Ottawa Musicians Call for Return of Music Education to the Classroom



OTTAWA – Local artists put on a big show in front of Ottawa City Hall Thursday night to celebrate Music Education Day.

Over 100 musicians performed together in harmony for the special concert.

The music exhibit was made up of music teachers and members of the National Arts Center Orchestra who came together to perform Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in support of children’s music education.

Organizer Jeannie Hunter says the pandemic has forced programs in the city’s schools to close and those that remain active have been drastically reduced.

“A lot of fear of playing wind instruments means a lot of wind instruments have disappeared from many schools,” Hunter explained. “He closed music programs and children’s access to music programs.”

For tubist and student Jason Steed, that means rehearsing outside.

“It’s not the same experience as practicing or performing together in an ensemble on stage, in the classroom,” he said.

For Olivia Messy, the lessons were virtual.

“I would really love to go to class,” she said.

“They lose their focus and interest quickly. At least in the classroom, they’re focused.” said Messy’s mother, Raquel.

As COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ottawa continue to rise and with protocols in place, Hunter says now is the time to bring music education back to classrooms

“Mask the person and mask the instrument,” said Hunter, who is also a music teacher at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. “We wanted to show people what PPE looks like for a musical instrument so that when we talk about it, we can imagine what. We have to move on and give back to children what makes them happy. “

For Steed, a Canterbury High School student who follows the music curriculum, that means finding solutions to move the music indoors before the winter months and hope that will change the tone of music in the classroom.

“It’s about how can we not why can’t we,” Steed said.


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