Music Monday shares key message

The language that unites every being on the planet is being cut out of many schools in an effort to save cash
by Bramwel Tovey

Every year, the Coalition for Music Education calls out to Canadians to participate in Music Monday, the first Monday of May, to celebrate and demonstrate their commitment to music education in the lives of young people and communities.

It is the world’s largest single event dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of music education. This year, hundreds of thou-sands of students across Canada will unite in song today for the seventh annual nationwide Music Monday celebration.

In Vancouver, there will be a midday concert at Robson Square Plaza. Half a dozen school groups (from elementary to secondary, from drum circles to jazz choirs and concert bands) will be performing. I am looking forward to conducting a mass performance of the Music Monday song (Tomorrow is Coming) by Juno award-winning artist Luke Doucet.

Music Monday exists to celebrate the galvanizing power of music and demonstrate how that power is rooted in school music programs.

Schools participating in Music Monday are among the fortunate – most of them have music programs. However, many young students in Canada are not this fortunate; music classes, resources and specialist teachers have faced serious cuts or elimination throughout the country. In our own province, many school districts have reacted to budget difficulties by restricting access to music in their schools.

Music Monday is an opportunity to raise awareness about the value and importance of music education. The arts are not “frill” subjects.

Rather, they are at the core of a well-rounded education. At the VSO we believe an education without a significant musical component is no education at all.

Music is a language that links every human being on the planet. It needs little or no translation. In a school district like Vancouver, where dozens of languages are spoken by our widely diverse community, music is the only language common to everyone. Our society needs to be producing students who are creative as well as self-disciplined, who can work in teams as well as on their own. Learning music teaches these skills. We need all our children to have the opportunity to enjoy music in all its forms.

And remember: If a student holds a musical instrument, then he or she can’t hold a knife, or a joint, or a needle or a crack pipe – or a gun.

If students are in a choir or a band or an orchestra, they are communicating through the universal art of music at the heart of our community.

Anyone can join the national movement for music education by visiting www.musicmakesus.ca or on Facebook www.facebook.com/music-makesus.ca.
Maestro Bramwell Tovey is the music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra


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