate at which the contribution is set should not change.

We see and value two pathways in postgraduate degrees: a directed effort to position oneself in the labour market, and passion for learning and desire to make a contribution to society in a more ineffable way, irrespective of income.

6. A new base funding model

Q6.1 To what extent does the base funding model provide incentives for institutions to invest in and deliver high quality teaching?

If teaching and research are both considered to be fundamental responsibilities of a program, both must be adequately funded. Commonly in the tertiary music programs, as noted, faculty time is diverted from research to teaching because the base funding is inadequate to support both and the maintenance of credible teaching standards is taken as the priority.

It is appropriate to assume that institutions will attempt to provide the best programs possible with the funds available. A base funding model that provides insufficient funds may not be a disincentive to doing the best with the available resources but it will be an obstacle to delivering credible tertiary objectives not only because it will not pay for them but because it diverts resources into damage control and crisis management.

In some cases known to the Music Council, universities do not deliver to their music programs even the inadequate base funding provided for them. While it is appreciated that other universities cross-subsidise their music programs with funds from profitable faculties or departments, and the flexibility available to them to do this is appreciated, there presumably is in such cases no transfer of base funding.

Q6.2 Does the base funding model provide incentives for institutions to maintain strong academic standards?

In music, there is increasing programmatic differentiation between institutions. If, to this, were added increased information about the quality of student outcomes, competition for students can be a strong incentive to maintain academic standards. This competition is also for international students and as noted, Australian institutions operate in an international market and have the opportunity to build their competitive position internationally. Base funding is not in itself an incentive to maintain strong academic standards: it is the platform on which that may be possible.

Q6.3 What features could be incorporated in the design of a new base funding model to make it more simple, transparent and responsive to higher education providers?

Assess and provide for the true cost of delivery.

Calculate the funds available to cover the direct costs of delivery of an education to the student, separate from the provision for university overheads, and ensure that those direct costs are covered.

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 1: Economic contribution of the music sector

Gross value-added. In 2007, Hans Hoegh-Guldberg estimated the value of the Australian music sector at $6.8billion value-added based on 2005-06 statistics. This treats the sector as a ‘satellite account’, similar to the statistical account for tourism. Thus, it includes not only the value of live and recorded musical performance and music instruments and equipment, but the music-related aspects of industries such as education and broadcasting. It is not possible to determine a figure other than by estimate because of the inadequacies of ABS activity with regard to the music sector. The ABS publishes a table showing the standard list of industries whose GVA is quoted in the national accounts. Here are some examples from the table (converted to 2005-06 dollars assuming a uniform 5% increase in the price index from 2004-05), allowing a comparison with the music sector:

  • Forestry and fishing $2.5 billion
  • Electricity $13.9 billion
  • Gas $1.4 billion
  • Water supply, sewerage and draining services $6.3 billion
  • Manufacturing: textiles, footware, clothing and leather $2.7 billion
  • Wood and paper products $7.1 billion
  • Printing, publishing and recorded media $11.3 billion
  • Non-metallic mineral products $5.5 billion

Employment and participation. The sector is a substantial source of employment. Around 150 job categories are identified by the Music Council in its publication, The Australian Guide to Careers in Music. The following ABS figures from April 2007 show participation. They exclude hobbyists (except for the final reference), teachers, broadcasters, others in the Guldberg satellite account estimate. The ABS does not further define ‘not performers’. The employment figures from the ABS do not include all those who would be captured in the Guldberg definition in areas such as broadcasting.


Number of persons involved in live performance: 253,000, of whom 91,000 received payment (36%)

Number involved other than in live performance: 83,000, of whom 28,000 (35%) received payment

Total number involved: 336,000, of whom 119,000 (36%) received payment.


/ |19932007
Live performers199,000253,000
Not performers33,00083,000

The total increased by 45%. The ABS does not show paid vs unpaid for 1993.

Education and qualifications. 84% of musicians and 66% of composers undertook tertiary training for their principal arts occupation. 51% and 32% of these, respectively, studied at a music school or conservatorium. 33% of musicians and 12% of composers believe their most important training came from a private teacher or practising professional, but 40% of composers stated that their most important training was self- tuition. At a guess, the latter are predominantly not classical composers. Musicians more than artists in any other category continue to take private tuition as professionals (19%). While the study does not make the distinction, it is reasonable to suppose that there is a considerable difference in their participation in formal education and self- tuition between classical musicians and musicians in popular contemporary genres.

