Musica Viva In Schools takes music education to the next level
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FROM OUR PARTNERS: Musica Viva In Schools takes music education to the next level

Music education not only develops students for the real world, but can also be applied to a range of other subjects in the curriculum, a leading composer believes.

With a background in composing, music teaching and public speaking,
Michael Sollis has over time become a prominent figure in the Australian music scene.

In 2016, he commenced an exciting role with a notable external provider of music education in Australian classrooms – Musica Viva In Schools.

Michael is the inaugural Artistic Director of Education for Musica Viva Australia and was appointed by Richard Gill, who had worked closely with the program over several decades. The program delivers live music to 250,000 students each year across Australia.

Musica Viva In Schools sees talented musicians ranging from jazz, classical and world music perform a diverse spectrum of tunes. From the poetic tales of the charismatic west African music and dance group Teranga, to the young, but exceptionally talented wind ensemble Arcadia Winds, the distinct talent of Musica Viva In Schools continues to grow.

Michael says his experiences have made him understand the value of music in life and society, and its ability to foster creativity in students.

“Experiencing live performances provides the best opportunity for students to discover music. To be able to see, hear and feel as musicians perform can have a transformative effect on a student’s life like no other,” Michael says.

“It’s an experience that will be unique to them. You can’t teach a student to enjoy music, but you can provide them with the opportunity to develop their own individual passion and understanding.”

And the skills learned in the classroom can be applied to real-world situations, Michael says, as music provides a means by which many of us experience the world around us.

“If students are given the best possible opportunity at a young age to experience and create music, their passion and creative potential is maximised, and they can continue to experience and utilise this throughout their life.”

He says next year’s programs translate into other subjects students may be studying in their respective curriculums, including one show which is rooted in the concept of sustainability.

“One program is based on music written for percussion instruments played in bowls of water. This is all about what effect water has on us, and what effect we have on water.”

“Another example is a new group called from the Torres Strait, which has put together a program that explores how learning games as a child teaches us about culture. This provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about life as a child in the Torres Strait, but also allows students to explore their own cultural heritage and the meaning behind games they may play in the playground.”

Since its humble beginnings in 1981, Musica Viva In Schools has slowly transformed into a national program, having initially begun in New South Wales. Since then, the program has boasted large-scale performances, including a 50-concert tour throughout the Northern Territory earlier this year.

“Consistently both teacher and student feedback on the program is overwhelmingly positive – we are loved far and wide! And I know we have a lasting impact. It is not uncommon that when I introduce myself as Musica Viva In Schools’ Artistic Director of Education, they say ‘’Oh, Musica Viva! I had them at my school when I was a kid – I can still remember the concert!”

Michael says Musica Viva In Schools provides the best possible opportunity for students to discover live music by developing custom performances with Australia’s finest musicians. He says the team creates resources that can be used by generalist classroom teachers and specialist music teachers alike, maximising the experience of live music through lesson plans and digital resources. Musica Viva In Schools also incorporates professional development to help teachers deliver music education in their classrooms.

While recent evolutions of the program have seen it go digital and interactive, Michael says he expects the next progression of the program to offer an increasing number of programs catering to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, as well as an exploration of the Asia Pacific region and human society and the environment.

Find out more on Musica Viva’s website.

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