Strengthening Secondary

Join Kodály Vic for a day of presenters and professional learning focused on contemporary secondary music education. There will be workshops on approaching VCE, building an engaging Year 7/8 program with a Kodály focus, developing creativity using composition and technology, and how to develop the skill and concept sequence in the secondary classroom. There will also be presentations on how Kodály methodology can be used in instrumental and choral ensembles and Andrew Pennay (Brisbane Girls Grammar) will also host a panel discussion on secondary teaching.

Saturday 21 May

9am (8.30am registration & COVIDSafe Check in) – 3.30pm

Venue: Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School. 17 Leslie Rd. Essendon

Please enter via Leslie Rd Gate B and follow signs to the Joan M Garde Cultural Centre.

Continue past the bronze sculpture/statue and the early years playground and proceed left along the veranda of the Cultural Centre until you reach glass doors on the left leading down a large staircase to the lower level of Blinkbonnie House.

The workshop will be taking place in the Echidna Room, the Platypus Room and the Mary Thurman Recital Space.

Download a school map here.

Please note: Lowther Hall will also be a voting booth on the day of this workshop

Presenters: Andrew Pennay (Qld), Sue Lyons, Mark O’Leary OAM, Anna van Veldhuisen, Amy Wert

Download a flyer HERE

Morning tea is provided.

Lunch: Please BYO, alternatively there are several excellent cafes in Rose St which is a 5-minute walk from the school. There will also be a sausage sizzle on the day at the polling station.


Registration typeEarly bird (paid before 9 May)Standard (paid after 9 May)
Kodály Australia Member $100$120



Registration & Covidsafe check in
9:00 Welcome & All in group sing
9:30 Keynote

SHAKE IT OFF: Cultural forces at play in the secondary music classroom

Andrew Pennay
10:15 Morning tea
10:30 Session 1
Planning for an engaging and successful VCE sequence

Anna van Veldhuisen

The Year 8 Blues

Sue Lyons

11:30 Session 2

LOOPED AND LAYERED: Technology-rich projects in a secondary aural-vocal context

Andrew Pennay
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Session 3
Band/Ensemble rehearsal and repertoire planning with a Kodály-inspired lens

Amy Wert

Building choirs in secondary schools

Mark O’Leary

2:30 Session 4
Facilitated circle
3:15 All out group sing
3:30 Finish

Session Descriptions


SHAKE IT OFF: Cultural forces at play in the secondary music classroom

Presented by Andrew Pennay

It’s time to shake off some misconceptions about our secondary school Kodaly-based music programs. In this session, we will explore some useful tools that can be used to step back and evaluate the forces at play in the music classroom, ranging from the environment we are in, to the specific language we employ with our students and the way we use time in class.

Elective Session 1

Planning for an engaging and successful VCE sequence

Presented by Anna van Veldhuisen

In this hands-on session, Anna will focus on embedding sequential, Kodály-inspired aural pedagogy within the VCE framework. In particular, how can we best prepare students for the end of year written exam and SACs in a musically authentic manner that isn’t simply ‘teaching to the test’?

This session will focus on engaging activities and repertoire that can be used to link the listening analysis, technical, performance, and aural/theoretical components of the VCE curriculum, with consideration of differentiation for diverse abilities. The new 2023 VCE study design will be discussed, with time for conversation and brainstorming as a group on how we might approach this new challenge.

The Year 8 Blues

Presented by Sue Lyons

An interactive presentation and discussion on practical and engaging ideas to teach your Year 8 students a unit on the Blues, that will step you through a series of sequenced Kodály-based lessons. Come prepared to participate in some hands-on activities that you can take away and use with Year 7s, 8’s or 9’s. We’ll also cover practical ideas for engaging reluctant learners and catering for different skill and music literacy levels.

Session 2

LOOPED AND LAYERED: Technology-rich projects in a secondary aural-vocal context

Presented by Andrew Pennay

Let’s explore a range of tasks and classroom routines that encourage our students to think deeply in sound. From class-devised music theatre works to pop album production and post-minimalist film scores, Kodaly’s enduring philosophy can serve to underpin a contemporary aural-vocal-technological program.

Elective Session 3

Band/Ensemble rehearsal and repertoire planning with a Kodály-inspired lens

Presented by Amy Wert

A range of approaches to band/string and ensemble rehearsals, planning tools and rehearsal techniques that support a Kodály-inspired sequence of learning. Warm-ups and ways of developing resources emerging from repertoire will be explored, that can be adapted from beginner to more advanced ensembles.