At present, it would appear to be more necessary for performers to have a relevant qualification than for non-performers. However, there are many complaints within the sector about the incompetence of e.g. artist managers and even the inadequate preparation of performers. There appears to be a need for more inclusive education of those engaged in the sector, and more thorough, advanced preparation of the artists, at present constrained by lack of resources as will be demonstrated through international comparisons.


335,000 participants regard their music activity as work. An additional 265,000 regard it as a hobby. Total number involved is 600,000.

It is in part the hobbyists to whom the culture is passed.

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 2: Music’s contribution to society

Music is practised in all cultures, even the most poverty-stricken. It must be concluded that it is serving some universal human need.

In Australia, as a Western consumer society, the need is demonstrated in a concrete way by the crowd and the size and complexity of the industry that has grown up to satisfy it. The economic and participation data are evidence (see Appendix 1).

What can be said about music’s value to society?

Music gives spiritual and emotional sustenance. It is a core aspect of most religious practices. Many not religiously inclined still turn to music to take them to a ‘deeper’ place. Music is food for the intellect. We refer to the study of music’s place in history or society but more especially to the study of the audible structures and processes of the music itself. Deep study of great music can reveal extraordinary intricacy – a mathematics-like complexity put to the service of profound expression, as in the works of Bach and many before and since.

Music creates social bonds. It is a source of identity, both personal and shared.

We can experience through their music the world views of other cultures, indeed, the very cores of their being. Western classical music has been recorded for over a millennium – on paper – and this music is performed live today.

Music-making requires the simultaneous utilisation of a very broad range of skills: expressive, creative, intellectual, emotional, kinesthetic, social and more. Research shows that music-making activates simultaneously many parts of the brain; it suggests and is close to concluding that music study uniquely benefits brain development. This may be the underlying basis for the findings of a large number of other studies showing correlations between continuous and extended study of music making and enhanced outcomes in other areas of study including literacy and numeracy.

Some musical genres are unique local expressions, others have become international ‘languages’ – e.g. rock, jazz, classical. Australian audiences hear the great international exponents via the media and even in live performance. They expect our musicians to show similar accomplishment. Therefore, our musicians function in an international market, even if they stay at home. Some, of course, also attempt to win audiences elsewhere. We want them to succeed, and why should they not? But we do too little to help them.

As in many areas of endeavour, any citizen is able to engage at an informal level in music making and consumption. The ‘folk music’ of the day can still be passed on by oral transmission. However, music as a great artform requires serious and prolonged study and in Western culture the place for that study is for the most part the university/conservatorium of music. Within the institution the key figure is the individual one-to-one mentor.

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 3: Equity of access

Equity of access depends not only upon financial support to disadvantaged students once they are engaged in tertiary education, but the preparation in the pre-tertiary years that will affect their eligibility for admission. There is both inequity and general inadequacy in the provision of music education to students in the school years and the consequence is that there is major advantage to financially privileged students at the time of high school graduation and university entrance. The funding of school music education is not within the domain of base funding to higher education, but its deficiencies lie partly within the method of delivery of music education in schools and the very serious inadequacies in the tertiary music education of school teachers.

The report of the National Review of School Music Education, Augmenting the Diminished, gives as its second Strategic direction: “ To ensure every Australian child has opportunities to participate and engage in continuous sequential, developmental music education programmes. There is very wide agreement in the profession on the “continuous, sequential, developmental” formulation for the music curriculum.

These characteristics were adopted as the criteria for an estimate of the number of schools offering a credible music education program. The estimate was made by extrapolation from the study Trends in the Provision of Music Education in Schools. It showed that 88% of independent schools have such music programs, but only 23% of public schools. A survey by the Australian Music Association showed that 88% of parents believe that all school children should have the opportunity to study music. It is an interesting coincidence that the provision among independent schools matches statistically the desire among parents, but of course the school programs are guided by what the parents wish to pay for. That link is lost with most state schools where broad funding decisions are made by the state.

