Students benefit from music education, say adjudicators

The newest members of the Sistema Tobique Centre orchestra – including Makayla Bear-Kinney – showed off their skills during instrumental classes at the Victoria County Music Festival on Friday, April 6.  PHOTO: CORINNE FITZHERBERT/THE VICTORIA STAR

The newest members of the Sistema Tobique Centre orchestra – including Makayla Bear-Kinney – showed off their skills during instrumental classes at the Victoria County Music Festival on Friday, April 6.

PHOTO: CORINNE FITZHERBERT/THE VICTORIA STAR

CORINNE FITZHERBERT THE VICTORIA STAR  April 11, 2018

More music in schools would strike the right note with those devoting their lives to teaching children to play an instrument.

The adjudicators of strings, instrumental and piano classes at the Victoria County Music Festival held from April 2-7 in Perth-Andover addressed the importance of the arts.

Beth Tait is the executive director for the Carleton County Music Festival and she adjudicated the festival’s piano classes. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano in Toronto, Tait said more attention needs to be paid to music in schools.

“I would certainly like to see more time paid not just after school, but during school, on the arts in general,” said Tait.

Music festivals offer a unique opportunity for the community to see how much young people gain from singing or learning to play an instrument. Having students attend parts of the music festival as an audience so they can see what their peers are accomplishing is important too, said Tait.

“It exposes them to some classical music or lets them see other instruments they might like to learn.”

Ali Leonard of Saint John adjudicated the strings and instrumental classes. Leonard is a violinist with Symphony New Brunswick and also plays with the alternative rock band Penny Blacks.

As a music teacher, Leonard was impressed by young players in the Sistema Tobique Centre orchestra. Sistema students meet after school every day for three hours and Leonard said that amount of practice produces results.

“I have a student orchestra and they only get to meet once a week for an hour,” said Leonard.

The adjudicator said she wished every student in school was able to learn to play an instrument. The string program she teaches for the Anglophone South School District is, she believes, one of the last in-school groups of its kind in the province.

“Now, it’s so rare in schools,” she said, praising the establishment of Sistema Centres around the province in enabling children to learn to play.“ Hearing them here has been wonderful. I love it!”