Canadian Research Project finds Glaring Inequities in Music Education Across our Country

By
Michael Raine
on
February 16, 2022
Category:
News

The Coalition for Music Education in Canada will be hosting a virtual launch event and discussion panel on Thursday, February 24th at 7pm EST, to review the findings of a National Study three years in development.

The report, Everything is Connected: A Landscape of Music Education, was led by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada in partnership with other organizations, including MusiCounts, Music Canada, Canadian Music Educators Association, People for Education, and the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning.

The principal investigator was Dr. Adam Con from the University of Victoria with assistance from Dr. Betty Anne Younker and Kyle Zavitz from Western University.

The goal of this study was to map the current structural, economic and social ecosystem that influences music education in Canada, and to provide benchmark data that can be used to inform future investigations.

Initiated prior to the pandemic in 2019, the study was not designed to describe music education, but rather to reflect the ongoing status within provincial education systems. Recognizing the demise of music education through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic these past two years, the report is a significant expert resource for those who develop educational policy and rebuild consistent and valued music programming into core curriculum.

The report exposes wide inequities from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, reporting that in many instances’ children in the same school district, or even in adjacent schools, have differing access to music education. The report raises many key areas of concern.  For example, why do some schools have one period per week dedicated to music instruction while others have three? Why do some schools offer access to a variety of instruments while others are lacking even the basic materials? Why do some jurisdictions have specialist music teachers and others rely instead on the classroom teacher to deliver the music curriculum?

Some of key findings from the report highlight:

● Inequalities in music education curriculum requirements across the country.

● Inconsistent access to music education and resources including relevant and current curriculum, instruments, technology, equipment and materials.

● Discrepancies in programming based on urban vs. rural access.

The Coalition has created provincial infographics denoting many findings. For example, the authors used Billboard Music hit songs as a benchmark of when each province’s music curriculum was last updated. Would you be surprised to learn that one of our largest provinces last updated their primary music curriculum the year Love Shack by the B52s was a hit (1989)?

Advocating for inclusion, diversity, equity and access, as well as the richness and cultural significance of music education in Canada, the hope is that this report serves as a pathway to future policy development and a focus on the implementation of ‘policy to practice’ within classrooms across the country.

To join the virtual, interactive discussion about this report and how we use this benchmark resource to rebuild Canadian music education post-pandemic, please register through this link. https://www.jotform.com/build/220454621194249

For more information, or to read the report, go to www.coalitioncanada.ca.

Michael Raine

Michael Raine is the Editor-In-Chief at NWC, publisher of Canadian Musician, Professional Sound, Professional Lighting & Production, and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Podcast. Michael has extensively covered nearly all aspects of the Canadian music business, as well as the pro audio, musical products, and the lighting and production industries.