The New England Conservatorium of Music

The New England Conservatorium of Music (NECOM) was established in late 2003 and commenced program delivery in 2004, thanks to the commitment of a dedicated team of community members led by Dr Arthur Rickards. Dr Rickards went on to chair the NECOM Board for over 10 years and was a driving force in the organisation becoming one of the leading Conservatoriums in the state. NECOM acknowledges and thanks all those who have given of their time, knowledge and passion to create a truly first-class centre for musical excellence, and for helping maintain this standard over 15 years.

NECOM is a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee) run by a volunteer Board of Directors. As one of seventeen regional conservatoriums in NSW, NECOM receives funding from the Department of Education (DoE) to provide extensive music education and performance programs to pre-school, K- Yr 12 students, schools and teachers. In addition it provides services to community adults and music organisations, and private music teachers through its Music Educator Member Program.

NECOM's outstanding programs have received significant recognition with the 2013 national APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Music Education for New England Sings! , the 2014 Armidale Dumaresq Council Australia Day Cultural Award and the 2015 APRA Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.

NECOM provides employment for 6 full time and approximately 20 part time administration and teaching staff. Through its extensive core programs and special projects, NECOM will bring music to over 5,500 New England region school students and concert performances to audiences numbering 5,000 though:

  • Mini Minstrels Program - pre-school and early childhood education
  • K-Year 12 school music programs supporting the NSW music curriculum
  • Instrumental, choral and ensemble programs
  • Professional Development programs for pre-school, classroom, studio and music specialist teachers + musicians
  • Aboriginal education programs including Early Childhood classes in primary schools and a Mentoring Program in secondary schools
  • Music Therapy programs for children and adults with disabilities
  • Community and school enrichment programs/events eg Music & Literacy Project
  • Scholarships and bursaries
  • Masterclasses & Workshops
  • Instrument Hire
  • Special Projects -New England Sings! Choral Showcase; Childrens Chorus for OA The Marriage of Figaro
  • Regional Conservatorium Initiatives with Sydney Opera House: Opera Australia Orchestra Project; Orchestra Workshop with Concertgebouw 2013;  Orchestra Workshop with London Symphony 2014

NECOM has pioneered a regional conservatorium model of a  ‘Conservatorium without Walls’ by establishing supportive and collaborative partnerships with schools and afiiliations with similar service providers to share resources, deliver joint programs, build organisational capacity and enhance professional development of music educators:

  • Music Educator Members – private studio music teachers
  • PAMTA - Primary Armidale Music Teachers Association
  • AMTA – Armidale Music Teachers Association
  • Local K-12 Schools – NECOM outsources classroom music teaching, instrumental teaching, and ensemble tuition services to public and independent schools
  • Affiliated Organisations - Armidale Youth Orchestras Association, Armidale Symphony Orchestra
  • Service Providers – Australian Youth Orchestra; Sydney Symphony; Pedal Early Intervention, The Ascent Group for Music Therapy programs and teachers

The primary campus of NECOM is located in the heritage-listed CB Newling Building in Armidale, known as the Old Teachers’ College.

NECOM is a member of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums that is supported by the Department of Education (DoE) under its Specialist Programs, Schools Unit. Since 2004, NECOM has grown exponentially to become one of only five regional conservatoriums to achieve the Association of NSW Regional Conservatorium’s Tier One classification of almost 25,000 estimated teaching hours of delivery per year.