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
I clearly remember my high school instrumental music room—what it looked like, what it sounded like and what it felt like! By today’s standards, it would be considered rather large, with its side offices, practice rooms and instrument storage spaces. And while there were plenty of ways to imagine how the room could be configured, it was usually defined by the core purpose of the program—a traditional high school band. That means, sections of chairs set up facing a central conductor, percussion in the back, double reeds in the front. As for me, I was several instrument choices away from Michelle, my high school crush for many years. She played first flute and I played third clarinet. Could the distance have been any greater?
We had a pretty good band and I have many good memories of the music, the friendship and the experience of making music.
Tradition aside, however, my strongest memories of that time are related to what happened in that room during breaks, lunch hours, before and after school. Oh sure, there were kids like me who would dutifully book out a practice room and spend a half hour or so stumbling over the same clarinet run that was troubling me during class. But the real music—the music that really mattered—was being made by groups of students who had brought in their guitars and amps and were just working it out. A little bit of Zeppelin, some Doobie Brothers, plenty of Beatles and Bachman Turner Overdrive—even a little Gordon Lightfoot thrown in for good measure. Some were involved in private lessons outside of school; some were even taking classical training. But, I’m pretty confident in saying that it was the chance to gather around the music that they loved—pretty much unsupervised—and play that was the real turn-on!
And many of them are still playing. Pat Hewitt is a local pub favourite in the Toronto Area. Sean Fitzsimmons is playing drums for the Carpet Frogs. And Rick Landman, AKA Rick Spyder, continues to amaze audiences with his versatility and virtuosity.
Musical Futures is a movement that seeks to flip the music experience for more and more students, making what has often been seen as extra-curricular activity part of mainstream teaching practice. It’s not our goal to turn every student into a professional musician. Nor is it our goal to suggest that traditional music programs are no longer important. But it is our goal to help imagine how more and more young people can experience the joy and satisfaction of music-making—in their schools, and in their communities!
I’m thrilled to be part of your journey into the Musical Futures culture and ethos. The resources, support and opportunities to connect that you’ll find at Musical Futures Canada are just the beginning. It’s really the impact that you’re going to make in the lives of young people that excites us. Who knows what you’ll discover along the way?
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.
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!
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.