«Welcome to La musique aux enfants, a pilot program currently deployed at a school in Montreal. I myself had the chance to learn music at a very young age. It did not make me so much the conductor that I am today that a person free to choose his destiny. To offer music to children is to inspire hope and the feeling that everything is possible»
Music Director, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
We dream of a world where all students will have the chance to learn music and be introduced to the arts. We hope that Music for Children will bring us closer to this dream.
Music for children is a music education initiative devised by maestro Kent Nagano and organized by the Orchester symphonique de Montréal, in partnership with the Université de Montréal and the Pointe-de-l’Île School Board . It aims to introduce preschool children to intensive music learning in order to support them in their overall development and thus contribute to their academic success over the long term.
The children, their families and the local community will have a privileged contact with the OSM, its musicians and its leader.
The initiative will also provide new employment opportunities for music school graduates and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in youth music education.
The project was inaugurated in November 2016. It is first deployed at the St-Rémi Public School, located in the borough of Montréal-Nord, in Montreal, in the form of a three-year pilot project.
Children’s Music is a not-for-profit organization created to bring to life the project conceived by Kent Nagano and funded solely by donors. Its mission is to promote music education in young children in Quebec and elsewhere and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in early music education.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF KENT NAGANO AND THE OSM?
Music for children is an original idea of Maestro Nagano, who recognizes the important role played by learning music when he was very young. He also speaks about it in his book Sonne, marvels !, published in 2014 at Éditions du Boréal. The maestro supervised the definition of the curriculum as well as the various components of the project. It will continue to play an active role over the long term to ensure that the spirit of the project continues.
OSM musicians play a fundamental role as a positive role model for children throughout the project. They welcome children at the Maison symphonique de Montréal regularly and take an active part in the musical life of the school. Many of them act as mentors to the children they follow.
IS THIS INITIATIVE A FIRST?
Several initiatives to promote early music education exist here and elsewhere.
The originality of La musique aux enfants is characterized by:
Its level of intensity established by a musical program in which children take part daily
Its organic imbrication in the school setting of a public school without being an extracurricular project
The privileged relationship of children with music educators due to the sustained context of learning
The involvement of musicians and the musical director of a large orchestra
The quality of its learning environment
The partnership with a multidisciplinary team of researchers from a large university that will measure the influence of the project on the child
Its contribution to enriching a movement already present in Quebec and elsewhere
HOW WILL THE IMPACTS OF THE PROJECT BE MEASURED?
We know that learning music has a positive impact on early childhood development. The scientific research project carried out by the Université de Montréal research team will enable this impact to be assessed within the framework of an intensive and structured learning process. We will thus be able to add our stone to the building of the science of early music education, an area in full development in Quebec and elsewhere.
Supported by a team of six music educators and a program leader, all children in the school participate in a free music program developed in collaboration with experts from the Pointe-de-la- Île de l’Université de Montréal and the OSM team, which is structured as follows:
All the children of the school (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten) follow each week a course of choral and rhythmic singing
A group of pre-kindergarten (4 years) benefits every day of a sustained training of one hour and a quarter including:
A semi-private piano lesson
A choral and rhythmic singing class
A pre-kindergarten group (4 years) enjoys an intensive three-hour musical training each day including:
A private piano lesson
A small violin lesson
A choral and rhythmic singing class
We wish to continue the experiment in the future in a form that will be determined according to the learning obtained from the pilot project and the funding available.
HOW WILL THE EDUCATION PROGRAM BE STRUCTURED?
The course schedule has been designed according to the age of the participants. The music lessons are short (30 minutes) and are given in a fun way. We believe, moreover, that Music for Children will help develop new techniques for the teaching of music to young children, which we will be pleased to communicate to all those interested in the pedagogy of music.
IS THE PROGRAM FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF VIRTUOSES?
If some children develop a passion for music and decide to make their profession, so much the better. However, our goal is to foster the development of individuals willing to contribute to society, no matter which way they choose.
WHAT WILL CHILDREN AFTER THEIR PASSAGE TO THE PROGRAM?
We have entered into a partnership agreement with the School of Youth of the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal to ensure that children who wish to pursue their musical training are able to do so.