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MAINZ conference a first for NZ music educators

Tai Poutini Polytechnic MAINZ conference a first for NZ music educators

The MAINZ Music Educators’ Conference looks set to become a staple on New Zealand’s music industry calendar following a hugely successful inaugural event.

The 2014 Music Educators’ Conference was the first of its kind to be held in New Zealand. Hosted by Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ) the conference brought together 54 music industry and academic delegates from around the country and around the world over two days on 10 and 11 July 2014.

Incoming MAINZ General Manager Dr Suzette Major says the event was a first for the New Zealand music education sector.

“Music education, like the music industry, is changing so quickly that coming together and talking and sharing is critical. You can operate in silos for years and there’s a moment when everything finally clicks. We’ve hit that moment with this conference.

“People in music education all know each other already: they’ve played in bands together and have conversations all the time. The conference is a more formal way to share those conversations and I could see a real spirit of collaboration across the sector at the event.

“New Zealand’s creative sector is flourishing right now despite all the changes going on in the industry. It’s an extremely exciting time to be part of the sector and we need to make sure we are preparing the students of today for a world that is changing rapidly.”

Suzette joins MAINZ with 25 years’ experience in New Zealand’s creative education sector. She says MAINZ tutors and staff are “hugely respected” in their field and is excited to be part of the team.

Conference convenor Annabel Schuler says MAINZ spotted a gap in the industry for an opportunity to share ideas and develop relationships between New Zealand music industry players and educators. The conference was organised to fill that gap.

“We were lucky to have some top industry representatives speak as part of our Industry Panel and speakers. This included Roel Verberk of the rockacademie in the Netherlands and Lorde’s manager, Scott Maclachlan. There is a currency to the networks you build at these events – you’ve got to keep up with what is going on the industry so that you can pass this on to the students,” she says.

MAINZ plans to build on relationships forged with local and international contacts at the event to develop programmes and create new opportunities to collaborate for staff and students.

“The feedback we’ve had so far is that the 2014 Music Educators’ Conference was a great opportunity to bring together the movers and shakers of our sector – and that we need to make this a regular event,” Annabel says.


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