Course Description

In 2012 Brad Fuller was contracted to redesign the classroom music program at Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS) to “Create a magical, inspiring space that allows students to make music at the speed of thought”. Using a philosophy first approach Brad and his colleague Peter Orenstein, designed the space, furniture, equipment, IT and courseware to foster engaged 21st Century Musicians. Each week educators from around the world toured the school and the music space as they sought inspiration to change practice in their own contexts. The philosophical pillars that informed the design of the space, the pedagogy, the implementation of technology and the choice of content was difficult to communicate in small sound bites during these tours. This resulted in visitors often skipping straight to how they could translate the physical space into their contexts, without understanding the philosophy that the NBCS physical space was built on. In this workshop, music educators Brad and Peter aim to address this problem by leading participants on a re-introduction to Music Education Philosophy using real-world examples from their work at NBCS. As they share their story, the focus is on helping you understand the seminal works from the music education field in order to inspire and equip you to develop your own unique approach.

The hard work has been done to distil the key ideas into actionable pillars to take on your journey as a music educator, regardless of your situation. They will help you to focus on the areas you’d like to change and give you tools to take your music program to the next level.


Target Audience

For music teachers and music tutors


Teaching Standards

1.2.2 Proficient Level - Know students and how they learn - Understand how students learn: Structure teaching programs using research and collegial advice about how students learn.

2.1.2 Proficient Level - Know the content and how to teach it - Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area: Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

3.2.2 Proficient Level - Plan for and implement Effective Teaching and Learning - Plan, structure and sequence learning programs: Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.

6.3.2 Proficient Level - Engage in Professional Learning - Engage with colleagues and improve practice: Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you

This course may contribute towards Elective PD hours. Visit for more details.

Via Zoom

This course will run via Zoom.  You will be sent the details of how to join this PD the day before the course runs.


Session - 1 - Setup

Duration - 15 min

Introduction to Brad and Pete and Music Education Philosophy

Session - 2 - Philosophy and Music Education

Duration - 60 min

A survey of the key literature

Session - 3 - Persons, Music, Education - Examining core beliefs and their connection to our Music Education Pedagogy

Duration - 60 min

The nature and value music - The nature and value of education - What is knowledge? - What is a person?

Session - 4 - Whose music is it anyway?

Duration - 60 min

Who are we teaching? - What do our students want/need from music education? - What does the syllabus say about these questions? - How can we meet the syllabus outcomes and students wants/needs? - How might a deeper understanding of these foundations shape our approach to student agency, engagement, creativity, flow, autonomy, ownership, and reflection.

Session - 5 - How then shall we teach?

Duration - 60 min

Curriculum design - Student-teacher relationship - The role of the teacher - Implications for designing and delivering assessment.

Session - 6 - Wrap-up

Duration - 15 min

Question time


Gig Based Learning (GBL)

Gig Based Learning is a musically informed, philosophically driven learning design and facilitation process. It gives teachers tools to provide students with opportunities for active, engaging, real-world music(k)ing with/for an authentic audience. Building on the integrated learning experiences model - performance, composition, musicology, aural, GBL puts all of these experiences to work for the benefit of producing a great gig, contextualising the learning for the student so that it’s ‘just in time’ not ‘just in case’