Cottage Music Institute

Cottage Music Institute provides expert training in the area of Aural-Musicianship for children aged 2-16, and Choral Training for children aged 4 to 16 years.

The programme began in 1998 as Cottage School of Music. This year Cottage Music Institute celebrates its 26th year as the provider of high-level music training. The emphasis is on the cultivation of a learning environment that is active, fun, and engaging. The aim is to enable each student to reach their true potential, and to enable them to share their musical talent with others in future years.

Since the school’s foundation, thousands of students have come through the programme. Numerous students have received scholarships to study music at Secondary and Tertiary levels, and many have gone on to full-time music study nationally and internationally. Some of our very first students have graduated from university and are now teaching music – several have gone on to play professionally in orchestras (and rock bands) and to work as professional conductors and composers. Many of our students have gone on to sing in some of the finest choirs in Australia and overseas. Many others have gone on to forge careers in areas such as engineering, medicine, law and education – and they carry with them a life-long love of music.

The Institute strives to promote music as a way towards social interaction and social growth. Its research is aimed at improving music education both in the early years and in later stages of educational development. This research is shared with the wider community through our workshops for teachers and music professionals.


The classes are based on over 30 years of pedagogical development, and include many hundreds of folk songs, rhymes, canons, games and listening materials. These are sequentially presented, so that at an appropriate time, students will discover the various concepts at hand. This form of training leaves a deep and lasting impression on the child. It forms a bedrock of learning that leads to greater success in instrumental training.

Cottage Music Institute is directed by Micheál McCarthy, one of Australia’s leading Aural Training and Choral Training specialists. Micheál is a graduate of the world-renowned Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music, Hungary. The Kodály Institute is a Faculty of the Franz Liszt Academy, one of the world’s most distinguished centres for advanced studies in music education.


Our aim to teach children to develop:

  • a love for music
  • excellent pitch/rhythm skills
  • quality singing training
  • imagination and creativity
  • movement & gross-motor skills
  • music literacy skills
  • a holistic understanding of the arts
  • broad music-perception skills
  • an appreciation of all music

PHILOSOPHY – ‘Music is for Life’:

Over the past 30 years, Micheál McCarthy has been exploring the use of games and movement as a way of engaging every student equally in a non-competitive learning environment. He has created a way of learning based on the premise that each child brings their own individuality, personality and learning style to the class situation. The children and teacher are, in tandem, working to ensure the success of every class. Each year the program is reviewed and improved, so it is part a long-term process of experimentation, evaluation and synthesis.

The programme is founded on the fundamental principles of the Kodály concept, but has been adapted to the way that Australian children learn. It includes movement & games, sequential literacy development, and all-round musicianship skill training that will prepare them for any form of musical training in the future.


We offer the following services:

  • Workshops for Music Organisations and Schools
  • Choral Workshops for School and Community Choirs
  • Professional Development for Teachers
  • Summer School Workshops and Presentations
  • Music Theory/Harmony Training
  • Conducting Tuition
  • Performance Preparation Workshops
  • Music Consultancy

We welcome you to our music community.

© Micheál McCarthy 2024

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