In January, the P. Lantz Initiative for Excellence in Education & the Arts invited academics, students, and staff in the Faculty of Education to submit proposals for the Initiatives in Arts and Music Education. The following projects have been selected to take place throughout the next year:

Fiesta Finale: A Celebration of Upper Year Music Education Student Compositions

Fiesta Finale was an opportunity for students enrolled in their final year of the B.Mus./B.Ed. Concurrent Degree Program and the B.Ed. Music Degree Program to be celebrated for their student compositions. Student compositions written for beginner concert band, as part of EDEA 442 Music Methods I, were judged by two members of the McGill Association of Student Composers (MASC). Criteria included originality, suitability for beginner concert band, and overall format/publishability. Award winners were announced at a reception attended by faculty and students of the Music Education Area. A firsts prize scholarship of $250 was awarded to Maxwell McLarty and a second prize of $100 was awarded to Naomi Garrett.

Plans to record the compositions are underway so that all students from EDEA 442 (Fall 2015) can include a professional quality recording in their teaching portfolios. The student compositions are intended for future use in a school or community setting and it is anticipated that several will become part of the curriculum and repertoire of Quebec school band programs.

Cultivating Presence: Affirmative Art-making as Philosophic Practice

Our project is an experiment in artful approaches to philosophical inquiry with graduate students in a Philosophy of Education Course and children and youth in a Philosophy for Children program. Inspired by Natalie Fletcher’s (2016) use of philosophy “zines” or philo-zines to cultivate communities of philosophic inquiry with children and youth, the project starts with the production of philo-zines as an artful documentary process of the philosophical questions, musings, and moments in the graduate classroom. From here, graduate students are invited to embody, explore and interrogate various philosophical concepts through the arts. At each pedagogical and philosophical juncture, students are prompted to connect their own philosophical and pedagogical experiences to the structural realities of teaching and learning in Quebec public schools. Half-way through this intensive course, the art-educators and McGill professor collaborating on this project move into the field and spend a day facilitating a parallel experience for children and youth at the Philosophy for Children program: Brila Youth Projects/Projets Jeunesse Brila. This experience is documented using visual and written methods and brought back to the graduate students the following day for a discussion. Finally, the project culminates with a Philo-zine exposition at McGill in the fall.

Education Mural Project

In collaboration with James Lyng High School and local YMCAs, this project will create a set of murals to be designed and painted by Montreal youth assisted by professional mural artists on two highly-visible walls in the Faculty of Education. The murals will create a more lively and colourful space for Education students and staff to meet for lunch, coffee breaks and group meetings. The subject of the murals will be developed in creative sharing sessions between approximately six to ten youth, two facilitators, and two mural artists. The Education Mural Project will engage community partners in an enriching collaboration and make the Faculty of Education a more welcoming and lively area for Education students, faculty, and staff to enjoy spending time.

Project Staccato: Early Childhood Music for a Smart and Fun Start in Life!
(Photo above)

Research in music education clearly shows that an early start is a key to success. It has been linked with better social bonds, developing a feeling of trust, regulating emotions, stimulating long term memory, increased IQ, attention development, increased memorization skills, developing the whole brain, helping developing creativity, literacy and math skills, and more.

There are areas in Montreal where poverty and socio-economic factors prevent young children from accessing a fun and stimulating musical education. The goals of this project are to offer music stimulation to preschool age children (babies to five year olds), to help parents interact with their young child which is not obvious for all new parents, to give an opportunity to the parents to create connections with other adults living a similar experience, and to offer our McGill students a possibility to gain teaching experience while being supervised.

The students will be in charge of creating a series of music lessons and to teach the lessons to various groups. Through this experience, they will develop their teaching skills, while being supervised in their lesson planning and implementing.

The Artful Inquiry Research Group (AIRG) Project Fund

The AIRG is a group open to graduate students and faculty members in The Faculty of Education who are interested in exploring research and pedagogical questions through artful inquiry. In the past two and a half years this group has run several successful inquiry salons, invited guests from around Canada and worked towards starting an Art Hive in the department.

AIRG aims at bringing together students and faculty members who are exploring research in and through the arts. The planned activities will initiate conversations about various methods of engaging in artful inquiry and how these approaches may advance research in education and pedagogy. The ultimate objective of the group and its proposed activities is to promote a strong cohort of McGill researchers who are advocates of producing knowledge in and through the arts by engaging in various forms of rigorous artful ways of knowing and research creation.