ON TRACK program strikes a chord with students

Professional mentors have helped students in the school holiday music program to record a song about the program

Student participants in the music focused holiday program ON TRACK have enjoyed the opportunity to work with recording artists MANTRA and Soli Tesema on a song celebrating their time in the program.

ON TRACK is delivered by Mushroom Group, as part of a range of tailored school holiday programs the department has funded for at risk young people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

With a focus on song-writing, hip hop and the art of making music, the program is designed to personally connect with students and equip them with theoretical and practical skills in music.

Thando, a student and engagement coordinator for the program and a program mentor, explained that ON TRACK benefits students while allowing them to explore their love for music. 

'They develop a newfound sense of confidence, they work on team building and learn how music can be a great medium for storytelling,' she said.

Over the years, students have returned to take part in the many iterations of the program.

'Our rotating line-up of music industry educators and mentors means a different program is delivered each time, and the students know they will walk away with invaluable skills that will help them improve their artistry,' Thando said.  

For Thando, the most rewarding part of her job as a mentor for the program is seeing young people find their voices.

'It always starts with self-doubt and nerves from the students, but as soon as they have that one small win their faces light up,' she said.  

'You can see the change and they establish a sense of self-belief that you know they will carry in everything they do.'

ON TRACK music program meeting
Student leaders' day (photo taken in July)

'Euphoric Estate'

In Term 2 this year, Mushroom Group approached the program's Student Leadership Group — a group of students who have attended ON TRACK on multiple occasions and have shown great leadership qualities— about participating in a student leaders' day.

The aim of the day was to collect feedback about the program which could inform future development and give students a sense of ownership over the program.

The student leaders' day brought ten students from five schools — Melton Secondary College, Catholic Regional College Melton, Catholic Regional College St Albans, Suzanne Cory High School, and Tarneit Senior College — together to share their experience of the program. 

Program Mentor MANTRA describes how, in response to the key themes and messages that were discussed on the day, the students developed a song about the impact of the program. The result? 'Euphoric Estate'.

'This [the development of the song] would highlight the power of programs like this while also giving participants ongoing experience and mentorship in terms of song writing and studio recording.'

With the help of the professional mentors, the students used the messages to form a chorus and a bridge which would act as a backbone for the song and a springboard for a number of students to contribute individual verses.

The positive impact of the program on the students was obvious on the day.

'We ended up with far more content than we expected, due to the enthusiastic response and engagement from the students involved,' MANTRA said.


MP3 transcript

File length: 3 minutes 7 seconds.

Welcome to this place, are you trying to escape?
Come right here this euphoria estate

Chorus

This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine
This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine

Verse 1

Reeling in the flow, lyrics feel like water
Our power starts to blow, we grow in hunger
Bring in the place we bring in this beat to order
We law and order
Lost with nowhere else to go
We invite you, come to euphoric abode
We in no place to judge,
Come find us in ON TRACK, ON TRACK we say what? 

Pre Chorus

I can feel this music healing (ON TRACK)
Music is my lucid dreaming (ON TRACK)
I can see where this is leading
I am in control 

Chorus

This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine
This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine

Verse 2

This place is my escape, and this place is my field
This place is where I work and jam until I make it true
It seems kinda dark, and it seems kinda scary,
But it won't happen if I never take the risk
And with risk comes with doubt and we're all trying to make it out
but at times it feels tough cause you can't find the route
and you keep on going until you start to feel confused
Welcome to the space cause you found the best group 

Bridge

Story of how you came to be
A chance to find our identity
A chance of possibility
To find our ability
Motivation, inspiration, assimilation
we have a confidence
we're here to ease the silence 

Pre Chorus

I can feel this music healing (ON TRACK)
Music is my lucid dreaming (ON TRACK)
I can see where this is leading
I am in control 

Chorus

This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine
This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine

Chorus

This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine
This music will free you, leave behind your pain
Let your worries leave you, this is mental medicine

Find out more

For more information about the school holiday programs funded by the department, contact the Youth Participation team by email: youth.participation@education.vic.gov.au

Students in recording studio

Photo taken in July.