Welcome to the new Board Blog page. Here the members of the Coalition’s Board of Directors discuss the issues impacting music education in their home communities, which stretch from Atlantic Canada to Vancouver Island.
We invite you to get in touch with the Board and participate in the discussion.
Geneviève Cimon is the Director of Music Education at Canada’s National Arts Centre where she overseas programs in young artist training, teacher enrichment, youth and family programming, adult learning, community engagement, and music education advocacy on both national and international scales. In the NAC’s 40th anniversary year, these programs engaged 40 partners from across the country to reach 120,000 individuals in live performance and over 200,000 on-line. Geneviève has a diverse background in piano performance, English literature, ethnomusicology, communications and music education. She holds an A.R.T.C. in piano performance, B.A.s in English and Music from the university of Ottawa, an M.A. York University, and pursued doctoral studies at McGill University before joining the NAC in 2002. In 2012 she participated in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference. She is passionate about the role the arts play in transforming lives and communities.
Why are you involved with the Coalition? What is your role? I became involved with the Coalition as a co-producer of the first Music Monday celebration in 2005. We’ve celebrated Music Monday every year since on both Parliament Hill and now in Ottawa’s City Hall with Mayor Jim Watson speaking and hundreds of youth singing. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Coalition as a Board member last year as I believe there is a need to advocate for quality school music programs in our country.
Why is music important? How has music affected your life? Music is a universal language that transcends all kinds of socio-economic and cultural boundaries. It is thrilling to witness the healing powers of music first hand and to see children experiencing the joy of making music and feeling it in their bodies. I grew up listening to my father singing French folk songs and my mother blasting opera every Saturday morning as my wake-up call! I started to play the piano at age seven and was teaching the neighborhood kids by the time I was 13. It was a source of joy, fulfillment and an opportunity to let go my teenage angst in a positive way! I’ve never been able to get away from Music even as I studied other subjects….I somehow always found a musical connection to consider and explore. Music has enriched my life considerably and my passion is to give every child the opportunity and access to a similar life affirming experience.
What value does the Coalition have for music education in Canada? The Coalition is a hub for engaging Canadians coast to coast to coast in coming together to advocate for quality school music programs. We need that voice to be strong and loud especially as so many schools no longer hire music specialists or make time in their schedules for music instruction.
How would you define ‘good quality music education’? What does it entail? Good quality music education is taught by a music specialist or by a generalist teacher who has received sufficient music training to be able to teach music. A good quality music education encompasses not only the opportunity to learn about the history of music, but also to experience music, to make music, and to enjoy music! It entails the opportunity to have a regular music class, with an enthusiastic teacher, great instruments, and opportunities to perform.
What role can the arts play in sustainable community models? The arts has a very important role to play in bringing people together and providing a safe space for creative expression and dialogue. These opportunities are essential for building sustainable communities.