Title: Voices in unison: Is performing the principal? presented by Phillip Bohun
Abstract: The role the Principal plays in the offering of music education is an issue of concern in many Victorian independent Secondary Schools. The concern is that many school principals do not value the positive outcomes and benefit resulting from students being engaged in a music and/or choral program. This presentation focuses on the perceptions of principals and the role they play in the implementation of music education programs in the Victorian independent secondary school context. There is a limited knowledge regarding the role of this relationship within the independent school system. The data was gathered via interviews with a sample of principals, teachers and musicians employed in the Victorian independent secondary school system. The findings indicate that music education, including choral programs, is crucial to the overall performance of students; that music educators experience a feeling of frustration as a result of the interrelationship and interaction of recognition, tradition and competition within the scholastic system; that these categories intersect to form a performance discourse; that music education is optional or elective by term, semester or year; and that the school leadership relies on a co-curricular approach. This presentation will examine the implications for choral directors, music educators, school principals and management, and all those involved in delivering music education in Australian schools.