In some public schools, parents raise funds to pay for after-school musical activities and instruction but such instruction is not bound to deliver a developmental, sequential curriculum and furthermore these programs will generally be found in the more affluent areas where parents have the skills and funds to set them up.

There is thus an enormous inequity of opportunity between independent and public schools and most students of public schools will not have received a music education that gives them equal opportunity to enter a tertiary music institution.

This is the case in most public primary schools in those states where music instruction is the responsibility of the classroom generalist teacher and is actually delivered, because of the serious inadequacy of teacher training. Please see the response to Question 2.1, in the section titled “Teacher Training”.

For those of limited means who do gain access to tertiary education, the Music Council supports special provision that allows them to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 4. Music teaching hours pre- and post-Dawkins at Melbourne University

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

Appendix 5: Teacher Training

In Q1.1, the inequity of provision to students at public cf. independent schools was noted. This inequity is exacerbated by the fact that music education in independent schools tends to be provided by music specialists but in most public primary schools is provided, if provided at all, by classroom generalists who are afforded only a token education in music in their preservice courses. In the following, we put in context the tertiary music training of primary school generalist teachers in particular, the level of training that will provide them with the competence to deliver the National Curriculum, and some pertinent global comparisons.

The fundamental musical skills are most effectively learned in preschool and primary school years. In all states, music instruction in preschool years is the responsibility of early childhood teachers and carers who are required only to have generalist skills. In all states except Queensland and Tasmania, responsibility for delivering music education in primary school is assigned to classroom generalist teachers. In Queensland and Tasmania, specialist music teachers are employed in primary schools.

Music Council of Australia studies have shown that the mandatory music instruction offered in preservice training for early childhood teachers and carers, responsible for children ages 0 to 8 years, takes up on average 20 hours in an undergraduate degree and 9 hours in a graduate degree. Average mandatory music training in the preservice four-year undergraduate degree for primary school generalist teachers, responsible for students in years K to 6 or 7, is 17 hours and in the two-year graduate degree, half of that. The range across undergraduate degrees ranges from zero hours to 54 hours. (Mandatory instruction in the other art forms is similar.) With an average of 17 hours music instruction, these teachers are responsible for delivering the music curriculum across seven or eight year levels. This is quite unrealistic and can only lead to the result that is evident: teachers have neither the competence nor confidence to teach music (except for random individuals who have acquired skills from beyond their official training), so it is not taught. This is the case even in NSW, where music is a mandatory part of the curriculum.

Here, we concern ourselves with the music training of primary school generalist teachers, which occurs usually in university Faculties of Education. We note that at the secondary level, music in all systems is taught by specialist music teachers. There is fairly good coverage but many schools do not have programs or are insufficiently resourced. In the present context, the main point of interest about secondary school programs is that they face the difficulty that there can be no assumptions about the prior learning of children transferring from primary school except that there will be enormous differences of competence. This can be a source of great difficulty in delivering an effective music program.

The state accreditation systems do not inquire about applicants’ competence in any subject. If they have the requisite degree, no more questions are asked, as we understand it.

This means that the competence to teach any subject is decided not by the future employers nor the accreditation bodies, but by the universities. In the case of music, the universities have not made responsible decisions.

There will be a National Curriculum in music. The Music Council believes that to ensure that students receive competent instruction, at all levels of schooling it should be taught by music specialists. If the responsibility were given to specialist music teachers, the Review would consider the quality and cost of their training and indeed, should do so. However, the decision to take that path is beyond the brief of the Review and in any case it will be made after the Review reports.

Assuming that in all states except Queensland and Tasmania, the responsibility for teaching music remains with the generalist classroom teacher, the universities should provide the training that equips the teachers to deliver the National Curriculum.

The teachers will need to possess the skills they are attempting to teach. There is clear agreement that the National Curricula in the arts will be based around active art- making, not the “passive” study of the arts. Primary generalist teachers therefore need practical skills in music-making as well as knowledge about music and knowledge and skills in music pedagogy. The music-making skills should suffice to engage upper primary school children who have received continuous, sequential, developmental music instruction from K onwards. To circumvent problems in acquiring adequate resources to provide instrumental instruction, all teachers should have these skills in vocal music, as well as instrumental music wherever possible.

