Footscray classroom, October 2016

“My big sister learnt this song!” “My cousin can play this!” The excitement in the room was palpable. The look on the faces of the Grade One/Two students was a sight to behold. This is what bliss looks like.

In 2016 I took on a contract as a classroom music teacher in Footscray. Music teaching was not new to me as I had a music teaching position elsewhere in the late 1980s. Back then there was a focus on recorder playing – the sound paralleled with the scratching of fingernails down a blackboard. Now there is a totally different underpinning philosophy and direction, called Musical Futures.

In the past I may have spent a whole lesson on drawing treble clefs and musical notation. Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for this, but Musical Futures has children making music developing individual and group performance skills, listening skills, peer teaching and making use of popular song. It is pleasing that improvisation and song writing are part of the program too.

All our junior school students had ukulele playing as part of their weekly music lessons. Our school has a class set of the instruments so each student has their own to use, including some left handed one