Montreal Symphony Orchestra conductor Kent Nagano helps launch a special project to give preschool children a start in learning music and help "inspire hope and the sense that anything is possible."
Conceived by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Université de Montréal and the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île, the music project La musique aux enfants was officially launched today with the help of one of the city's music superstars: OSM conductor Kent Nagano. The project, developed with L'École des jeunes of the university's Faculty of Music, will introduce kindergarten and preschool children at École St-Rémi to learning music for the first time.
Under the project, 161 students will get a minimum of one lesson in rhythm and choral singing per week and the chance to be in contact with musicians of the OSM. Sixteen children will receive close to three hours of piano, violin, rhythm and choral singing instruction each day, while a second group of 16 children will get 75 minutes of music instruction per day.
The goal isn't to nurture child prodigies in music but rather to help the kids develop to their full potential with music as an aid in their development – or as Nagano put it, "to inspire hope and the sense that anything is possible.” At the same time, as a research project, the initiative will contribute to the science of early-childhood music education, while also promoting music in Quebec schools.
Researchers from UdeM's Faculty of Music, Faculty of Education and School of Occupational Therapy of the Faculty of Medicine will measure the impact of music at an early age on the children's learning of French and mathematics. They will also study how early learning of music influences the kids' desire to stay in school, as well as its effect on the development of their gross and fine motor skills. This kind of work is innovative, in that it will allow researchers to evaluate impacts in a very precise area of education: the intensive and highly structured learning of music.
“This partnership between a symphonic orchestra, a university and a school board is unique," said Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton. "It's really reflects what Montreal is: a university town and a music town. We're combining two big strengths of Montreal for the benefit of children."
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Deeply rooted in Montréal and dedicated to its international mission, Université de Montréal is one of the top universities in the French-speaking world. Founded in 1878, Université de Montréal today has 16 faculties and schools, and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Québec and one of the major centres in North America. It brings together 2,500 professors and researchers and welcomes more than 60,000 students.
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