Hayley Blakiston

2022 Award Recipient for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education: Mentoring

Nominated by Jared Furtado

Hayley is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Teaching in 2002. Hayley is an experienced classroom music teacher, choral and instrumental conductor. After graduating, Hayley was the foundation Music teacher at the Berwick campus of Beaconhills, where she was instrumental in building the program literally from the ground up. In 2005, Hayley took on the role of Head of Junior School Music, Minimbah Campus at Woodleigh School. In the 12 years at Minimbah, Hayley was able to build a program based on the Kodaly philosophy, with music flourishing during this time. In 2018, Hayley took on the role of Head of Junior School Music at Brighton Grammar, seeing the Kodaly-inspired approach grow from strength to strength. Hayley has also brought this approach to community groups such as Peninsula Youth Music Society. Hayley’s love of Kodaly and choral direction was developed in her early years under the direction of Liz McManus and Michael Sargeant at St Margaret’s School. She was deeply inspired by these amazing educators and wanted to pass this exceptional music experience onto her students. 

Response to Selection Criteria
Hayley is an exemplary music educator with extensive classroom, ensemble, choral and instrumental teaching and conducting experience.

Since joining the Music Department and Junior School Staff at Brighton Grammar, Hayley has consistently advocated for – and developed – a Kodaly-inspired sequential curriculum in our Junior School. She also works regularly with our Head of Music Curriculum to integrate Kodaly-inspired concepts in the Secondary School classroom, ensuring a truly P-12 music curriculum.

Our Junior School curriculum is incredibly comprehensive, with no stone unturned in planning, teaching and assessment. All planning is sequential and overseen by Hayley, and she has a wonderful collaborative approach when consistently reviewing and updating curriculum documentation with her team (please note Hayley’s team have a wide variety of Kodaly knowledge/expertise). Hayley is realistic in expectations of her teaching and learning team, and ensures that school performance and curricular expectations are met. Some of her most effective leadership has been within the compulsory choral program, with rhythmic, melodic and sight singing concepts being sequential from Prep to Year 8. Our Choral program would be a tremendous model/resource to other schools, thanks largely to Hayley’s drive and expertise.

Hayley has nurtured the professional learning of our younger colleagues with many of them either commencing further professional development through Kodaly level courses. Although this advocacy is admirable, it is Hayley’s work with more experienced teachers that has really impressed me. Many experienced educators – classroom, instrumental and generalist Junior School teachers – can have the propensity to be stuck in their ways, however, Hayley has the ability to work with their strengths to advocate for Kodaly-inspired performance and curricular outcomes. I have recently seen Hayley work with a very experienced primary class music teacher to develop a Kodaly-inspired approach in their own music classroom, with the teacher now enrolled and studying Level 1. Hayley has also guided instrumental staff in integrating Kodaly-inspired concepts into instrumental lessons, with one instrumental tutor also completing Level 1 with Hayley’s ongoing encouragement.

Hayley’s encouraging, inspiring, strong-yet-subtle mentoring has paved the way for so many music educators, and I am proud to nominate her for this award.

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