The classical school was considered perhaps the top music school in Australia in its early days It was set up to cater for all orchestral instruments, and there lies its greatest threat. It seems that some areas are bringing in the students (Keyboard Institute, Jazz School and some others), but some teachers have only one or two students. I can understand the financial woes here, given each teacher is funded for a full workload. The options offered were to have teachers paid by student load (presumably meaning the departure of some teachers and contract work for many others), or to specialise in successful areas of study, including jazz and keyboards.
This also has implications for our local professional orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Apparently the teachers at the school are the mainstay of this orchestra, so dropping support for the full range of instruments will limit the CSO’s ability to access players of a good standard. Our orchestra does not get the government support of professional orchestras interstate (which admittedly serve larger cities, and presumably larger audiences). So both the Music School and the CSO are currently being subsidised by the ANU, and thus other faculties.
The future is looking bleak for the range and quality of music in Canberra, even if our branch, jazz, is thriving.