ASME Summer School 2023 – Day 1

Today I attended my first official PD day as a teacher – and I haven’t even started as a teacher. That’s because over the summer holidays, the WA chapter of the Australian Society of Music Education (ASME) hold their summer school. Two full days of professional learning sessions that aim to upskill, inform, inspire and provide networking opportunities for music educators in WA. Teachers give up two days of their school holidays to come and engage in a wide variety of sessions. These sessions range from early childhood through to ATAR streams, and everything inbetween.

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Last year, I had the opportunity to attend as a volunteer. As a Edith Cowan University School of Education student, the opportunity was provided to attend (and gain free membership to ASME for a year) in return for helping set up, introduce sessions, be a gopher, and pack up. This year, however, I was excited to attend as a participant. The choice of sessions was up to me, choosing ones that I felt would best aid me as I enter my new role.

Keynote address – Functions of Music

The day formally started with a Welcome to Country, initial welcome to the ASME Summer School and a singalong (to which I got many ideas from). Then Dr Jason Goopy – ECU lecturer in Seconday Music Education amongst many other things – presented the keynote on stepping outside the structures of curriculums and syllabus and to explore the various functions of music in our lives and how school-based music education prepares students to become musical people. This was a really interesting topic, and one that would expand into other areas as we consider curriculum changes. In effect, the curriculum will change what we teach. However, the end goal of music education is to prepare children and young people to become musical people, because to be human is to be musical.

Dr Goopy based a lot of his talk of Merriam’s Uses and Functions of Music. However, I was particularly interested in his link to Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow theory, and the idea of music being an autotelic experience. An autotelic experience is something where doing the experience is the reward in and of itself. I also particularly liked one quote by Dr Goopy. He said more and more young people were experiencing music by “messing around to deeper immersion through geeking out.” I think that’s certainly an idea that I would like to explore further.

Neurodiverse music education

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Then I had my first session, where I attended Delyse Clayden’s session entitled Teaching Music to Neurodiverse and Disabled Students. Dee is a PhD candidate at ECU, and uses her teaching and personal experience to inspire her study into giving disabled students a voice in the formation of their IEPs. Dee gave us a thorough background about the appropriate language to use (including noting that it is a flexible thing and often changes). She then explored ideas around how to create inclusive education for all students. This was done through differentiation, reasonable adjustments and universal design for learning.

This was a great session – and one that is very much needed. However, as someone who is neurodivergent and lives with a neurodivergent family, I had hoped for some more practical ideas as to how to approach teaching, as opposed to the history and language which I’m already well aware of. But I’m sure that for those who are still new to this space, it was a very helpful unit.

Following morning tea, and a brief Taiko demonstration, we had a panel Question and Answer session. There were a number of questions about panellists’ research (particularly Jason Goopy’s upcoming research into community music groups and their work in trauma informed practice), ways of advocating for music education in schools – both at a school level and a departmental/governmental level, and the use of various programs/instruments in school settings.

Choral Conducting

It was then lunch time, and then I had two sessions with Su-Lyn Chong on Choral Conducting. These were the sessions that I was most looking forward to, as I will be starting up a new choir at my school. I realised it has been near on 10 years since I last conducted a choir. Going through some excellent practices and techniques to support students in their singing has given me an excellent starting point heading forward. There’s still going to be a lot to learn, but I now know a lot of where to be starting from in looking for additional resources.

ASME Summer School Networking

Finally, it was a time for networking at ECU’s Birra Bar. A fantastic time to catch up with friends and colleagues, and discuss what had been happening over the last year. As music teachers, often we are the only one in our school – where as there might be 4 or 5 (or more) English or Maths teachers, there is often only one music teacher. That means that these opportunities to network, catch up, reminisce, inspire are vitally important. An interesting thing that I noted was that there were three students from my high school who were in attendance as music teachers, as well as one of our music teachers, who went on to become the head of music at that school, and the current head of music at that school who had taken over from our music teacher. It’s amazing to think of the legacy that has been forged through these teachers because of the influence they had on our lives.

So that was my experience of Day one of the 2023 ASME Summer School. It’s been a full on day, and I am looking forward to another day tomorrow, for another three sessions that I’m sure will spark a lot of ideas for me.


fameI went to see Fame tonight, with a few friends. Despite having heard of some bad reviews, I really enjoyed it. Perhaps having not seen the original meant that I could enjoy this on its merits. There were a couple of parts of the movie that really stuck with me that I wanted to share.

Kevin, a dancer, knows at his audition that he’s going to get a job in a professional ballet company. However, despite working harder than any other dancer, he just doesn’t become the strong dancer that he needed to be. When the dance teacher declines his request for a letter of recommendation, he is distraught. And then, horror of all horrors, she goes on to suggest that he might become a wonderful teacher. *shudder* His life long hopes and dreams crushed, he goes down to the subway to catch a ride home, and comes very close to ending his life.

A bit later, Jenny is giving a speech on stage. I would have loved to find the text, but I can’t find it anywhere on the net yet. But she talks about how Success isn’t measured by fame, or money, but by love, and by waking up every morning and flying out the door because you’re so happy to be doing what you’re doing.

Continue reading “Success”

Teach me

Biblical Truth

  "Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

  "Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

  "Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

  "Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.  "Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

  "Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

  "Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance— isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

  "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

  "But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."

  When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

Matthew 7, The Message Continue reading “Teach me”

A Week in the Life – Monday

I thought that I’d do a little bit of blogging, and just write about what I’m up to these days. This week, I’ll post a short blog outlining what I got up to this week. Then at the end of it, I’ll review, and see if I could have done anything better, what I’ll try to do differently next week, and such things.

Today, I had a bit of a lazy day. After getting to bed at a decent time, I woke up in the morning, had a glass of juice and a coffee, then went back to sleep until 9. I went out to have breakfast, watched an episode of Stargate, and thought about what I wanted to be doing today. Admin day today – after checking for payments, I printed off some invoices that I had to mail out, and then realised that I needed envelopes (somehow we’d run out at home). So a trip to the shops for some envelopes and stamps took me up to lunchtime.

Had my students arriving from 2.30, and had a few good lessons. I’m really happy with how my studio is developing, and I’m really happy with the range of students. There’s still a bit more that I’d like to be able to do, but at the moment it’s a good balance between teaching and admin (that is – more teaching, less admin). Then my girlfriend arrived after her day of work (hehe, I love that I can have a day of “work” that is done mostly in my pj’s), and we had dinner with my parents and chatted until I had to get ready for basketball.

Was a good tight game tonight, we ended up drawing 27-27. We’ve lost a few strong members of our team for various things, so we did well to play as  we did. Now I’m here, writing this blog, thinking it’s probably high time I went to bed.

Highlights for tomorrow are work and a Chrysalis board meeting. Should be good.