Latest News

St George Community Award 2017

Posted on: 31 July 2018

From the office of Mark Coure MP, Member for Oatley

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your recent Community Group Achievement Award at the 7thAnnual St George Community Awards.

This was a great night and I was very inspired by the many amazing members of our community who are doing incredible things for our area.

The combined effort of all the volunteers make the St George area a better place to live and work.

Conference 2018 Flourish

Posted on: 31 July 2018

2018 Conference registration

2018 Conference session details

Conference 2018:  Flourish

Opening Address to be delivered by Richard Gill AO

This promises to be another outstanding Conference with wonderful presenters and a variety of sessions to make your teaching Flourish.

Some of the sessions include:-

  • Music and the Brain
  • Music Technology
  • Unlocking the Score
  • French Baroque Dance
  • Marketing Fundamentals
  • Teaching Gifted Students
  • New Music for Piano Duets
  • Working with Children
  • Building Bridges from Rhythm to Radio
  • Helping the 21st Century Student to Thrive

... and of course, a Forum of noted Music Educators.

Junior Music Festivals 2019

Posted on: 31 July 2018


Junior Music Festivals

The Junior Music Festivals were introduced in 1995, with the aim of offering young music students the opportunity to perform in a friendly, relaxed and encouraging environment.  They are held in various locations throughout Sydney and Country New South Wales.

They are open to students of both members and non-members of the MTA.

Prizes are awarded in all sections, with participants receiving a Certificate of Participation and a report from the adjudicator.  Entrants must be aged under 16 years of age as at 31st July and may enter at only one venue per year per instrument.

Each Festival is divided into sections, according to the grade/ability of the student.

Students may enter for more than one venue.

Novice Beginners to Preliminary
Elementary 1st and 2nd Grade
Intermediate 3rd and 4th Grade
Late Intermediate 5th and 6th Grade
Advanced* 7th and 8th Grade
The Miriam Hyde Piano Award** Beginners to 8th Grade
*Advanced section to be held at  Newcastle, Northern Beaches, St George/Sutherland and Wollongong venues only.

**The Miriam Hyde Award will be offered at any one of the above venues on the condition that 3 or more competitors have entered. Trophy prizes to be awarded at the adjudicator’s discretion. The competitor must play a piece composed by Miriam Hyde and the time limit will be 5 minutes. This award is open to piano students only.

Any recognised examination board grading system is acceptable.

2019 Dates

The Junior Music Festivals for 2019 will be held at the following locations:

Burwood 27th October
Hills District 8th September
Killara 18th August
Newcastle 23rd June
Northern Beaches 15th September
St. George/ Sutherland 17th November
Wollongong 2nd November

Christmas Luncheon Photos 2017

Posted on: 17 January 2018

2016 Christmas Photos

Posted on: 31 January 2017

Illawarra Branch Student Concert

Posted on: 1 October 2016

The Term 3 concert run by the Illawarra MTA Branch was held on the 18th of September at Cedars Christian College, Farmborough Heights.  Twenty-two students from the region attended, with strong representation from Piano students, however there were some lovely additions of a Violin duet as well as some Classical Guitar.  The concert was exceptionally well attended by supporting family and friends, with a total head count of approximately 90 individuals at the venue.  There was a pleasing array of stages as well as styles, with a strong contingent of beginners gaining their first performance experiences, as well as some high grades and diploma work to inspire them.

The event was also well supported by teachers, and I would like to acknowledge the following members who assisted on the day: Elaine Davis (President), Lauren Taafe (Vice President, door-takings organiser and also performer!), Helen Barker (Compère and duet partner), Denise Heriot (venue set-up), Leanne Walton (venue facilitator), Bergrid Ferreira (venue set-up) as well as AMEB examiner Tanya Rebikov, whom we look forward to welcoming as our esteemed adjudicator for the upcoming JMF on November 5th.

The Illawarra Branch looks forward to welcoming many more students of any instrument at our events in future.  Dates for 2017 events and concerts will be decided soon, and we welcome participation from as many students and teachers as possible.

Dr. Kimberley Davis
Wollongong Concert Coordinator

The Scholarships Showcase Concert – Zenith Theatre – 30 August 2015

Posted on: 10 September 2015

Eight finalists performed in the Showcase Concert, four in the Elizabeth Todd Lieder Prize in Memory of Geoffrey Parsons, and four in the Margaret Chalmers Memorial Scholarship.

The finalists included in the Lieder section were Ryan O'Donnell and Melissa Field; Laura King and Benjamin Burton; Deepka Ratra and Benjamin Au; and Clare Richards and Paulina Smirnov.