To give teachers that competence will require major reconsideration of the music education component of current preservice courses for primary school teachers. More time must be assigned. Some of that time can continue to be used in class instruction, but it must also include one-to-one and small-group instruction in music-making.

Acquisition of the skills requires that the trainees are provided with the continuous, sequential, developmental learning throughout the university courses that they will later provide to their students. The Music Council suggests that the mandatory music instruction should provide for 90 contact minutes per week throughout the course.

This solution is based on the current practice in most state and Catholic systems of assigning responsibility for music instruction in primary schools to classroom generalist teachers.

Global comparisons. In the PISA rankings of school performance in reading, mathematics and science in 2009, a number of countries ranked higher than Australia in all three subject areas. Those countries, with the combined scores for the three subjects, were:

Hong Kong1637
South Korea1623
New Zealand1572

The provision of school music instruction in these countries is as follows:

China (Shanghai) Music education provision. 2 hours/week in primary school.

Teacher qualifications. All classes are taught by music specialists except in some rural areas, where teacher training has lagged.

Hong Kong Music education provision. Policy is that the primary schools will give 70-100 minutes/week to music, though in this regard schools have some autonomy.

Teacher qualifications. Teachers are specialists in two or more subjects; there are no primary school generalists. See below.

Finland Music education provision. 45 minutes/week, sometimes 2 x 45 minutes, to 7th grade, elective thereafter. In 13% of schools, additional special music classes of 3-4 hours/week. Also, there are additional possibilities in the municipal music schools, complementary to schools, ubiquitous in Europe.

Teacher qualifications. In 15% of primary schools, music is taught by specialists, in 85% by generalists. However, half of the generalists – those who mainly have the responsibility for teaching music – have a music specialty. The music study required is of the order of 940 hours, comprising up to 560 contact hours and the remainder personal work. The normal music training of a generalist is about 320 hours, including 270 contact hours. Secondary specialists study music for up to 8,800 hours.

Singapore Music education provision. Mandatory years 1-8. Years 1-4, two 30- minute periods per week. Years 5-6, one 30-minute period/week. Secondary, one 35-minute period/week. Beyond year 8, music is an elective.

Teacher qualifications. There are generalist primary teachers but increasingly the music teachers have specialist qualifications in English, maths and music; secondary school music teachers have qualifications in music and one other subject. Therefore, there are similarities to the Hong Kong model. Current teachers are encouraged to take music PD courses. However, all music and art teachers are now being trained to specialise in only one subject.

South Korea Music education provision. 2 hours per week years 1-7, 1 hour/week grades 8-10.

Teacher qualifications. Primary school music is taught by generalists, with some specialists. During preservice training, generalists can declare a major, including music major. Total hours of music instruction required of a generalist teacher are 158-161. Secondary school music is taught by specialists.

Japan Music education provision. 45 minutes/week through primary school, generalist teacher grades 1-4, specialist 5-6. Elective in secondary school.

Teacher qualifications. Generalist primary school teachers for grades 1-4 receive 3 semesters of music training, 100 minutes per week, total 75 hours.

Canada Music education provision. Primary 1-1.5 hours per 5 or 6 day cycle, Manitoba, secondary is mostly elective. Variance between provinces. Teacher qualifications. There is no uniformity.

New Zealand Music education provision. Required years 1-8, though unclear whether it is continuous, then elective thereafter.

Teacher qualifications. The “training in music for elementary classroom teachers is minimal and most cannot hope to teach the syllabus with the training they have been given.” (Prof. John Drummond, University of Otago).

Australia Music education provision .Queensland, with its specialist music teachers, offers 30 minutes music per week in primary schools. In NSW, music is mandatory in years K-8, taught (or mostly not taught) by generalists in primary school, specialists in secondary; 100 hours of mandatory music in years 7-8. Other jurisdictions very variable. Overall, music is much less taught than in the non- Anglo schools in this PISA ranking.

Teacher qualifications. In public schools, secondary school music is taught by music specialists who have specialist music degrees and pedagogy qualifications. In Queensland and Tasmania, primary school music is taught by specialists. In all other states it is taught by generalists. The inadequate training has been described above.

It cannot be claimed that these countries excelled Australia in the PISA rankings because of the strength of their music education programs. However, it can be said that the strong inclusion of music has not prevented their superior performance.

