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Overview of GCM      Stage 1      Stage 2      Stage 1 key findings

Overview of GCM

The aim of the Growing Community Music (GCM) Project (Stage 1) is, ‘through broad consultation and research, to identify and implement the needs, strategies and resources for increasing and encouraging participation in community music across Victoria and to propose a program for its implementation.’

Stage 1

During 2019, with the help of a grant from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, CMVic visited nine regions within Victoria and engaged local people in creative reflection, planning and discussion – take a look here at The Standard’s take on the Warrnambool meeting.

At all these locations we found people who are passionate about the strength and power of community music making. Many different and exciting ideas for engaging in music making and integrated arts were offered through the consultations. We sought out and listened to people from a diverse range of backgrounds and abilities and investigated Leadership Skills development in other parts of the world. We interviewed widely, from academics to self-taught leaders, from five-year-old’s through teenagers to grannies, and we listened to experienced community music leaders.

The first stage explored how a large-scale program could be devised to increase the number of Victorian community music leaders and support existing leaders, in many different settings, including necessary training programs, mentoring, and resourcing. To this end, Project Managers Jane Coker and Lyndal Chambers conducted community consultations in nine locations around the state, consulted a wide range of community music makers, researched how community music leadership is taught in different countries (see Lyndal's blog about an online course), and have brought all this together in both summary reports and full reports.

Key findings from this first stage, which was completed in early 2020, can be found below, You can also download the GCM Outcomes - Summary Report July 2020 by clicking on the link, and the full detailed report is available on request by contacting us.

Stage 2 (latest update Oct 2021)

  • Helen Macpherson Smith Trust has generously approved funding of $186k for stage 2, providing it is matched from other sources
  • In mid-2021, matched funds of $25.5k were secured from the DSS (NDIS Social and Community Participation Stream Grant), enabling activity to start in the Mildura/Sunraysia/Mallee region
  • CMVic is currently seeking further matched funds for all three initial regions: Mildura/Sunraysia/Mallee, Casey/Cardinia, and East Gippsland

Some key findings from Stage 1 were:

  • Regional networking across different groups and models of community music making is valued and important (mutual support, human resources, new ideas/extensions). People valued getting together in their region and being recognised/ validated at a state level – being part of a movement.
  • Some sort of local paid co-ordinator(s) with links to state and local government and other agencies would help to grow community music - we can't just rely on volunteers.
  • Tailored mentoring and targeted leadership skill development (combined with networking) would be valuable in all areas consulted.
  • Local Inclusive Arts events grow local identity.

This project goes to the heart of how CMVic goes about fulfilling it's mission. Many new fruitful partnerships have begun over the course of this first stage and we expect these to flourish and new ones to be established in the even more exciting next stage of enacting the program. See Deb Carveth's blog about the project.

We are in the process of applying to a range of governmental and philanthropic organisations for grants to fund the next stage of Growing Community Music (GCM). Many of those in local and state government and the commercial sector are unaware of what community music is and the power it has to strengthen communities. We are very grateful to the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for their support of stage 1 and hope they and other major philanthropic organisations will see fit to support the next stages. We estimate that we need to raise $75,000 for each of 10 regions to get the next stage of GCM going. 

While it is well established that participation in music making is a great way to bring people together, to strengthen communities, to improve individual and community health and well-being, it is not always obvious how to make this happen. The Growing Community Music project draws on CMVic's many years of experience in expanding participation in community music making through helping leaders acquire the many different skills needed to run inclusive community music groups as well as all the important research and consultation of the first stage. The GCM project has the potential to significantly improve the lives of thousands of Victorians in all areas of the state. We welcome all donations and assistance to get the next stage up and running. You can donate here. If you would like to be involved as a volunteer in this great project or would like to find out more, please contact us at CMVic central.