The finalists in the Margaret Chalmers included pianists Joy Yang, Wenny Qu and Maryann Gou and flautist Naomi Ng.
The winners were:

The Elizabeth Todd Lieder Prize with prize money of $2000 to the vocalist and $2000 to the accompanist went to:

Vocalist Clare Richards performing Allerseelen [Strauss] and Gretchen am Spinnrade [Schubert] and Accompanist Paulina

The Margaret Chalmers Memorial Scholarship with prize money of $3000 went to:

Pianist Maryann Gou performing Prelude No.2 [Rachmaninov] and Gnomenreigen [Liszt]

The adjudicators were Dr Christine Logan, Senior Lecturer in Music in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of NSW; Dr William Clark music educator, conductor, lecturer, retired Director of Music of The Scots College and a former MTA President; and Mr Stephen Mould Senior Lecturer in Conducting and Opera Studies and Chair of Opera Production at the Sydney Conservatorium. The adjudicators praised the winners and commented on their performance standard and professionalism.

Needless to say, the winners were delighted with their prize money which will be of great assistance in furthering their music studies.

Although he was unable to attend the concert, MTA Patron Patrick Thomas AM, MBE sent a message that was read to the finalists, part of which is reproduced below:

Many fine artists of today have benefitted from such competitions as the MTA’s, and I would be most grateful if my congratulations and good wishes were conveyed to all who have reached today’s Finals. And to the winners, my hope is that you will continue to work hard, knowing that no matter how naturally gifted you may be, music demands from all its servants, nothing less than total dedication. Yet, in return, its rewards are beyond comparison.

Finalists with adjudicator Mr Stephen Mould

Finalists with adjudicator Mr Stephen Mould who has just announced the winners of the Lieder prize.

MTA President Dr Rita Crews OAM with the winners

MTA President Dr Rita Crews OAM with the winners,
L-R: vocalist Clare Richards and accompanist Paulina Smirnov who won the Lieder prize; pianist Maryann Gou who won the Chalmers prize.

Sample Article from The Studio

Posted on: 29 July 2015

The Studio journal offers articles of interest to members such as this one to assist teachers in preparing students for examinations.

Some thoughts on music examinations
by Sue Thompson

The main benefits derived from music examination are to provide: an unbiased assessment of both the student and teacher’s progress; opportunities for intensive preparation and fine tuning of repertoire; and long term goals for students to work towards.

For less experienced teachers, the graded technical work and repertoire within the examination syllabus, is helpful in providing guidelines for study. However this should not be treated as a complete study curriculum, and teachers should find ways of providing students with a broader musical education and not spend the entire year on examination preparation

Students sitting for lower grade examination should spend no more than one or two terms on exam preparation. Otherwise their repertoire and overall music education may be too restricted, leading to disenchantment and possible termination of music study.

It is sometimes beneficial for students to have a year off examination work in order to concentrate on reinforcing weaker areas or to introduce them to other areas of performance. Some students are unsuitable for examination work and should not be encouraged to follow this path. Apart from examinations, goals and incentives such as recitals, competitions and playing to their peers in small groups is sufficient motivation.

Between periods of examination study teachers should allow students to broaden their repertoire with a wide variety of pieces for sheer enjoyment and relaxation, quick study pieces to improve reading skills or reinforce weaknesses, duet and other ensemble material. Other areas are keyboard harmony and creativity and aural training for developing inner hearing and critical listening skills. Examination aural tests are for testing purposes and are not designed as a course in aural training; therefore teachers need to look at ways of building a solid foundation in aural awareness.

Suggestions for less experienced teachers preparing students for examination Before the examination, try not to transfer your anxieties to your students and persuade parents to do likewise.

• Explain to students that the examiner is there to provide helpful and constructive criticism.

• Warn students that the examiner may inadvertently ask something outside the student’s grade, for example a wrong scale or general knowledge question. There is no harm in politely pointing this out to the examiner. Examiners are fallible!

• Make sure young children understand terminology that may be used by the examiner. (For example, similar motion, harmonic minor, modulation etc.)

• Demonstrate to students how to adjust the stool heights, otherwise provide students with a firm cushion if the stool is too low.

• If necessary, provide a footstool for younger students and train them how to gauge how far away from the piano to sit so they are not too close.

• In order to avoid false starts, advise students not to rush into playing their technical work or pieces before they are mentally ready, and to wait a few moments between sonata movements. They need to imagine the tempo and mood of each piece before commencing.

