Schools in Windsor
Schools in Windsor
IN WINDSOR, there are roughly 56 Elementary Schools, 16 Secondary Schools, and 3 Post-Secondary Institutions. In the Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: The Arts, there are three main focuses when it comes to music education: Creating and Performing; Reflecting, Responding and Analysing; and Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts. For each grade there are more specific expectations, but as long as the stated goals of the curriculum are being met, teachers can be flexible in their approach to teaching. For example, one of the stated goals of a grade seven class is, “analyse some historical, cultural, and technological influences on style, genre, and innovation in music.” One teacher might talk about how the invention of the electric guitar changed music, while another might talk about the importance of the Swing era. Each choice influences what the students learn, and each teacher in Windsor could make a different choice. From classroom to classroom, teachers use different tools, different pieces, and different methods to shape the minds of young musicians, resulting in the diverse understanding of music that Windsor students have today.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS largely focus on performance when it comes to music education. They will typically offer various musical clubs and bands, such as small singing groups to larger jazz and wind ensembles, and offer more opportunities for students to perform in front of their peers, as well as the community. Schools can host concerts or talent shows open to the public, or will sometimes take their bands to perform at a local venue. This can help students get accustomed to performing in front of crowds, while also serving as a means to interact with the community. Vincent Massey Secondary School for example, hosts a “Coffee House;” a type of open mic night that allows students to showcase their musical talents.
The high school curriculum for music education shows an emphasis on technique and theoretical knowledge, as well as a look into music in society, and reflecting on one’s personal growth. A large portion of these topics are vague, which allows the teacher to interpret and educate the students how they see fit; this could include written analysis, worksheets, personal reflections or even going out to see a local performance. Students will also “explore how to apply skills developed in music to their life and careers;” it is here where they critically reflect on the purpose of music and the role it plays in their life and the community, deciding whether or not they wish to pursue their interest to a higher level of education.
POST-SECONDARY SCHOOLS continue the tradition of offering musical ensembles, and routinely host concerts that are available to the public, including performances by jazz ensembles, jazz combos, wind ensembles, chorale groups, and even percussion ensembles. These musicians also aide in the performances done by various school theatrical troupes, whom also routinely put on performances for the public. Students at these institutions have the chance to feel what it is like to be considered a true professional in the music field, and gain a better understanding of what is expected of them. This means more practicing, more polishing, and overall, a performance with which they can be satisfied.
Aside from the performance aspect, these institutions give the students the ability to pursue their career goals, by offering courses in music history, theory, performance, teaching and even music technology. Students that go into post-secondary education gain their own independence, and are tasked with shaping their education using the tools provided for them, whether it is the instructors, fellow students or even members of the community. Just as teachers can teach in different ways, students at this level of education have the freedom to choose how they learn, which then shapes their understanding of music. One student might learn mostly from books and spend all their time in the library, whereas another student might go out into the community and look for opportunities to learn from other musicians.
For Windsor in particular, it is not uncommon to find students that are already deeply involved with the musical world and pursing their passions; they play in bands, work at recording studios, teach students themselves, or are already accomplished musicians making a name for themselves. The students who worked on the Windsor Music Project are heavily involved in the musical communities themselves! Take a look yourself