Music educator awarded prestigious honour

Brendan Rees

A lifetime dedicated to music education has earned Southbank resident Rosemary Anne Lierse a Queen’s Birthday honour.

Dr Lierse, who has spent more than 50 years as a music educator, researcher, and advocator for music education in schools, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to music education in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

 

“It is an amazing surprise to have been acknowledged for doing work I love best. It is such a rewarding profession,” she said.

 

Dr Lierse, who currently teaches music at Melbourne High School, began her career in the 1960s when, as a piano teacher the Department of Education offered her a position as an unqualified classroom music teacher at Templestowe Technical School when it opened in 1972.

There was a shortage of qualified teachers at that time and Dr Lierse was awarded free university tuition under a scheme introduced by the Whitlam Government.

“If it wasn’t for this opportunity, it is questionable whether I would have had the means to complete my studies. I was working as a teacher full-time, studying, and raising a family.”

Dr Lierse’s first placement was at East Doncaster High School where she had the opportunity to develop her skills, and work with the students to put on musicals such as Oliver and My Fair Lady.

The school was also sent several instrumental music teachers allowing the music department to form ensembles.

Since then, Dr Lierse’s experience as a music teacher has been wide-ranging.

This includes being the director of junior music at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar, music teacher at Balwyn High School, head of music at Blackburn High School, and director of music at Melbourne High School. She has also worked at Deakin and Monash Universities. 

Her work with ensembles was one of her most enjoyable aspects of teaching music.

“Having a 90-piece orchestra of competent musicians to conduct is very, very special, and so amazing when the orchestra wins high level competitions,” she said.

The Queen’s Birthday recognition is the latest achievement in Dr Lierce’s decorated career, with previous honours including being named in the Victorian Education Service Awards Honour Roll for 40 years’ service in 2017 – the same year she took out the Distinguished Teacher Award in the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association. •

 

Caption: Dr Rosemary Anne Lierse.

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