Sophie Jalbert, an educator at École Roy et Joly in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, is a true champion for music education. She’s both accomplished and studied (she holds a PhD in Music Education), and is a dedicated advocate and inspiring leader in her community.
Jalbert has built out a broad range of music programming at École Roy et Joly, and incorporates music as part of every student’s cognitive development. For Jalbert, music is a lens through which to perceive the world. “Ultimately,” Jalbert said, “I want their music class to be a positive experience that they will remember forever. I want their musical identity to be based on more than just being a musician or not. The goal is to show them how music can contribute to their lives and that making it a career is not necessary to reap the benefits. Therefore, I accompany them to build a vision of the world where not having talent for something is not a fatality and that it is possible to accomplish everything they desire if they use adequate strategies and they make the necessary efforts.”
Jalbert’s teaching methods are focused on a student’s individual needs; by systematically differentiating her delivery methods, she finds that every student can achieve success. Take, for example, the drumline programming Jalbert built in 2018 with the help of a MusiCounts Band Aid Program grant. The program has an increased appeal for boys, who have been more difficult to engage, and has proved to be a great fit for students with ADHD.
Outside of the classroom, Jalbert’s efforts to preserve the amount of music classroom time have paid off. She is also committed to sharing the joy her students experience with the broader community. She organizes an annual multi-school concert in which students showcase their achievements to 1000-member audiences.
“I think that music is a good way to master other useful skills in all fields of life such as perseverance, empathy, effort and discipline,” Jalbert said. “In other words, by teaching music, I want to help my students becoming better humans.”
We couldn’t agree more. Sophie Jalbert is one of five nominees for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation. The winner will be announced at the 50th JUNO Awards in May, and will receive a JUNO statuette, a $10,000 prize, and a sizable grant for the music program at their school.