‘There isn’t another course out there where you can engage in this thorough way'

Melanie McLoughlin was not a fan of maths when she was at school. Musica Viva Australia’s Professional Development Manager was a keen music student, playing in concert bands and youth orchestras, and her studies led to a busy career as a professional musician in the UK and Australia, playing trumpet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera and Opera Australia Orchestra among others.

But math? Not so much. So when, just recently, a teaching colleague proposed a professional development workshop based on Music and Math, Melanie’s first reaction was, ‘No way, I’m not confident teaching math.’ It was only when her math-loving colleague said they felt the same way about teaching music that the penny dropped: they both had shared specialist skills and together they could help each other to become more confident teachers.

Music Education Skills for the Primary Classroom online course is all about sharing knowledge to build that essential confidence in the classroom. It is aimed at professional, generalist educators who may or may not have had hands-on experience teaching music and performing arts but understand the value of creativity and are keen to discover new strategies to keep their teaching engaging and fun.  

The course is delivered online, facilitated by a music education specialist local to your relevant state's curriculum (AUS WIDE, NSW, VIC & WA) who gives support and feedback across the twelve-week program. It starts with reflections on your own teaching practice and the place of music in the wider curriculum, then focuses in on some foundational concepts and activities, before leading you through the process of designing a teaching sequence tailored to your own classroom.   

‘It's not a self-paced course you just whip through to get the accreditation’, says Melanie. ‘This is a much more immersive experience. You create a lesson plan, teach your lesson plan and share that with the facilitator, with self-reflection and evaluation built in, which is a key part of teaching.’ 



The course has been developed by Jemma Tabet with the Centre for Professional Learning NSW and a range of other music education specialists across the country, and it is reviewed every year to stay up to date with changing curricula in all states and territories. Accreditation is offered for NSW teachers and ACT teachers through NESA and TQI. The four specific courses run concurrently, and each is facilitated by a music education specialist.  

‘The facilitators are very generous music educators who are really wanting teachers to feel more confident to teach music’, says Melanie. ‘There isn’t another course out there where you can engage in this thorough way. You are guaranteed a facilitator who is a high-quality music education specialist in the primary classroom’.  

And the music doesn’t stop at the end of the course, as Melanie explains. 

Melanie McLoughlin Teaching a PD workshop

‘You’ve completed our online course, you’ve gained those skills, well what’s next? What’s next is have an MVA show at your school to inspire your students, plus you have an accompanying digital resource to guide you through scaffolded and differentiated activities to support your teaching of the key activities of the live music performed at your school Then the children are excited, the teachers are excited, and you’re sharing that within your school community, so it’s not just a one off. You’re embedding the value of music education in your whole school community and that spreads to parents and to the broader community. 

It's hard to miss Melanie's passion for learning as she talks about the range of courses, which include additional face to face PD workshops on Music and Wellbeing, Storytelling through Music, (with links to visual arts and literacy), Singing in the Classroom and, yes, even Music and Math.  

‘In 2024, I am delighted that I travel to nearly every state and territory to present PD, and alongside me are experienced presenters who present on what they love – we have a specialist for the early years, some love music and movement. It’s a very carefully curated PD program playing on our experts’ strengths and presenting what teachers need.  

‘You can join any of those opportunities either face to face or online or both!. They are for generalist teachers and specialist teachers, and you are joining a network of teachers to improve understanding, ability, confidence in teaching classroom music. It’s about creativity, interactivity, accessibility, enjoyment, confidence.  And fun!  

Music Education Skills for the Primary Classroom runs from 27th May.

Registrations close on 3 May 2024.