Voice for Change puts students in the spotlight

Voice for Change group
Voice for Change students 

With the help of professional mentors, secondary school students wrote, produced and performed their own single.

In partnership with Creative Victoria and Mu​​shroom Group, Voice for Change brought students from six schools from culturally diverse backgrounds together in a series of school workshops.

Music and life lessons

For many students, they joined Voice for Change to fulfil a dream.

Voice for Change at the Australian Open stage
Voice for Change students performing at the Australian Open live stage

Year 10 Tarneit Senior College student Massa says music has always been his passion. 

'I saw it as a platform to get myself into the industry, as well as learning from people who are already in the industry,' Massa says.

Year 10 Catholic Regional College Melton student Regina says she wanted to pursue her dream to be a musician. 'I wanted to be able to write lyrics for songs, and to have an experience as to how recording and writing music works,' Regina says.

Year 10 St Albans Secondary College student Lance says listening to and making music is his favourite hobby, but there was an opportunity for self-development too. 'I'm a shy guy and I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone,' Lance says.

Mentors from the music industry led the workshops with the aim of sharing their own experiences and empowering young people through music. The  mentoring artists included Mantra, MoMO Komba, Adrian Eagle, Nic Martin (UNO Stereo), Nkechi Anele (Saskwatch), Simba Andrews, Krown and P-UniQue.

The students learned practical skills in making music. 'I learned that every idea counts, and that it's okay to write down imperfect lyrics - you can always go over them and perfect them later,' Regina says.

But they also learned deeper lessons about creating art and empowering themselves.

'The most important thing that I learnt was that your music is a representation of who you are and it can become your voice when you feel like you don't have one,' Massa says.

'One massive lesson that I learned from the artists was to always be confident, believe in myself and my abilities,' Lance says. 'They also taught me to always have a humble heart and always be nice to everyone around me.'

Year 11 St Albans Secondary College student Shalom says all the mentors taught him lessons that he will always cherish.

'One important thing I learnt from the artists that we were mentored by was to always be confident in yourself and your capabilities, especially when performing,' Shalom says.

Alongside the workshops, the Voice for Change content series was released across late 2018-early 2019, featuring the country's top musicians and sportspeople including: Ecca Vandal, B Wise, Krown, MoMO + P-UniQue, Ngaiire, Remi, Mirrah, FlexMami and Adrian Eagle plus AFL players Darcy Vescio and Majak Daw.

The launch of "Be"

The workshops culminated in the production of a 7-track EP, music video and launch of the single, "Be". Six tracks feature students collaborating with the mentors.

In "Be", students rapped and sang from their hearts about the importance of friends, family and community, mental health, human rights and equality.

The students performed "Be" at the National Gallery of Victoria's NGV Teens Art Party and at the Australian Open AO Live Stage, which many said was their favourite part of the project.

Voice for Change​

Voice for Change was made possible through investment by the Victorian Government, supporting a partnership with Creative Victoria and Mushroom Group. We reached out to ​schools with a high population of culturally diverse students to foster better school engagement.

As well as giving students the chance to produce a single, Voice for Change also produced a documentary series with all mentors speaking candidly about their personal journeys and challenges including racism, feelings of disenfranchisement and social inclusion. These documentaries are available online for all to access at the Voice for Change website, social media channels and at the Immigration Museum until 19 May.