JULY – Teacher of the Month
Rachel is our longest serving ACMF teacher. She started working with us in 2006 at Soldiers’ Settlement School in Matraville, Sydney. In 2007 she began visiting Hillston Central School in far South Western NSW for three days each term, and in 2010 added weekly classes at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) primary school in the inner Sydney suburb of Waterloo. Rachel is still teaching music at all three schools today, and is an extremely popular and successful teacher – we receive rave reports about her from principals, staff, students and parents, who all attest to the impact her music classes have on the lives of their students and the culture of their schools.
Rachel has also been instrumental in forging the ACMF’s close relationship with both the ACO (Australian Chamber Orchestra) and the RAN Navy Band. In early 2010 she arranged for the first performance by an ACO string quartet at Soldiers’ Settlement School. Now an ACO quartet visits that school twice a year for concerts and guided workshops, and does the same for OLMC at Waterloo. In May this year, an ACO quartet visited Sunshine Harvester Primary School in Melbourne for the first time, with Rachel facilitating the visit and performance, and now we plan to continue and expand that relationship to include other ACMF schools in the Sunshine area of Melbourne.
Similarly Rachel arranged for the RAN Navy Band to perform at Soldiers’ Settlement School in 2010, and now the band visits and performs with the kids at all three of her schools once a year. The visit to Hillston Central School led to a special mentoring relationship with the members of the Hillston school concert band, with various members of the Navy Band giving the students one-on-one lessons via video-conference once a term. These mentoring sessions have given these kids in a far-flung NSW country town access to lessons from some of the finest musicians in the country.
As an extension of the ACMF – ACO concert and workshop programs, and of her classes in her three NSW schools, Rachel has now written a series of weekly music lessons designed to enable generalist primary teachers to deliver weekly music lessons in their own classrooms. Delivered for the first time in July 2013 under the banner of the ACMF CONNECT Professional Development (PD) for Teachers, Rachel conducted a series of interactive workshops and provided weekly music lesson plans for 75 teachers at four primary schools in the Little Bay area of Sydney. The program was enormously successful, with many of the teachers reporting they are enjoying teaching music to their students for the first time in their careers. The success of this project led to similar PD workshops being delivered via video conference for 40 teachers in seven schools in the Sunraysia District of NSW, and plans for many more.
Rachel is also an accomplished cellist, who performs regularly in her own series of concerts called Bach in the Dark in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, and has just brought out a CD called Little Birds with one of her musical collaborators from that series of concerts, piano accordionist Anthony Schulz. http://www.bachinthedark.com/d/ The CD has already received airplay on ABC Classic FM’s Drive program.