By Emmet Brazil & Lyn Spiteri

    Something special is happening in Footscray. 

    In the midst of lockdown, a community network is banding together to change the face of music education in our region. There’s an amazing opportunity for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be part of a revolution via the formation of the Footscray Music Conservatorium (FMC). 

    Our community recognises how important arts, culture and music education is. The West boasts diverse talents, inspiring individuals and a strong desire to engage, participate and empower in a cohesive way. 

    We know communities benefit from access to music. We know student musicians – particularly those who engage at a young age – build valuable capacities and transferable skills in order to thrive. We know the economic boost of the wider industry is vital and that live music is built upon access to quality education. 

    Ask anyone who teaches, learns, creates or performs music in the West and they can rattle off a bunch of ways it could be improved. There isn’t enough space, it’s only available to those who can afford it or it’s hard to feel connected or represented. 

    School programs aren’t all equitable, and even if they were, no one has the time to properly cluster and collaborate. Community music ensembles are homeless, tertiary music pathways in the West, untethered. Many people need specialised support and can’t find an inclusive place to engage. Let’s not even start with the issues facing live music. 

    The first of its kind in the state and inspired by a replicable and successful model, the Footscray Music Conservatorium will become a hub for the community. It’s no different to visiting your local library for a great new read or viewing art at a grassroots exhibition – it delivers a communal service.

    The FMC’s programs will enable institutions to link together – primary, high school and tertiary – creating clear pathways and opportunities for excellence and enrichment. It will empower the entire community to become involved in music by acting as a space dedicated to delivering equal opportunities for all.

    There is a chance to embed the infrastructure for thriving music pathways and secure a sustainable artistic and creative future for the West. Now is the best time to invest in this ideal and make it a reality.

    Let’s build something really special for the West together. If you’re keen to join this growing community of game-changers, or want to learn more, visit

    Young artists with some creative inspiration? Enter the FMC logo competition, submit your idea here:

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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