MusiCounts and TD Bank Group are proud to partner and support youth music programs across the country. In 2018, 30 music programs from across Canada will benefit from instrument grants through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program. To celebrate, MusiCounts is getting to know recipient programs from across the country.
MusiCounts visited Music For The Spirit in Ohsweken, ON on the Six Nations Grand River reserve for a musical celebration and an unveiling of their $18,000 in MusiCounts instruments and equipment. We asked Richelle Miller, Program Coordinator of Music For The Spirit, to tell us about the program and the impact of new instruments they received.
The Music For The Spirit music program was initiated as a grassroots collective to create an opportunity for youth to express, create and share their Indigenous stories. The goal is to make it accessible for youth to participate in creating, and allow them to express themselves through music and visual arts. There are different genres, both traditional music, contemporary music and a variety of instruments incorporated into the program to support that.
Not all children are passionate about sports, this offers an opportunity to explore and have something that may be different for them. We are a gifted community, and it’s an ideal venue for those gifts to be shared and mentorship between the students. Music for the Spirit’s modality and philosophy is more about building relationships and creating an environment that supports youth’s exploration through music.
The Music For The Spirit program has evolved in many different ways including the building of relationships and the building of friendships. We have some participants who have been part of the initiative for the full six years and are now helping to teach the new participants.
We started small with 12 students and now we’ve grown to over 40. The evolution has also taken us from just a summer camp to an after school program and many events in the community.
Music For The Spirit and all of the participants are very grateful to MusiCounts and TD for the support and the new instruments. It’s going to afford us the opportunity to travel to other First Nations communities and share workshops. The feedback and excitement from the youth when they saw the unveiling of instruments was very powerful. They have already asked when are we going to start using the new instruments. It’s inspired them more to continue and explore.