Regional Conservatoriums have operated across NSW since the 1970s. Over the past 35 years they have grown from modest beginnings in Bathurst to a network of conservatoriums servicing most of NSW’s regional centres. Regional conservatoriums were originally established to allow access to quality music education opportunities for music students outside metropolitan NSW. The consequent network of conservatoriums now provides extensive music education services that encompass specialist instrumental/vocal training through to curriculum and classroom support in music for both government and non-government schools.
Regional conservatoriums are self-governing incorporated not-for-profit organisations managed by community boards. These boards of management are, in each of the regional conservatoriums, representative of the community and region in which that Conservatorium operates. Many of these boards include representation by senior NSW Department of Education and Communities personnel, local and State politicians, business professionals, solicitors, accountants, marketing experts and senior arts administrators.
Regional conservatoriums serve communities across the state in locations geographically, climatically, historically, demographically, culturally, and economically diverse. The regional conservatoriums of NSW are:
- Central Coast Conservatorium (Gosford)
- Clarence Valley Conservatorium (Grafton)
- Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium
- Goulburn Regional Conservatorium
- Gunnedah Conservatorium
- Macquarie Conservatorium (Dubbo)
- Mitchell Conservatorium (Bathurst, Forbes, Lithgow)
- Murray Conservatorium (Albury)
- New England Conservatorium of Music (Armidale and Inverell)
- Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre (Lismore)
- Orange Regional Conservatorium
- Riverina Conservatorium of Music (Wagga Wagga)
- South West Music (Deniliquin)
- Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music
- Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music (Muswellbrook & Singleton)
- Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
- Young Regional School of Music
The Association of New South Wales Regional Conservatoriums (ANSWRC) is the peak industry body. The ANSWRC currently comprises eighteen member organisations. Of this number, seventeen are currently funded within the NSW Regional Conservatorium Grants Program. One member — Conservatorium Mid North Coast (Taree/Forster/Port Macquarie) — has received discretional start-up funding and is not funded under the current funding agreement.
The 18 members educate approximately 30,000 students of different ages and musical abilities and allow people in NSW regional communities to access music education services. Services delivered by regional conservatoriums encompass early childhood music, specialist instrumental, vocal and ensemble training, classroom programs, music therapy and community-based life-long learning activities.
An important component of the work of regional conservatoriums is the delivery of curriculum and classroom support for schools in regional NSW.
Stephen O’Connell. Updated version entered on Knowledge Base 23 October 2014.