Whether it is in one-on-one or group lessons, theory, performance, composition or even music therapy, private teachers need an array of music for all ages, levels and genres. So what do you do when you want to teach by using more than just one tutor book?
Unlike registered schools – government, Catholic and independent schools – private teachers and studios are not privy to any blanket licences covering the use of music in their teaching. This means they generally need to seek permission for any use that falls outside the stipulations in the Copyright Act (1968).
In most cases, students should be sourcing and bringing their own music to their lessons and for practice at home. This is easier for both the student and the teacher and allows them to build up their own library for future use. However, every now and then, there comes a time when you need to photocopy a copyright piece for lessons. To be able to do this, you need to get permission from the original copyright owner.
There are some special circumstances where you can make a copy, for example for use by an adjudicator in an eisteddfod or for ease of page turns in an exam. For more information about this, see our Guide to Eisteddfods.
Section 200 of the Copyright Act (1968) also allows students or teachers to write out, by hand, the melody of a piece of music for educational purposes. This could be an exercise in changing harmonies or to make a part simpler by reducing it. This is only allowable where no copies are made.
Performing for an audience is one of the key learning experiences in the growth and development of music students. Performing music in a lesson or class context is not regarded as public performance and therefore doesn’t require a licence. However, if you organise a recital or concert for your students to give to parents, friends or the general public, you will need to have a casual public performance licence from APRA|AMCOS.
Anyone making an arrangement of a piece of copyright music or changing the lyrics in any way needs to have permission from the original copyright owner unless it is done by hand in a lesson and not copied. To find out who to contact for permission, ask out Educational Licensing Department at
It is the responsibility of the eisteddfod organisers to apply for an annual licence from APRA|AMCOS to cover the performances given at their events. This licence doesn’t cover the performance of Grand Right works. For more information on eisteddfods, see our Guide to Eisteddfods. You may also require the following forms:
For information on how to fill in each of these forms and what they are for, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Our Educational Licensing Department is always on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding the way you use music in your school. Call us on (02) 9935 7900 or send us an email at any time.
Have some questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.
Australian Copyright Council – www.copyright.org.au
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