Imagine a community where children turn to music as an outlet for the stresses of poverty, violence or disability.
You can make it happen!
The MCMA Music Equals program is at the heart of the Conservatory’s dedication to providing musical opportunities for youth living in Winnipeg who may not otherwise have access to music classes.
“I never knew I could play until I tried.”
“Music makes me feel confident.”
“I am so very grateful for this opportunity for my children. It is great that there are organizatons that help with
funding for this program. There is not enough funding for music and arts, lots of kids are missing this opportunity. The chidren whose parents have oney get special opportunities, meanwhile other kids may have a musical talent and it cannot be foster without money.”
WHO participates in the program?
- Each week over 350 children from Winnipeg’s inner city have the opportunity to learn an instrument through the Music Equals Strings, Rock, Musical Theatre and Community Bursary programs. Without these programs most of these children would never have the chance to try, let alone learn, to play an instrument
- Any student who is interested is given a chance to learn
- Eighty percent (80%) of the students are First Nations and a growing number of students are new Canadians
- All students face barriers to accessing a music education (economic, social or geographic)
HOW does the program work?
- The outreach program provides excellent instruction, instruments and a safe place to practice and learn.
- The Music Equals Rock program partners with Niji Mahkwa and Children of the Earth School and offering music education to students at the junior high and high school level. All students receive instruction on guitar, drums and keyboard, and are encouraged to sing and try songwriting.
- Partnering with Inkster, Strathcona, Wellington and William Whyte schools in the Winnipeg School Division, the Music Equals Strings program introduces elementary school students to the violin in an ensemble setting, supplemented with one-on-one instruction. As part of their commitment and belief in the program, the schools have invested in instruments for the programs.
- The Community Bursary program provides bursary seats in group classes taking place at the Conservatory. Bursary students learn alongside students who pay for lessons. Outside of the Conservatory, there may be differences between where these students live or what they can or cannot buy, but during music class, they are all musicians learning and working together. One of the most extraordinary outcomes of the program is seeing these students form new friendships and experience a sense of belonging within the Conservatory and the music community
WHERE does the program take place?
- Classes are taught in the community to increase the students’ access.
- For many of our students a school bus is the only transportation they have access to, therefore programs are developed to work within the school day to ensure the opportunity to participate. Many students also have family responsibilities before and after school and would not be able to attend if the program ran outside of school hours.
WHAT are the results?
- Teachers and administrators have noted the significant difference the music program has had in the schools.
- Students who participate in the music program are building sense of pride and confidence.
- Teachers recognize the many cognitive and social benefits learning an instrument has for the students.
- Increase in attendance rates on “music days” also increases academic performance as students are receiving a consistent program on a daily basis.
- Special needs students are learning to communicate through music.
By providing the opportunity to learn an instrument in elementary school, the program will provide a solid foundation in musical literacy and foster musical interest which will hopefully encourage participation in band programs as these students enter Junior High and High School. Participation in music programs has been proven to reduce school drop outs, increase grades and lower crime levels. Music can be a positive healthy choice for students who are faced with harsh alternatives.
These programs are wholly supported through community grants, corporate and individual donations and fundraisers and are totally dependent on this funding to continue. Funding is secured on an annual basis and the programs are at risk to be cancelled should any of the funding sources be decreased or denied.
A donation of $250 to the MCMA Music Equals program will provide music education for one student for an entire school year!
For less than the price of a weekly cup of coffee, you can show these students how much you believe in them and their abilities.