The first Monday in May every year is recognized as Music Monday by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. Growing up in rural Nova Scotia, music education – both formal and informal – rooted me in my community and served as a bonding force for my friends and I. As school budgets get leaner, music programs take a beating and in some cases fly out the window as a cost saving measure. If the objective of public schools is to foster the development of engaged active citizens, public school music programs need our support and encouragement.
While working as a high school teacher in the High Arctic, I was granted approval for a proposal to obtain music instruments and recording gear for a music class and after-school music program for high school students. My small classroom became 1 part classroom & 1 part after-school drop in center/jam space. My students and I learned far more than how to read and write song charts both during and after school as we shared and recorded music. We shared enthusiasm for a shared goal, cooperation, vision, planning, project management, and creative collaboration. Even though it has been 6 years since I worked in the remote northern community of Aklavik, NWT – many of the students who gathered in my classroom still contact me via email and IM to check in and let me know how things are in their community and region.
In communities across Canada, students gathered together in their schools and communities to sing a common song. CBC Radio 2 has collected a great collection of recordings documenting how this day sounded across Canada.
My favorite is this interview with ‘Friendly Rich’ from Brampton, Ontario.