In all instances except the lower ranking Canada and New Zealand, teacher training in music for primary school teachers exceeded that provided to generalists in Australia.

The Hong Kong model. Australian primary school teachers who rely on the mandatory music instruction in their generalist degrees will not be equipped to deliver the National Curriculum in music. In the course to date of developing the National Curriculum, pedagogues in many subjects such as history and even including mathematics complain that the workforce is not capable of delivering the curricula in their specialist areas.

ACARA will provide curricula in all five arts areas: dance, drama, media, music and visual arts. The theory is that these curricula will be taught by primary school generalist teachers alongside their other efforts in literacy, numeracy, history, geography, sciences, languages and so on. Who among us is capable of acquiring expertise in all those subject areas?

The Hong Kong model, in which each teacher specialises in say two major areas, with perhaps also a couple of minor subjects, presumably in configurations that enable complementarity among teachers, offers a solution. Each child then sees two or three teachers per week. The combined objectives of competent teaching and pastoral care can be accomplished. The alternatives of semi-competent teaching by generalists, or a long procession of subject area specialists as in a high school, with little possibility of pastoral care, are averted.

This, then, requires a rethinking of the tertiary training of school teachers as well as a phased restructuring of primary school education. That is a big task but one that actually provides a fundable, manageable solution to problems not only in music, or the arts, but all subject areas.

So far as the training in music is concerned, the issues that pertain to the education of performers and composers apply also to the music training of school teachers, except that music is only a part of their courses.

Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 6: Quantitative data for Australian tertiary music institutions

Please see separate attachment: mcaCLASSICAL11tertiary data Higher Education Base Funding Review Submission by the Music Council of Australia

APPENDIX 7: Application of ASCED to Music Education

One Classification for Music

The first problem arising from the application of ASCED to music education is that there is only one classification (100101). The nature and cost structures of music performance and composition are very different to those applying to non-performance. The cost structures for delivering music education in performance and composition are described later in this submission.

The problems in this area originate when the ABS introduced ASCED as a single “new national standard classification, which would be significantly broader in scope than the ABSCQ, and would replace the range of classifications used in administrative and statistical systems”. “An important issue in the development of ASCED was the need to include all sectors of the formal Australian education system; that is, schools, VET, and higher education”. [”Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED 2001, ABS, ”p 2]

Distinctions in the cost structures for various elements of music education were recognised in the former VET classification structure which identified five different classifications, all of which were translated into just one classification in ASCED. That conversion is represented in the following table:

Discipline Group – VETASCED Field of Education
0605101 Music – General100101 Music
0605110 Orchestration100101 Music
0605115 Instrument Work100101 Music
0605120 Voice Work, Singing100101 Music
0605125 Chamber Music100101 Music

[”Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED 2001, ABS, ”p 322]

Broad Field of Education – 10 Creative Arts

This is the broad field of education into which the single detailed field for music (100101) is placed. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations document, ”Field of Education Types ”includes the following descriptive elements:

“The ”’theoretical content ”’of Broad Field 10 Creative Arts includes”

“The main purpose of this broad field of education is to ”’develop an understanding of ”’composition, performance, …” [accents inserted]

It is clear from these descriptions that the broad field of education is limited to the academic study of these disciplines and does not capture performance and composing elements of the discipline. Furthermore, in funding cluster 5, Music is an unidentified component of Performing Arts. The implication is that the costs of delivering education in music, drama and dance are sufficiently similar that they can be funded under the same formula. However, only in music is it essential to include one-on-one teaching/learning and small group instruction.


Dr Richard Letts AM, Executive Director, Music Council of Australia, with

Associate Professor Diana Blom, Head of Program (Music), School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney

Associate Professor Carl Crossin OAM, Director, Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide

Professor Gary McPherson, Ormond Chair of Music and Director, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne

Professors Huib Schippers, Director, Queensland Conservatorium and Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University

Professor Kim Walker, Dean and Principal, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney

Submitted by Richard Letts

Dr Richard Letts AM is the founder and Director of The Music Trust, founder and former Executive Director of the Music Council of Australia (now Music Australia) and Past President of the International Music Council. He has held senior positions in music and culture in Australia and the United States, advocated for music and music education, conducted research, written policy documents, edited four periodicals, published four books and hundreds of articles.

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