• Immediately following a performance, students should not look up at the examiner or take their hands to abruptly off the instrument except in bravura type pieces

• Make sure that clothing worn to the exam is comfortable, neat and suitable for the occasion; shoes with low heels are more suitable for pedalling than high heels, platform soles or joggers.

• Don’t erase pencil marks from pieces at the last moment as this can be disconcerting for the student who is used to seeing them on the page. Only general knowledge and analysis marks need be erased, while fingering, phrasing and expression marks may be left to assist the student.

• Analysis of pieces should be introduced from the outset to facilitate learning and not left until close to the examination.

• Similarly, aural testing and sight-reading cannot be crammed at the last minute. Both skills require careful and frequent reinforcement to be successful.

• If students are having difficulty with aural work or sight-reading for their grade, it is better to go back and work through earlier grade levels. This will achieve better results and rebuild confidence.

• Close to the examination, allow students to play through each piece so they have a sense of continuity. Concentration is difficult when students are continually stopped for correction of errors and this can lead to ‘stuttering’ in performance. If necessary make a mental or written note of any critical feedback at the end of the performance. Advanced students need to play through their entire program a number of times in order to test concentration and endurance.

• If necessary, advanced students should arrange for, and rehearse with, a page turner.

• Arrange for opportunities for students to play their examination pieces in front of each other as well as to an invited audience close to the event. This often takes pressure off the actual examination. To be meaningful this recital should take place at least a week or 10 days before the exam so that corrections or alterations may be made in plenty of time.

• Cassette or videotaped recordings are an excellent means by which students can see and hear themselves play. However, it is important to allow students plenty of time to hear and see the replay so they may make necessary adjustments.

• To help new examination students prepare, it is helpful to arrange for a mock exam close to the real event. This can be conducted by the teacher or a colleague. During this mock examination, the ‘examiner’ should make written not verbal comments on the performance to be conveyed at the end of the session. Allow the mock exam to be as close a simulation of the exam as possible.

• Inexperienced teachers sometimes have difficulty knowing how soon before an examination to start teaching the list pieces. If started too late, the student may not be ready, too early and the student may lose enthusiasm and momentum and the performance its spontaneity. When unsure, it is advisable to start the pieces early, giving a date by which the pieces must be completed and performed. This could be in the form of one or two examination recitals given with other students, of either specified list pieces only, or all examination pieces. Following this, any completed pieces may be put aside to be revived and refined closer to the examination date.

• When an examination is held at a public centre, some teachers feel it is better not to accompany their students. Many students are over-anxious to please parents and teachers and may become more nervous with their teacher present. Before the examination teachers and parents should hide their own feelings of anxiety but give comfort and moral support both before and afterwards.

• Immediately before the examination, students should be kept calm and quiet and given the opportunity to look through their pieces to refresh their memories on points of interest. A few deep breaths will help steady the nerves and prevent hyperventilation.

• In cold weather advise students to dress warmly and if necessary carry a hot water bottle to keep their hands warm.

The following are suggestions for teachers who provide their home as a private centre for examinations.

• Provide a quiet, cheerful and relaxed atmosphere and a recently tuned and well maintained instrument.

• In the waiting room, which should be warm in winter, have some light refreshments and reading material such as comics, magazines etc. on hand.

• If there are several students sitting for the same grade, try to vary the choice of pieces. This allows the examiner greater scope for comments, while students have more opportunity to hear a wider repertoire.

Examination work should be very carefully introduced from the outset, with meticulous attention to detail if remedial teaching at later lessons is to be avoided. Therefore, proceed by teaching a little at a time, making sure the student understands how and what they need to practise each week.

Insist on quality practise and you will be well rewarded!

Reproduced with permission from "Bravura" July 2012, the magazine of the Music Teachers' Association of Queensland.

Photos from Illawarra Branch Report – 2014

Posted on: 15 April 2014


Student Concert – August 2013 - Cedars Christian College


Tanya Phillips - 'Educating Students, Recognising Their Needs and Motivations' – Professional Development Topic

Give Aussie Kids The Full Deal

Posted on: 15 April 2014


Now the Australian Curriculum has arrived, every Aussie kid should receive a quality classroom music education. Yet research tells us most states cannot deliver The Full Deal.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Think again. Research also shows that kids who study music properly not only gain skills in this beautiful artform: they may do better in other subjects and are more confident and happier in life. While many schools do offer a good music education (about three times more likely in private schools), what about the 63% of schools nationwide that don't have any classroom music?

Read more about giving kids The Full Deal at, or jump straight to the petition and send a message to your Minister: you want every Australian child to receive a quality music education in school.

Sign the Petition

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