We like to share with you the core principles that inform our program and curriculum design — and fuel our drive to create new opportunities for musicians of all ages in the Macedon Ranges:
Inclusivity – that everyone, regardless of age or ability has the potential to be a musician in their own right and should be afforded the opportunity and encouragement to do so. Inclusivity does not come at the expense of exceptionalism, but rather opens the door to exceptionalism. This is particularly applicable for those with different learning or behavioral needs who, with the right support and encouragement should be included in as many activities as possible.
Accessibility – that through opportunity or cost opportunity we make available more chances to learn and grow. By focusing on accessibility we break down any barriers to access to these opportunities. This includes members / learners with all abilities (physical, learning, behavioral, intellectual or otherwise) wherever possible. Learn more about our approach to accessible music education >>
Scaffolded Learning – that our members and learners feel supported in their learning and that we put the thought and intent into our designs and curriculum so that we support all levels of learner, while encouraging them to extend themselves. This includes development of our own curriculum, resources, sheet music, support materials (video, audio). It also includes undertaking an individualized approach to the learning of each member in our programs. By knowing the whole learner, their capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement and encouragement we can best support them to feel safe, then take risks and grow.
Safe Learning Environment – that our members and learners feel that they are in a safe learning environment where they can display their true selves, express themselves without restraint and take risks that allow them to push and extend their abilities beyond their previous comfort points. This can not happen without consensus on a safe learning environment between all participants. It also requires the incorporation of the aspects of flexible, scaffolded support and inclusivity described above. No one can learn, listen, share, communicate ideas or collaborate creatively unless they feel they are safe. This also works hand in hand with our Safe Workplace policy for all of our staff.
Working With Intent – ensuring that every plan or action that we put into play is done with purpose and intent. An example of this is how we work towards a performance or product based goal at the end of each session block. The sessions leading up to the delivery time will need to include intentful skill building and a scaffolded progression that will allow us to reach our product goal (or something along the lines of our planned goal — see flexibility).
Transparency – this includes both our internal processes and communications and our dealings with our members and the general public. By being clear and transparent in our communications, policies and processes we not only engender trust and cultivate integrity but include and give all stakeholders ownership in our decisions and undertakings. Within the organization we aim to always have open lines of communication with all staff, involve staff in the decision making process and, where that isn’t possible ensure that the process and underlying reasoning for any decisions are clear and made with genuine intent.
Flexibility – this involves the acknowledgement that we are all unique and will incorporate new information and experiences differently. The industrial education model is build on the principle that all units in a given lesson will digest and incorporate that information in the same way and, as such progress at the same rate. This is also reflected in some traditional music exam programs that value standardization as a form of benchmark. Both of these systems lack the ability to modify and moderate their curriculum and structures to address the individual needs of a learner. Flexibility and an individualized approach is at the core of all of our programs and serves to support inclusivity, accessibility and scaffolded learning and ultimately will provide that learner with a learning environment where they feel safe, supported and can flourish.
The Whole Learner – we are all unique people and learners, with our own histories, experiences and assumptions that inform our outlook on life and learning. Likewise we all have different social, physical and mental hurdles that impact on our lives and ability to learn and interact. By getting to know the whole learner we will be better able to support and include that person, be flexible in our approach, individualize our attention and help that person feel safe to learn and grow.