Building choirs in secondary schools

Presented by Mark O’Leary OAM

Choral singing has always been an important part of music education, and for many secondary students choirs have been a unique place to express themselves musically and find a place to belong. The pandemic has massively disrupted choral programs all around the world, and there is much to be done to rebuild our choirs. This session will explore ways to rebuild our choirs with good teaching, appropriate repertoire and a heightened awareness of the musical, emotional and social needs of our secondary singers.


Andrew Pennay (Qld)

Andrew Pennay is Director of Creative Arts at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, where he enjoys implementing aural-based activities to enhance performance, composition and improvisation work. Andrew has lectured in music education at a tertiary level and coordinated an upper secondary music education course (methodology, cultural materials and practicum) through the Cuskelly College of Music summer program. He has presented workshops nationally through KMEIA and ASME and internationally through ISME, focusing on musicianship and upper secondary teaching methodology. For 12 years, he was a performer and Assistant Conductor with The Australian Voices, touring contemporary Australian choral music globally. In 2011, Andrew received a National Award for Excellence in School Music Education through the Australian Government Quality Teacher Programme. In his spare time, he produces indie pop and plays banjo, pedal organ and toy piano in a folk band.

Sue Lyons 

Sue Lyons has 40 years of experience teaching classroom music. She has spent much of her career in Bendigo, establishing a Kodály-based music program at Flora Hill Secondary College in the 90’s, before moving onto teaching VCE Music Performance and Music Style & Composition at Bendigo Senior Secondary College in 2007. From 2010, Sue has taught at the VCA Secondary School, teaching a range of music subjects from years 7-12, including musicianship based on Kodály methodology. Sue is now semi-retired, continuing to do sporadic teaching at VCASS, as well as work for the VCAA and private tutoring in musicianship and theory

Mark O’Leary OAM 

Mark is well known in Australia, widely respected for his work with Young Voices of Melbourne, Exaudi and Gondwana Voices. He has made 37 tours with YVM and Exaudi to all states and territories of Australia as well as Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Samoa, New Zealand and Japan, and recorded 13 Cds with these choirs. With Gondwana Voices he has made 5 international tours to Europe, North America, China and Taiwan and conducted the choir on 3 Cd recordings. Mark is a regular guest conductor and presenter at choral festivals and music education conferences around the country. He publishes Australian choral music in the Young Voices of Melbourne Choral Series and is the creator of the Sight Singing School books and website used in more than 45 countries. He has three degrees from the University of Melbourne, is a Churchill Fellow, and an Honorary Life Member of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia. In 2018 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to education and choral music. 

Anna van Veldhuisen

Anna van Veldhuisen is a doctoral candidate from the University of Melbourne and secondary classroom music educator. Anna trained as a classical percussionist before beginning her teaching career and has taught and led music programs in a range of diverse secondary schools in Victoria, including establishing the music program at Alice Miller School from its inception in 2016. She currently teaches senior school music and conducts a range of choirs at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School, and has worked casually for a number of years for the VCAA in various roles related to VCE music Anna completed her Australian Kodály Certificate in 2017 and has since presented workshops and papers at a range of conferences locally and internationally. Anna’s doctoral research is driven by her fascination with the lives and practices of music teachers, and explores how Australian educators experience Kodály-inspired PD programs and adapt the Kodály approach in their context. She is currently the Vice-President of Kodaly Victoria and an ordinary member of Kodály Australia’s national council.

Amy Wert

Amy Wert is the Director of Music at Toorak College, Mt Eliza and holds a Masters of Music Performance in Conducting from Syracuse University, New York. During her time at SU she conducted the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Women’s Choir.  She was awarded the graduate music prize and worked as an adjunct lecturer teaching the undergraduate conducting and music theatre repertoire classes. She was awarded the Theatre Guild of Victoria music director’s award 2001, and a Lyrebird Award in 2012. Amy has an A.MUS.A on the clarinet, and has been a guest clinician and conductor for MYO, NEVR, VSMF, ABODA, AMUSE, GCG, GSMC. Amy was inspired to study her Kodály levels after seeing Kodály-inspired lessons in action by her colleagues. She trained under Dr James Cuskelly, Rosalie Scott, Andrew Pennay, Michael Bradshaw and Dr Arpad Toth, and was accredited with the AKC in 2019. Amy is honoured to be invited to present, and is on a journey to learn and grow as an educator.