A Movement To Reshape Music Education

It’s the Way We Learn

Musical Futures is an innovative and exciting approach to music education that places the learner and their love of music at the heart of the music experience. Through a combination of informal learning and non-formal teaching, Musical Futures participants are immersed in the powerful act of making music—starting with the music that they know and love.

Working in dynamic, interactive musical communities, learners develop a sense of confidence in their ability to be the musician, learning to create, produce and listen to music in ways that are deep and lasting!

For those new to Musical Futures Canada, we hope that you’ll find something here that captures your imagination. For those that have already been working with the Musical Futures ethos for a while now, we’re confident this will be a place for you to connect, access a whole constellation of free resources and get the support you need to continue this exciting journey.

Musical Futures—It’s the Way We Learn

Informal Learning: Expect the unexpected!

I don’t know about you but I find that some of the most powerful moments in life happen when we’re not quite sure what to expect. Back in April, the Dufferin Peel District School Board invited David Price and Abigail D’Amore, Musical Futures pioneers from the UK, to come and work with teachers and administrators. In planning the week, we included a day that would allow educators who may never have heard of Musical Futures to participate in a half-day informal learning experience. We really had no idea who was going to show up for the afternoon, what their musical background would be or, perhaps more important, what they thought they might be getting themselves into! Among other activities, the 20 teachers, support staff and administrators were “thrown in at the deep end” and asked to cover a popular song of their choice on an instrument of their choice. Some participants had musical background, but the look in the eyes of many when we told them what they would be doing, indicated that this would definitely be a new experience for many. For me, one of the most powerful and unexpected moments in the whole afternoon came when we went in to watch one of the groups working on “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. The interaction between teachers David Malone and Tanya de Lima captured in the video below was particularly poignant. You see, David has a bilateral profound hearing loss. He uses a cochlear implant in his right ear to enable him to hear and discriminate speech and environmental sounds. As David explains, “It is not always easy for me to... read more

Music Education For It’s Own Sake!

Thanks to Musical Futures Champion, Steve Richards, for tweeting this post out earlier today. I think that it will resonate with many of us who bristle at attempts to justify music education as a means to an end other than the human appreciation and enjoyment of…well…MUSIC!   Stop “Defending” Music... read more

In Their Own Words: Students at Giles Campus Talk About Musical Futures

This past week, I had the pleasure of spending a day with Musical Futures Canada Champion Teacher, Nadine Draper, and her students from Giles Campus, Windsor, Ontario. Like all of our Champions, Nadine’s passion for exploring the Musical Futures approach is evident in the way she talks about the delightfully unique way in which her students and her music program have connected this year. Giles Campus, a French Immersion environment, already has a strong wind program, but the introduction of Musical Futures has had a profound effect on the way learners listen, understand and make music. Nadine had arranged for two classes of grade seven students to do some thinking out loud about what they liked about their Musical Futures experience and what they found challenging. Their responses will resonate with many of you who have already started to experience what happens when students accustomed to traditional programs are introduced to the choice, autonomy and responsibilities associated with the MF approach. They talked about enjoying the freedom to choose their own music and their own instruments. They commented on the way that Musical Futures offers a context where they are forced to listen to music more deeply, take more ownership of their work and use their imaginations in a different way. They admitted to some challenges that come with the approach—getting along with other group members, deciding on which music to choose and organizing their time effectively—but most felt that these were challenges that were far-outweighed by the rich, creative musical experiences that they’ve had this year. I’ve grabbed some of the comments from Nadine’s students and have woven them into a 3 minute tapestry! If... read more

Musical Futures Featured Strategy: Vocal Percussion Warm-ups

If you’ve taken time to look at our Resources page, you’ll notice that we’ve organized the large number of Musical Futures tools, strategies and video exemplars in format. Over the next little while, we’d like to highlight some of what our Musical Futures Canada educators are finding to be most valuable in their particular contexts.   A couple of days ago, I heard from Halton District School Board educator Peter Pavlovsky. Peter runs a very successful wind program at his elementary school (they have been invited to Nationals on May 13th) and has recently started to explore how Musical Futures might engage his students in a different approach to the learning music. Recently Peter tried the “Louisiana Mudslap” Vocal Percussion Warm-up with his Grades 4-8 students. Here’s what he reported to other music teachers in his district: I was blown away that even the most ‘reserved’ of Grade 8’s were incredibly engaged by (the) The Louisiana Mud Slap. By the end of the week, I got tons of requests to do more…can’t argue with that No, you can’t. We’re trying to get permission to post the video of his grade 4 students working through this warm-up. But below, you’ll find students from Sandie Heckel’s grade four class trying their hands at the warm-up. Kind of makes you wish you were there, doesn’t it? Louisiana Mudslap You can find the Louisiana Mudslap and other great vocal percussion warm-ups to use with your class and with your colleagues (great ideas for staff meeting starters!) in the Warmup Section of our Resources Page. We would appreciate hearing your feedback on what Musical Futures resources have been... read more

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Working with Musical Futures Canada


We offer a growing collection of print, audio and video resources designed to help you bring the excitement of informal learning and non-formal teaching to life in your own context. Whether you’re a Musical Futures newbie, or have been at it for a while, you’re sure to find something here to both inspire and challenge you and your students.

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Connect with one of our Champion Teachers. Join a Tuesday evening Twitter chat. Comment on a blog entry. Register for the Musical Futures Ning. Sign up for a training session. There are plenty of ways for you to connect with the growing community of people exploring the Musical Futures approach. Not only will you find a warm welcome here, but you’ll soon discover that your voice, your insights and your own learning is very welcome here!

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Training & Support

Musical Futures Canada is committed to offering you high quality, interactive support to cover a wide variety of needs and contexts. Whether you’re looking for a full-day training session in your school or community, an webinar session or a Twitter chat, we would love to talk to you about how we can best help you.

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