Category: Spotlight

Joanna Peters secured a $5,000 grant for new musical instruments in Park Ex.Joanna has always volunteered in her community and in schools to help bring music back into the classroom however this past year, she went a step further and altered the landscape of one school’s music program. Having heard about Musicounts, a charitable organize that provides band grants to schools across Canada, she filled out a 30 page application for her local school and was ecstatic to learn the school had been granted $5000 to spend on instruments.

Joanna and the school’s music teacher then turned to Le Magasin de L’Academie / All You Need Music and were able to buy a wide range of instruments from the store at educational rates that stretched their budget as far as it could go. With students now having access to xylophones, metallophones, hand drums, and various other percussion instruments, their music education program can now attain a level that it could never have in the past. To see the full story as depicted on CTV news, please click on the link below:

“The students and staff at Sinclair Laird Elementary School in Montreal would like to say Thank-You to Le Magasin de L’Academie / All You Need Music for providing the instruments we bought after being awarded the Band Aid Musical Instrument Grant from MusiCounts this year.  The new instruments are an exciting addition to our music program.  It is such a pleasure to see the children enjoying a variety of new instruments in class as well as in the preparation of our upcoming Spring Concerts. Le Magasin de L’Academie / All You Need Music played a big role in fulfilling our instrument “wish list” within our given deadline, they were always so friendly and ready to help.  The CTV coverage is testament to how happy the students were to open the new boxes of instruments for the first time and discover what would become part of our school’s inventory.  Thank-You Le Magasin de L’Academie / All You Need Music for helping us with the last and most exciting part of fulfilling our goal.” – Mme. Helene Diguer,  Music Teacher,  Sinclair Laird School

“As a parent at Sinclair Laird and member of the Parents Participation Organization, I would like to say Thank-You for all the great instruments that Le Magasin de L’Academie / All You Need Music supplied us with.  We are always trying to help raise the bar in the students’ education and bringing greater exposure to music and the arts is a big part of this process. They were so excited to discover so many new instruments and equally happy to have new instruments in good shape and in more abundance.  Thank-You for being such and integral part of this process, we are excited to see all the instruments we have now being played by our kids.” – Joanna Peters   Mother and Volunteer,  Sinclair Laird School

Early in January of this year, I left my comfortable and familiar teaching routine in Montreal and flew south to Brazil for three months. Rest assured, I was not just lounging around on Copacabana beach while everyone back here was digging themselves out of a snowbank; I went to Rio de Janeiro with the very lofty musical goal of playing drums in the Samba parade for Carnaval.

 Vanessa with the Escola de Musica da Rocinha

Vanessa with the Escola de Musica da Rocinha jazz/bossa-nova band "Roçambossa"

The samba school I ended up drumming with is called Rocinha, which sits at the base of the shanty town, or favela, by the same name. Rocinha is the largest favela in all of South America, with an estimated 200 000 residents, and is quite a sight to behold, with thousands of little brick houses packed together up the face of a mountain. As I spent more time rehearsing at the samba school and getting to know the people of the community, I learned that there has been much NGO and volunteer activity focused on Rocinha for the last couple of decades, and now the government is finally starting to pay attention and provide them with some much-needed infrastructure.

There is a government high-rise beside the samba school that houses a medical clinic, a youth centre and several other important services. In this building there is also a music school called Escola de Musica da Rocinha (EMR), founded 17 years ago by a German musician and functioning completely on private donations and sponsors (save for the space provided by the government). I felt that I should do some volunteering during my stay in Rio, so I introduced myself to the directors of EMR and got to work helping conduct their jazz/bossa-nova band, writing arrangements and giving some piano lessons.

Currently, EMR has a very healthy inventory of donated instruments, enough to start a chamber orchestra, but sadly this year they are without a sponsor, so they were unable to retain many of their teachers. All of the remaining staff are working on a volunteer basis in order to keep the school going (as it is their policy not to charge students for lessons or ensembles). More teachers and an orchestral arranger/director are needed to be able to launch a youth orchestra program.

Some of you may have heard of El Sistema or Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. El Sistema is a youth orchestra program in Venezuela founded by musician and economist Jose Antonio Abreu in 1975 to help poor children learn to play an instrument and join an orchestra. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra is one of the ensembles from this program and has won worldwide acclaim. 95% of the students in these orchestras come from poor communities just like Rocinha.

In the words of Jose Antonio Abreu, “Music has to be recognized as an agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings”.  I would love to see something like El Sistema take hold in Rio, and EMR would be a great place to start.

Vanessa Rodrigues, Youth Music Director

New Research Shows How Group Drumming Can Help to Build Social and Emotional Skills

The NAMM Foundation announced the findings of a recent study that shows how group drumming can improve social and emotional behavior in low-income children. The study, that appears in the Oxford Journal: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, was conducted by the Pediatric Pain Program in the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

The study, funded by Remo Belli (longtime NAMM Member and founder of REMO, Inc.), demonstrates how group drumming can significantly improve such problem behaviors as:

Group Drumming

Group Drumming Helps Build Social and Emotional Skills

• Withdrawal/Depression
• Posttraumatic Stress
• Anxiety
• Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
• Oppositional Defiance
• Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

The researchers, who conducted the study with fifth grade classrooms at Napa Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, reported that its results “underscore the potential value of the arts as a therapeutic tool.”

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 Academy student, Rouzbeh Shadpey, will be receiving the 2010 RCM silver medal in guitar for the highest grade in Quebec (note: gold medals are for ARCT levels only). This is his second consecutive silver medal.