The Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts believes everyone deserves a musical education and has been fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue that philosophy. In 2005 – 06, the MCMA launched a series of outreach programs, designed to provide music instruction opportunities to children and youth facing economic and social barriers. In most cases, without the MCMA, none of our Winnipeg partner schools would have a music program. These programs are designed to offer music instruction in a safe and friendly environment that allows students the opportunity to grow as musicians.
The MCMA, in partnership with inner-city schools and organizations offers a variety of outreach music programs in the community. The inner city strings and rock guitar programs are attended by approximately 200+ students weekly. These programs are taught in four inner-city schools in Winnipeg, Wi Wabigooni (guitar), Eagle Circle (guitar), Strathcona (violin/fiddle) and William Whyte (violin/fiddle). These outreach teachers bring endless dedication and inspiration and are changing lives on a daily basis. Students’ basic music and social skills are evaluated at the beginning of the program and then again at the end. In the past our evaluations have revealed increases across the board in: participation, ability to play, technique and overall enjoyment. These results indicate that our programs are engaging and enjoyable for these students regardless of their level.
By providing outreach programs like these as well as others to the community, the MCMA hopes to foster the relationship between students and their instruments as well as encourage young people to continue their journey as musicians. Opportunities like these are essential, not only do they cultivate musicianship they benefit children and youth in a variety of ways. Studies have found increases in overall self-esteem of at-risk children and youth participating in arts programs that included music. Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). After school music programs have been statistically proven to reduce crime rates, raise grade levels and lower dropout rates.
The MCMA is extremely proud of our outreach programs, faculty and volunteers and hopes to continue offering programs like these to the community as well as develop new ones. From the words of an outreach student; “Music makes me feel confident.” And we hope to instill that sense of confidence in many more students for years to come.