September 12, 2022

Safer Spaces in Music Education

In the last two years there have been an increasing number of stories about harmful behavior in music education spaces. The stories have been about people we know, and people who have been highly regarded in music education circles. These stories motivated many of us to come together to actively work to prevent sexual harm in these spaces.

Safer Spaces in Music Education began with a Zoom hui of people from across the music education sector. Together we represent tertiary, secondary, primary, and early childhood providers, small studio/private teachers, itinerant music teachers, community music providers who target youth, and of course the voices of our students.

A one-day Safer Spaces in Music Education symposium was held In Wellington in January 2022 – this was kindly funded and hosted by Massey University. It was well attended, and participants were very positive about the training in preventing sexual harm in an educational context.

MENZA is committed to continued work in this space and in May 2022 we applied for a Capability Grant from the New Zealand Music Commission. This application was successful and SSME was granted $10,000 to meet our key objectives for 2022 listed below:

• Appointing a project manager/administration person to support the resource tailoring and development and to apply for further funding.

• Development of a Harm Prevention Checklist.

• Developing a Code of Ethics/Conduct template – blending the SoundCheck Aotearoa Code of Conduct template & IRMTNZ Code of Ethics.

• 6 D’s (detect, direct, distract, delegate, delay, dialogue) of Bystander Intervention poster design.

• Instructional information for staff to respond well to disclosures of sexual harm.

• The creation of a student-facing posters (two) which outline what sexual harassment is, who to tell, and what will happen if they tell.

All these resources will be freely available via the MENZA and SoundCheck Aotearoa websites. These resources will form the basis of Sexual Harm Prevention Training for Music Educators to be developed in the future. We believe that it should be compulsory for all educators to complete this training in how to prevent sexual harm, as part of the teacher registration process.

There is still much work ahead of us and if you think you would like to be part of this group please email Jeni Little to indicate interest, or visit our Facebook page

None of this would be happening without the hard work and considerable support from:

• Rachel Harrison and Mel Calvesbert – SoundCheck Aotearoa facilitators

• Oliver and Nikky Harrop – SoundCheck Aotearoa

• Dr Catherine Hoad and Massey University


• Hobsonville Point Secondary School

• Recorded Music NZ

• New Zealand Music Commission

If you have experienced harm and need someone to talk to, HELP is a specialist sexual harm crisis agency that it is available 24/7 nationwide by phone 0800 623 1700 – you can call anonymously, email or directly via their website.

HELP can provide information, support and practical assistance to anyone anywhere in New Zealand who has experienced sexual harm, and anyone supporting a friend or family member who has experienced harm.

SoundCheck Aotearoa also has a resources and tools page created for the music industry which will form the basis of education-specific resources.

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