May 2 will be the first Music Monday I will be celebrating live in three years and the first in my new school. Music Monday is an initiative organized by the Coalition for Music Education to promote the importance of music education in schools. You can find information at https://coalitioncanada.ca, and schools are invited to sign up internationally as well.

At the same time on the first Monday in May, schools are encouraged to virtually sing along to a song commissioned by Canadian artists. This is Music Monday’s 30th anniversary, and during the past 10 years I have participated I have sang with the students I.S.S. (Is Someone Singing), co-written by astronaut Chris Hatfield, Music is Our Medicine, and other contributions by a variety of diverse artists. We always encourage students to play along if they are shy about performing using a variety of instruments.

A book that I like to read in connection to this topic is “The Man With the Violin”, by Kathy Stinson. The author based the story on a real experiment where master musician Joshua Bell disguised himself and played for one hour in a subway station to see if passersby would pay attention to classical pieces in a non-concert setting. The beautiful illustrations convey to spirit of the children who were the most moved by the music. My students quickly recognized the importance of not judging a book by its cover and how important it is to have music occurring in everyday life from a young age.

The past few years have taught us the importance of the arts in our entertainment as well as our mental health. This year, I am video recording some of our students of various physical and neurologically divergent needs for a special slideshow on how music can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter their background and age. There are many ways to integrate music education into a variety of subjects and I hope that the choirs convey the importance of music on students’ learning and emotional well-being.

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