Western Education Partners for New Music Program

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Musical Futures Canada

Western Education has partnered with the Don Wright Faculty of Music, the London Catholic District School Board, and the Thames Valley District School Board in its new music education program, “Teaching the Way They Learn.” On June 13th, at Montcalm Secondary School in London, Ontario, grade 7 to 10 music students launched the project with live music performances.

This musical event showcased not only the talents of the students but also the teaching strategies and learning outcomes behind the joint Musical Futures Canada project. Currently funded by Western University (an internal SSHRC grant) and co-led by Dr. Carol Beynon (Western Education) and Dr. Ruth Wright (Don Wright Faculty of Music), this project aims to turn traditional music education on its head as students learn informally by ear and rote beginning with pop culture. This experimental way of learning requires that students take responsibility for their own music education. This includes choosing their own music, learning with friends, and engaging both personal creativity and group collaboration. The project will be conducted in two schools in two different local Ontario boards, with the hope that it will add to the quality of music education in Canadian schools as well as engage a wider range of students in music education. Don McKellar, the former Associate Dean and Founder of the music education program at Western, believes that this approach to music is a healthy one. Because it requires students to learn music not passively by sheet music but actively through informal learning and ear, Peter is confident Music Futures Canada will “inspire and empower students.”

The launch included speeches from members of Western’s Faculty’s and the local school boards. Wilma de Rond of the Catholic District School board not only paid tribute to the school trustees, but emphasized that she admired the progress of the students thanked them explicitly for “stepping up and taking this opportunity.”

Photo above: Students jam in the Montcalm hallways for guests.

Photo below: (l-r): Dr. Victoria Meredith (Associate Dean, Don Wright Faculty of Music), Dr. Ruth Wright (Chair, Music Education and Project Co-Director), Carol Beynon (Western Education and Project Co-Director), Dr. Betty Anne Younker (Dean, Don Wright Faculty of Music)

Musical Futures Canada

More information on the Musical Futures Canada project may be found here.

Read the Metro News report about the launch.