Trafalgar Primary School was the first official primary (elementary) school in the world to successfully trial and implement the Musical Futures Approach and the first primary school in Australia involved in the 2010 pilot program. Since then, Trafalgar Primary School has been engaging students from Grades P-6 using the Musical Futures Approach, with all 382 enrolled students actively engaged in meaningful, relevant 21st Century music making.
Students are at the centre of our program and play a major part in the decision making i.e. grouping, instruments, genres and individual learning foci. The teacher (Mr Ben Smith) is the coach, or, facilitator more so than the source of all knowledge and is not the centre of the classroom, often working with up to 24 different individuals in any one class/lesson on up to four different instruments and vocals depending on the student learning tasks and student goals, which all vary from student to student and class to class.
We offer a large range of private instrumental lessons to compliment our Musical Futures classroom approach, with the vast majority of students opting to learn contemporary instruments such as keyboard/piano, guitar, bass, drums and vocals both in class and individually. Students work every recess and lunchtime in the music room as duos, individuals and bands to develop their skills, rehearse and seek extra support from the music teacher. Many of these students do not undertake private lessons and so we try to provide extra support for these students out of normal teaching times. We run after school music workshops for current and ex-students (now high school students) to come and jam, have informal lessons and record in our studio, with ages ranging from Grade 5 to Year 9.
You can see our Musical Futures students in action by clicking on the YouTube link below where we have uploaded footage showing the range of students’ ages (Grade 2 – Year 10), the results of some normal classroom lessons and the diverse musical skills of our students, both advanced and basic.
Our vision is to engage and connect students with music making no matter what their age and year level, develop their musical skills and give them a musical appreciation for life. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn music at school in a fun, personal, engaging and relevant way and we endeavour to provide this for the students in our community.
Supporting other educators is a big part of what we do as a Musical Futures Champion School as this also is a great way to introduce teachers to the Musical Futures approach, demonstrate the positive outcomes of the Musical Futures Approach and to build the number of schools, teachers and students engaging in Musical Futures lessons in Australia and abroad.
Student teachers from Monash University come bi-annually to participate and observe Musical Futures lessons as part of their final year of study and we often host student teachers from other educational institutions, as well as overseas students.
Any current music specialist and generalist teachers, both primary and secondary, as well as pre-service teachers, are most welcome upon appointment to come and visit, participate in, or, merely observe Musical Futures lessons at Trafalgar Primary School throughout any of the four Victorian school terms. We also run in-depth training days as well as introductory professional development days throughout the year.