MusiCounts has been profiling recipient groups from the 2017 MusiCounts TD Community Music Program. These community organizations are making a life changing impact within their communities by providing youth with access to musical instruments and music education. This week meet Société des Arts Libres – Youth Music Network from Montreal, QC! We asked the organization to share their story, read more below.
Q: Can you tell us about the history of your music program and why you applied for a MusiCounts TD Community Music Program grant?
A: We have been running community-based youth music programs for over a decade, but have always suffered from the lack of safe, inviting and dedicated space, and a shortage of instruments. Having secured a space, our search for instruments began! We had been working with what we had – which were instruments in need of repair, instruments that were not set up properly or intended for little hands, etc. These are hard to play and children get discouraged, so it became clear to us that if we had a variety of instruments, not only could we work with a wider age-range of children, but the program would grow.
We were overjoyed to receive the instruments from MusiCounts and TD Bank Group! Now we have a dedicated space, full of instruments. As a result of this a number of music instructors have come forward to offer their services to us for free! As in the movie Field of Dreams, we have our room of dreams “if you build it, they will come”!
Q: What is the impact that receiving the grant has had on your students and community?
A: The program has grown tremendously since we received the instruments. Now we have numerous schools, community centres and programs interested in participating in our programs, collaborating with us on music-based projects, and helping us spread the word. Our participating youth are over-joyed and are already expressing an interest and willingness to expand their musical horizons. We are establishing a variety of free programs for the youth, from group piano lessons, to drum circles, and digital music creation.
Our participating youth are over-joyed
Q: What are the next steps for the program since receiving the grant?
A: We have just established a partnership with a student organization from McGill’s School of Music to supply us with instrumental instructors and we are reaching out to local schools that have had their music programs cut to offer our services to them. We are creating a broad set of instructional classes and drop-in times so the local youth can experience a variety of music-making methods and styles. We are looking to have one or more of our student ensembles perform in a music festival this coming summer.