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- Dr John Diamond, M.D. -

"Music should be a present to other people. If they at this early age can think of the idea of giving, of thinking of other people, then their lives will be different." 

The Music Outreach Principle

Dr West's Music Outreach Principle is an extremely simple social philosophy of music making. It draws upon the philosophies of Dr John Diamond of the Institute of Music and Health, New York, encompassing a modern interpretation of the idea that sharing music making promotes general well-being as well as skill development. As the name implies, the Music Outreach Principle involves making music with the intent of altruistically reaching out to others.


In essence, individuals involved are encouraged to think: ‘I make music in order that others will make music, for the benefit of all’. This intent is exercised not just from ‘teacher’ to ‘student’ but is passed on from individual to individual so that all music making ‘reaches out’ in an on-going cycle.

'Common Artistry: releasing the musician within us all', a public lecture by Dr Susan West at The Australian National University, recorded in October 2011.

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The Music Engagement Program

The Music Engagement Program (MEP) was founded by Dr Susan West and delivered by Susan and her long-time colleague Dr Georgia Pike, initially through the School of Music at the Australian National University.  Now conducted as a private enterprise, the MEP was first established through funding from the ACT Government ANU Community Outreach Program. The MEP is recognised as an International leader in music education and community music engagement.

Throughout its more than 20 year history, the MEP has directly impacted upon the musical lives of tens of thousands of individuals, beginning in Canberra, Australia, and now across the world, particularly in New Zealand, the UK and New York.  Thousands of students, teachers, parents and community members engage in music through events, teacher training, school site visits and community outreach.

The philosophy of the program is based on Dr West’s 40 years of experience and research in music education, general education and music for well-being through both traditional and alternative pathways. Its foundation is in the school system but its application now extends well beyond this realm. Through its teacher programs, outreach concerts, shared goals, shared repertoire, school-to-school and school-to-community activities, the MEP encourages music making as a part of the normal social and cultural lives of all participants, regardless of age, background, ability or skill level.

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