Music Trust Activities | The Music Trust

First Activities


Information and research

Music in Australian Knowledge Base: online compendium of facts, figures and issues for Australian music and musical life; includes special research
Award for research in music education: to encourage research into the benefits of music education
Research to propose criteria for qualification as a primary schools specialist music teacher.
Research to estimate the “GDP” of the Australian music sector.


Freedman Music Fellowships: prestigious annual fellowships for a classical instrumentalist and a jazz musician, intended to assist them in career building. The awards are in cash and promotion.
Australian composers: Under consideration. Various sorts of action to increase the number of performances of orchestral and operatic works.


School music education: advocate that every Australian child is given the opportunity for a quality music education throughout the school years.
Australian compositions. The composer project above may need to include advocacy
International trade agreements. To maintain the prerogative of the Australian government to support Australian culture, unimpeded by the trade ambitions of other countries.


Objectives for Advisory Council

The future

Information and research

Music in Australia Knowledge Base. The Music Trust is developing the Music in Australia Knowledge Base,, as a wiki site. Its objective is to provide a comprehensive picture of how music works in Australia. To our knowledge, there is no other website that attempts to depict the entire musical life of a country. Essentially, it is the creation of volunteers. It was established by Hans Hoegh-Guldberg (editor) and Richard Letts in 2008 under the auspices of the Music Council of Australia and has passed to the management of The Music Trust.

There are two types of content: facts in the form of mapping articles and statistics, and issues papers in the form of SWOT analyses and discussions of key issues facing various subsectors. Some items report research carried out especially for the Knowledge Base.

The Knowledge Base now comprises nearly 200 papers. Its statistics section contains virtually all of the extant statistics on the Australian music sector including some not found elsewhere. Among other purposes, the Knowledge Base provides factual support for advocacy.

The current plan for the Knowledge Base is:

  • To identify and fill factual gaps
  • To cover all important current issues
  • To update older papers
  • To include some more ephemeral content in order to add currency to the home page; this content will include blogs and reviews of Australian recordings and books
  • To design a new and more contemporary visual presentation.

Research to estimate the “GDP” of the Australian music sector. The work will be done by cultural economist Hans Hoegh-Guldberg and published on the Knowledge Base.

Award for research in music education. Inception of annual award for best research into the benefits of music education. The purpose is to strengthen an area of weakness in Australian research and to encourage local research in an area that can support advocacy for school music education. Probably, a collaboration with the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education (ANZARME).

Research to propose criteria for qualification as a primary schools specialist music teacher. The criteria will be proposed to Ministers for Education and universities as an aspect of TMT’s advocacy for the introduction of specialist music teachers into all primary school classrooms. Working group will be led by Assoc Prof Robin Stevens.


The Freedman Music Fellowships will now be managed by The Music Trust. They are the creation in 2001 of Laurence Freedman and Richard Letts and have been managed under the auspices of the Music Council of Australia until 2013.

There are two annual Fellowships, one for a classical instrumentalist and one for a jazz musician. They are offered to young (30 or younger for classical, 35 or younger for jazz) and already well-established musicians to assist them in further career development. The jazz Fellow is chosen each year through a concert at The Studio of the Sydney Opera House. Candidates for the Fellowships are chosen by distinguished senior musicians in each state. You cannot self-nominate and to be nominated is already an honour. The 23 winners to date are a who’s who of Australian music.

Administration of the Freedman Music Fellowships has been contracted to the Sydney Improvised Music Association and there may be further developments of this partnership.

Plans for extension of the scope of the Fellowships are under discussion and the concept under consideration would be a first for such awards in Australia.

Australian composers. A proposal from an Advisory Council member is being discussed. The objective would be to achieve more performances of orchestral and operatic works by Australian composers. Planning is in its early stages.

Australian Honours. Cause nominations of music people for each round of Australian Honours.


School music education. The Music Trust will seek to achieve through policy formation and advocacy the provision of high quality music education in schools for all Australian children. It will pursue this through the development of policy solutions and their promotion to decision makers and the public. The focus now is on primary schools, which are the least well served in music education. The failings of primary school music education are the single most urgent issue in Australian music education.

Advocacy is primarily to state governments. The Music Trust has taskforces in NSW, SA and WA and cooperates with Victoria’s School Music Action Group (SMAG). Advocacy has been directed to Ministers and departmental officers. In the coming months, this will be supplemented by a public campaign.

Australian compositions. The Australian composers project above may need to include advocacy.

Culture and international trade agreements. The Music Trust monitors the negotiation of Australia’s trade agreements . The principle is that the government’s prerogatives to support Australian culture should not be constrained by the trade ambitions of other countries.

Websites The Knowledge Base has been described above. You are standing in it. A site to promote the public campaign in support of school music education.

Advisory Council

Objectives for 2014:

  • Expand the membership to 25-30, with expertise covering a wide range of music subsectors, research, management, academic disciplines and business
  • Consult with membership on identification of additional members and on possible activities
  • Organise a one-day conference of Advisory Council members to discuss the situation of music in Australia and possible strategies for its advancement.

The future

Additional projects will be decided with guidance from the Advisory Council. The list below shows current proposals from Advisory Council members. Only a small number of additional projects are within the immediate capacity of TMT.

  • Advocate for adequate funding for internationally competitive tertiary music education
  • Develop a project to encourage better writing about music – better music journalism – and to find audiences for it
  • Support interdisciplinary dialogue and research (eg music and psychology)
  • Develop an overall strategy for support of multicultural music, especially at the professional end
  • Undertake an analysis of the situation of jazz, make policy recommendations for development
  • Argue for better opportunities for women composers and musicians, especially at upper levels. Possible advocacy to promote equity.
  • Protect, revive, care for our musical heritage. Define it. Perform it. (Do not focus only on the new.)
  • Identify key unsolved issues for music in the digital area. Publish them, take action where feasible.
  • Identify key unresolved issues in music IPR, consider possibilities for advocacy
  • Support Australian content quotas where appropriate
  • Promote adult music participation for musical reasons and public health reasons
  • Publish the facts about music issues at election time

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