Music participation has soared at an all-girls school thanks to a teacher who is also helping to inspire teachers from around the world.
St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School (St Aidan’s) classroom music teacher, and Head of Instrumental Music, Carla Trott has won this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) TEACHX Excellence in Teaching Award.
The teaching of an Every Day Music program to Kindergarten to Year 3 students is being cited as one of the reasons for St Aidan’s students’ high literacy and numeracy outcomes. Participation in music ensembles at St Aidan’s has increased to 50 per cent under Ms Trott.
Ms Trott also co-founded the Emerging Music Teachers Network (EMTN) with a colleague after they became concerned at the number of teachers leaving the profession and the isolation experienced by many music teachers. The network’s streamed meetings now attract teachers from all over the world.
An expert in the Kodály approach, which places singing at the foundation of all music education, Ms Trott starts rehearsals from 7am daily and teaches Kindergarten to Year 11 students, including “Every Day Music” in Kindergarten to Year 3 for 20 minutes each day.
“‘Every Day Music has been extremely beneficial to not only the musicianship skills of the students, but then also the extra rewards of having Every Day Music, in that the students have really high spatial understanding, literacy skills, numeracy skills, and we believe that is one of the reasons for the girls’ NAPLAN results,” Ms Trott said.
The EMTN, which has experts present once a term, is also making a big impact.
“We set out to make sure that emerging music teachers were equipped with resources and ideas—really excellent ideas—that they could use,” Ms Trott said. “What we also wanted to do was to develop a culture of sharing.”
To extend the program’s reach, meetings were set at St Aidan’s to allow them to be live-streamed.
“This meant that we could connect to people in Mount Isa or Townsville or Toowoomba—to anyone who couldn’t drive to get to the session,” Ms Trott said. “It turns out we have now got people registering from all over Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hungary, America, Scotland and England—the word has just spread,” she said.
Ms Trott is also the Queensland Kodály Choir (Brisbane) assistant conductor and an adult community Musicianship teacher for the Pathways to Music program, and has presented at workshops and conferences around the world.
“Music teaching is a very different role … it’s high stakes … you have to perform in front of others … and music doesn’t finish at teaching, it rolls into the community quite easily … people need music more and more so in their lives,” she said.
Ms Trott received her award at a ceremony at Customs House, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia. She has also won $5000 for professional development.