Kent Nagano
Photo: Broede

American conductor Kent Nagano yesterday officially launched an ambitious educational project called La musique aux enfants in Montreal. It’s a two-year, intensive classical music program created by Nagano with help from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at École St-Rémi in the northern part of the Canadian city.

It aims to offer children the opportunity to develop their full potential thanks to intensive music learning. « Studies have demonstrated that learning music has important beneficial effects on cognitive, physical, emotional, psychological and social development in children, and that these effects in turn have a positive influence on their academic achievements as well as on all aspects of their lives », Nagano says in a press release.

La musique aux enfants benefits from the expertise and support of numerous partner organizations; the principal ones are the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Université de Montréal and the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île. In addition to being the initiators of the project, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal offers children in the program very special access to its musicians and its concerts.

Université de Montréal contributes to drafting the educational framework of the project, along with the scientific studies being conducted with the children. Finally, the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île, besides hosting the project at one of its schools, contributes its experience and expertise in teaching and in the implementation of enriching cultural activities.

160 pupils in kindergarten and prekindergarten at Ecole Saint-Rémi are participating and divided in several groups. While in one group 16 selected pupils learn piano, violin, choral singing and rhythm during three hours a day, the kids of a second group receive one and a quarter hours of music per day. Disciplines taught to students in this second group are piano, choral singing and rhythm. « Through this diversified program and the range of cultural activities offered, we are seeking first and foremost to foster in the children the pleasure of making music, but also perseverance, diligence, self-esteem, listening, and open-mindedness. These values constitute major assets that will enable them to achieve greater success in school, and also to become better citizens, open to the world and engaged », says the press release. All the other students at the school will have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities that will bring them into contact with music and with the musicians of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.



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