School of Music student and Scissors Paper Pen coordinator Rosanna Stevens was tweeting live from the press conference held today to discuss the structural changes to the School of Music. Here is a summary of her tweets and what she gleaned from the conference:
“These changes have been planned for years. They are being enacted as immediately as possible because of financial pressures, and also because they want the restructure to commence next year with the new Undergrad intake.
The school will be teaching theory in the context of composition and music history. All performance students will also learn to play jazz and compose. Essentially, it seems they're finally making music students aware of not only their surrounding musical world, but also setting them up to be more employable.
Rather than footing the bill of performance students, each student will be given a Personal Development Allowance, which is a model already used by UNSW. Students spend this at their discretion, according to their interests. ANU’s will be larger than UNSW’s, at about $600 per student per semester. This money can be spent on professional development courses in other states, or example, on musical tuition in the music school, or even on travel for an internship. They're wanting to ensure students still have opportunities available for them, but also make them aware of all the kinds of employment and engagements available to musicians. We have to be diverse in our talents. We can't all train to end up performers or paupers.
Adrain Walter (Head of the School of Music) said of the restructure (which ensures the SoM is living within its means financially) “We are now in control of our futures.” Also, that while other music institutions are responding to financial challenges by pruning back their curriculums, ANU decided to restructure entirely. Walter also said “The new model enhances our capacity to engage with the community.”
I think it's actually going to open up the music school a little more.”
Here’s the official word from the School of Music:
Significant changes to the ANU Bachelor of Music are proposed for the start of 2013.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young said:
“The innovative program of study will be more flexible, more connected with the community and offer more student choice.
“Under the proposed new model students can, for the first time, receive academic credit for contributions to musical activities in Canberra and beyond. ANU will build on the already significant technological advances that connect students with master classes, other students and innovations at world-class music schools, acrossAustralia and overseas.
“This curriculum refresh has been in the making for the past three years, but has been accelerated by financial circumstances. The proposal suggests a model that is financially sustainable.
“The 2011 Lomax-Smith review of higher education funding confirmed that government funding does not cover the costs of one-to-one music tuition, let alone buying instruments or providing appropriate teaching rooms.
“Change is essential if music is to survive at a tertiary level here and across the rest of the sector.
“The ANU School of Music, led by Professor Adrian Walter, has taken a creative and comprehensive approach to regeneration and devised a sector-leading new curriculum.
“The revitalised program will strengthen opportunities for students to develop the skills needed across a range of music jobs. Other unique features are proposed as well:
- a Professional Development Allowance (PDA) that will be allocated to students, allowing them to choose between specialist one-to-one tuition, attending a summer course, master class or conference, or learning a new piece of music software, and
- real-time, video-linked lessons and sessions with the support of the Manhattan School of Music.
“The new program acknowledges the fact that successful 21st century music professionals engage in a broad range of activities as they build their careers. They need to be highly-skilled creative artists, who are business and technology savvy, with entrepreneurial skills and a good basis in teaching practice.
“A change management process will run alongside the new curriculum, to ensure that staff and student needs are met. A smaller group of staff will be required to run the new offerings. To achieve this reduction all academic and general staff positions in the School of Music will be declared vacant, and applications invited for the new positions.
“Existing staff have the option to apply before outside applications are invited. Those who do not secure a position in the new school will be paid their full entitlements.
“Importantly, ANU also guarantees that existing students will be able to finish the degree they started, with arrangements made to ensure they can complete.
“Information sessions for staff and students will be run in the coming weeks to discuss the changes and how they impact on individuals.”