MEP Staff Profile

Founder: Adjunct Professor Susan West
BMus (Melb), GradDip (Kodály Inst., Kecskemet), MEd (CSU), PhD (ANU)

Dr Susan West has over forty years’ experience as a performer, educator, composer and arranger. Her work in developing pre-tertiary music programs and post-graduate teacher-training is at the cutting edge of music education with wide-ranging influences from traditional music philosophies, both ancient and modern, to holistic and therapeutic uses of music. Susan trained in music performance at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music and the Victorian College of the Arts and obtained a post-graduate degree in music education from the Kodaly Institute of Hungary. She played Principal Piccolo with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra in 1980 and then Associate Principal and Principal Flute with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1981-1985. During this time she was also a member of the Australian Wind Virtuosi, touring nationally and internationally.

She was invited to the Canberra School of Music in 1984 to help establish the Music Education Program. Recognising a need for different and more successful forms of music education, she continued her studies, first at Charles Sturt University and later with the Institute for Music and Health, New York. She transformed the Music Education Program into the Music Engagement Program, from which emerged an entirely new philosophy for music making that embeds altruistic sharing at the centre of community and professional music making. Her social-therapeutic approach for which she coined the title ‘The Music Outreach Principle’ has affected the musical lives of tens of thousands of teachers, school children, secondary and tertiary students, musicians, seniors, and community members. She not only works as a music educator and researcher but composes and arranges for children, singing groups, instrumental groups, and for film.

The changes wrought in music education through her Music Outreach Principle formed the basis of Susan’s PhD thesis, completed at the Australian National University in 2007. Susan has supervised another three PhD projects and a Masters’ thesis, all of which explored different aspects of music education and community music. Susan has been recognised through a variety of awards including a National Children’s Week Award, a National Women’s Day Award, a citation for Teaching Excellence from the Carrick Institute, a Community Outreach Award from the Music Council of Australia, an ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement, and in 2016 was recognised as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review. In 2020 Susan received two Children’s Week Awards: an Intergenerational Award for her promotion of multi-generational music outreach, and an Exceptional Senior Award for her services to children throughout her 40+ year career.

As well as continuing her practice and research in Canberra, Susan is currently collaborating with researchers and practitioners in New Zealand trialling the application of outreach approaches in the South Island.

Dr Georgia Pike

BA (ANU), GradDipEd (Monash), PhD (ANU)
Convenor, Music Engagement Program
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: (02) 6125 6336

Georgia Pike is the Convenor of the Music Engagement Program at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia.  A singer, educator, community outreach facilitator and transdisciplinary researcher, Georgia spent a year in New York training in voice with Susan Burghardt Diamond and Claire Alexander (former voice coach to Frank Sinatra) and studied at the Institute of Music and Health with founder Dr John Diamond (2002).  She completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Law and Classics at the ANU (2006), a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education through Monash University (2009), and submitted her doctoral thesis in September 2016, also at the ANU.  Her thesis developed a transdisciplinary framework encompassing history, ancient world studies, etymology, pedagogy, philosophy, and the origins of music in human society, for application to the everyday practice of music in classrooms and communities.  She specialises in developing unique cross-disciplinary professional development workshops for teachers and students. Georgia has presented at International conferences across Europe, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.  One such presentation resulted in the Program’s inclusion in the United Nations Compendium of Music as a Natural Resource (2013 and 2015), which is made available to members of the UN General Assembly.

Supported by the ACT Government, each year the Program trains over 250 teachers and engages thousands of children in music making and outreach through their free programs and events, designed in response to teacher and student feedback. Georgia visits up to ten schools and community groups every week, including preschools, primary schools and secondary schools, introductory English centres, nursing homes, and schools for children with disabilities. She coordinates and hosts the Program’s ‘Big Gig’ outreach concerts engaging thousands of children and community members in communal music making. In 2016 Georgia was presented with a Children’s Week Award by the Governor General of Australia for her work with Cranleigh School, a specialist school for children living with significant disabilities.