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Celebrating Music.Count us in!, a program of Music. Play for life! in Canberra, Australia.


Ms. Tina Broad, Campaign Director, 'Music. Play for Life'


Music. Play for Life - Campaign office: 35 Bannister Head Road, Mollymook, NSW 2539, Australia

Tel: +61 2 44 54 3887

Fax: +61 2 44 54 3882 






Dr Erica Eyrich, Director, Arts Investment Forum  

Music. Play for Life promotes to all Australians the power of music making to enrich our lives and the lives of our community - whoever we are, wherever we are – and encourages more of us to turn that belief into action.
Now and for life.

       Organizational details                                                                           

The Music Council of Australia (MCA), Australia's peak music body was founded in 1993 and registered in Sydney as a non-profit organization.


  Music. Play for Life was launched in 2004 as an initiative of the MCA, in collaboration with the Australian Music Association, the Australian Society for Music Education and the Australian Music Therapy Association.


3 full-time, 3 part-time and thousands of grassroots volunteers all over Australia


Geographic reach:

Australia: cities, towns and in regional, rural and remote areas

       Mission and activities                                                                           

As ‘the people’s movement for more music making’ in Australia, Music: Play For Life (MPFL) runs its programs and activities with the aim of encouraging more active music making in schools, communities, everywhere. The MPFL campaign addresses research-based facts such as:


·         Despite music learning uniquely contributing to children’s social, emotional and intellectual development, meaningful music education has lost its place in the nation’s schools over time – as few as 23% of public (government-funded) schools are able to offer students an effective music education, compared with 88% of private schools (source: MCA)

·         Many schools that do have music programs report  improvements in students‘ engagement with school, arrestment of truancy rates and improved literacy and numeracy outcomes.A fresh-out-of-university new primary school teacher has had, on average, merely 17 hours of instruction in music over the 1500 hours of his/her undergraduate course, a poor base from which to deliver a 6 year primary music curriculum (source: MCA) 


Most Australian - adults and children alike - are missing out on the joys and benefits of music.  Music. Play for Life works to change this. Accordingly, MPFL’s mission is to encourage more music making in schools, communities, everywhere. Its activities and outputs are structured around national campaigns which seek to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change leading to higher participation in active music making 1) in schools and 2) in community settings.


The schools campaigns include:


·         the Flame Awards to showcase and reward schools with outstanding music education programs; 

·         Guitars for Schools, a program to provide instruments to disadvantaged school children.

·         Music:Count Us In, to highlight the importance of music education in our schools, via a program in which half a million schoolchildren around Australia learn a song and perform it at the same time, on the same day, and


The communities campaigns include:


·         the annual Music in Communities Awards, which were held for the first time in 2008 and which awarded over $20,000 to community music organisations around Australia, to recognise and reward the often unsung people and organisations which lead music activity in our towns, cities and villages

·         the Music in Communities Network – to build musical and administrative capacity among people who lead community music programs, particularly those is regional and rurual areas

·         and Making Music Being Well, to highlight the link between music making and health and to spur more people to make music for wellbeing.

       Impact and planning                                                                            

After running for 6 years, MPFL’s base of registered supporters has grown from 576 to 7000. This demonstrates a burgeoning profile of the campaign and its aims and a willingness by more people in Australia to sign up as volunteer advocates and supporters.

Support in the media for its programs – a key plank in helping MPFL to raise public awareness about the benefits in making music – has grown exponentially over 6 years, from a mere half a million or so media impressions in year 1 to more than 60 million in year 6.


Under the MCA’s Research Committee headed by its Director, Dr Richard Letts, MPFL monitors, measures and evaluates its programs, often with third-party partners at tertiary institutions such as Melbourne University and Griffith University (QLD).  It uses a range of methods including online surveys and phone interviews. Its advisory group comprises experts in specific fields of relevance to the campaign and helps to drive MPFL’s strategies.


          Finances and partnerships                                                                    

Music. Play for Life is well known and respected and works in partnership across the education, health and music sectors. It has developed a network of more than 5,000 supporters who are committed to helping it meet its mission of tuning more people into the benefits of a musically active life. It has longstanding links and connections with health professionals, primary and secondary school teachers and specialist tertiary music providers; parents and their representative bodies; a wide network of State/Territory and Federal Government bureaucrats and elected representatives and community and workplace music makers.  Through the Australian Music Association, it has access to more than 600 music retailers across the country.  Through the Australian Music Therapy Association it hasaccess to 400 registered allied health professionals working in hospitals, nursing homes and community settings.


From an operational point of view, MPFL is very small, but its scope is wide and national. Covering staff and administrative costs is the vital building block for all MPFL campaigns.

MPFL is funded as a part of the Music Council of Australia’s budget. The Council’s budget is funded by:

Australia Council                                                                         30%

Campaign sponsorship from government and philanthropic sources      60%

Funding from the commercial sector                                              10%


About 10% of staff time are dedicated to fundraising.   

          Last updated:  December 10, 2010