Deborah Smith

B Mus (Distinction), Grad Dip Teach, AMusA (Clar), ATCL (Pno)

Deborah Smith has forged a vital role in the advancement of the Kodály method in Secondary Schools throughout Victoria. In addition to her extensive experience as a leading music educator, lecturer and author, she has been a key contributor to the development of the Kodály Secondary Teacher Training Courses in Victoria, and continues to be a knowledgeable and dedicated lecturer for KMEIA Vic. As a member of KMEIA Vic., Deborah provides invaluable advice and guidance in Secondary music education. She has been editor of the Victorian Branch newsletter since 2008, sourcing and often contributing new and informative articles.

Deborah completed a Bachelor of Music Performance degree with distinction at Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where she studied clarinet with Barbara Lockwood and Floyd Williams, and piano with Charles Glenn. Upon discovering a passion for teaching others about music, she went on to study music education, in particular the Kodály method. Deborah studied with numerous Kodály experts including Judith Johnson, Anne Comiskey, Ed Bolkovac, Merrill Debski, Sayuri Kishi-Debski and Katalin Forrai. She has a Graduate Diploma of Teaching in Primary and Secondary Classroom Music and is a graduate of the Holy Names Summer Institute (California).

Deborah commenced her teaching career at the renowned Kodály School at Clayfield College in QLD, where she worked alongside inspirational teachers such as Judith Johnson, Gwen Burguez and James Cuskelly. In 1994, she was appointed Head of Junior School Music at Scotch College in Melbourne. In 1996, following her passion for teaching Secondary School aged students, Deborah joined Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School as Director of Music where she developed the existing Junior School Kodály program into a whole school program from Prep to Year 12. Following this, a position as Director of Music at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School enabled her to continue this work, implementing a highly successful, fully aural-based program for students across the whole school.

In 2001, Deborah launched her own company, Deborah Smith Music, with a view to helping as many music students and teachers as possible. After being asked by numerous Victorian music teachers to help them find suitable Kodály-based teaching resources, she wrote the Musicianship & Aural Training for the Secondary School textbooks for VCE music (Year 11 and 12). The success of these early books led to Deborah creating a full series of textbooks, CDs and online resources for musicianship and aural training in the Secondary School. Deborah also has the honour of publishing a series of analysis texts written by her colleague Jenny Gillan. Since its early days, DS Music has expanded and now boasts sales of 10,000 books every year.

Deborah is in constant demand as a lecturer and mentor, and is invited to give numerous conference presentations, lectures, workshops and aural training sessions to music students, teachers and student-teachers. This work enables Deborah to provide critical support for students and their teachers. Her informative, enthusiastic and entertaining style is always well received.

Through the DS Music website, Deborah offers dedicated support to teachers and students, as well as an extensive range of free resources and online courses. Students and teachers also benefit from her two Facebook pages: VCE Music Support and Classroom Music Teacher Support, and her music educator’s blog.

In 2014, Deborah was inducted into the inaugural Association of Music Educators (aMuse) Music Education Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame was created to commemorate the influence made on the Victorian education landscape by music educators.

“Deb’s role in the life of KMEIA Victoria is unmatched and we are honoured to have her as a member”.

Susan Searle, KMEIA National Conference, 2016

Deborah considers receiving the Honorary Life Membership from KMEIA at the 2016 National Conference her greatest honour of all.

Honorary Life Members

Latest News

2022 Award Recipients Announcement

The Kodály Australia National Council were delighted to receive impressive applications and nominations for the 2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education. It was inspiring to see a high number of peer-nominations across each of the five categories. …
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2022 President Update

I am humbled to be elected as President of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia. The President along with members of the National Council provide leadership and governance of our association. I look forward to working with the 2022-2024 Council members …
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Season’s Greetings from Kodály Australia

On behalf of Kodály Australia, I write to thank you for your support this year and offer our season’s greetings. I trust your work has now wrapped up for the year, and you are celebrating the festive season with family …
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2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education

It is an honour to introduce you to the 2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education. These awards aim to recognise members of our community who in the past two years have made an exceptional contribution and impact …
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Identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Members

Kodály Australia promotes and facilitates reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. As part of our journey in reconciliation, we have updated our membership registration to include the following voluntary questions: I’m an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person: …
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