Community music education in Cairns: 1920 to 1950
Cole, Malcolm (2011) Community music education in Cairns: 1920 to 1950. In: Magnetic Resonance and Research Conversations: Proceedings of the 2010 XXXVIInd and 2011 XXXIIIrd Annual Conferences, pp. 82-100. From: 2010 ANZARME conference: magnetic resonance, 3 - 6 July 2010, Townsville, QLD, Australia.
PDF (Published Version)
- Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
PDF (Accepted Version)
- Accepted Version
Though the Queensland Department of Public Instruction attempted to deliver a comprehensive school music education through the introduction of a new and revitalised syllabus in 1930, the reality was that the most pervasive and effective music education for children and adults in the 20th century in Cairns, and indeed for most of Australian society, was provided by community music groups often supported by the work of private music teachers and/or significant families. This article documents community groups from the Anglo-Celtic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultures in Cairns which had strong senses of self-identity, relied on many donated hours of amateur and professional goodwill, involved cross generational music making activities that was most marked in particularly influential families, provided regular performance opportunities and gathered support and funds to supply instruments, rehearsal venues and ultimately, music education for their members. Bartleet, Dunbar-Hall, Letts and Schippers (2008) have identified similar significant factors including infrastructure, organization, social engagement, dynamic music-making, engaging pedagogy/facilitation and links to schools in the dynamics of successful community music making in contemporary Australia. Community music education was generally delivered through particular cultural methods and procedures. This paper documents the activities of a number of co- existing musical communities in Cairns in a multi-cultural population (where multi- cultural describes different cultural groups co-existing alongside one another rather than interacting with each other), each being largely independent and relatively narrow in its activities. Despite this, there is some evidence that shows that some musical activities tended towards intercultural musical processes and others were culturally imposed, such as Western music being taught in schools and churches to all cultures. The paper offers an insight into community music education practices in a remote country town in Australia as advances in the technologies of wireless, film and gramophone began to play increasingly pervasive and influential roles in formal and informal music education practices.