Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Baroque Bassoon in North America, 2011

I've decided that, rather than update the same old post as new information comes up, I am going to write a quasi state-of-the-union in baroque bassooning once a year. It makes the most sense, as everything I write seems to fall out of date pretty quick, and with the more I learn about the scene, the more there is to write.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Question to You

One year ago, I began theheckeler.ca to act as both a journal of my activities and as a medium to voice my opinions and ideas for musical performance. Recently, I have become quite interested in writing about young groups and their strategies for success. 2012 will see theheckeler.ca continue this "Emerging Artist Series", as well as my usual banter.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a Youtube video of Sally Jackson playing a concerto for bassoon by Capel Bond. It was a pleasant surprise for two reasons: one, I had never heard a recording of Ms. Jackson (though a video of her demonstrating different bassoons is in one of my most read posts), and two, theheckeler.ca was mentioned in the blurb below the video. I invite you all to take a look at it which can be seen here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Agoraphobic? Try Opera da Camera!

Opera da Camera (from left to right)
Taylor White
Meagan Zantingh
 Kathrin Welte
 Benjamin Kwong
Though you and I may not realize it, operatic singers live an interesting dilemma. Their most fruitful work comes, of course, from playing a major role in an opera or appearing in front of an orchestra, interestingly enough but, once out of school, singers don't often get the chance to perform a blend of styles, both popular and classical, in recital. Four very talented graduates of McGill's Schulich School of Music have decided it's time for that to change.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Canada's only recorder quintet? Flute Alors!

photo by Pierre-Étienne Bergeron and Daniel-Jean Primeau
Flute Alors! (from left to right)
Marie-Laurence Primeau
Vincent Lauzer
Alexa Raine-Wright
Caroline Tremblay
Jean-Michel Leduc
Montreal, North America's most European city. A veritable oak of a city with a rich heritage and a deeply-rooted early music community supporting notable groups such as Arion, Ensemble Caprice, and Les Idees Heureuses. The city is also home to many prestigious music schools including Universite de Montreal, McGill University, Le Conservatoire de musique de Quebec a Montreal, and Concordia University.

A typical Saturday evening's choice of concerts include the Opera, the various orchestre (OSM, Arion, I Musici, Orchestre Metropolitaine, etc.), the universities' ensembles, and, occasionally, a bright group of recorder virtuosi named Flute Alors!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Moment of Hegemony?

This coming Friday and Saturday I will be performing in a production of Handel's Messiah. This will be my third year as bassoonist for the freelance orchestra, though it will be my first time performing with the modern instrument. This past Saturday we had our first rehearsal and it was quite the experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Liaison - San Francisco's Freshest Baroque Ensemble

Photo by Natalie Perez
(From right to left)
Susie Fong, harpsichord
Danielle Reutter-Harrah, mezzo
Hallie Pridham, cello/gamba
Katy Olsen, soprano
San Francisco, one of top tourist destinations in the world and the second most densely-populated city in the U.S. Home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Harry Callahan, the, sadly, fictional .44 Magnum-wielding policeman made famous by Clint Eastwood in Don Siegel's cult flick 'Dirty Harry'.

Some on this side of the continent may not be aware of this, but San Fran is also host to two(!) HIP (Historically Informed Performance) Orchestre, the American Bach Soloists and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; and a thriving chamber music scene. The San Francisco Conservatory, one of the most important, if not the most; conservatories on the west coast, runs a baroque ensemble as well as a masterclass series with help from the American Bach Soloists, who also run an academy there in the summer.

Recently, the garden that is the Bay Area's music scene has become that much richer. Four fruits of the San Francisco Conservatory's labour have bunched together to become Liaison, an early-music ensemble which hopes to better engage local audiences. "We hope for our concerts to have a feel more accustomed to a local pop concert," says Susie, Liaison's harpsichordist; "where audiences there feel that they have a personal connection with the musicians more-so than at a concert of classical music."

Although there are challenges ahead, as with most brand new ensembles, Liaison has youth on its side. The four 20-somethings hope to cultivate an audience of both usual early-music concert-goers as well as under-35s by creating a more social atmosphere, presenting more dramatic material, and performing in 'non-traditional' venues. Although a perfect venue springs to mind, Danielle noted that, due to possible culture shock, "we couldn't just walk into a bar and play [baroque] music."

An encouraging prospect is the group's commitment to success. Before their first appearance in public, Liaison already had 3 engagements booked for the first half of 2012. What's their secret? Katy, enlightened me: "We're all responsible for networking, getting gigs and we split tasks among us. I organised the photo shoot, for example." Susie, responsible for creating the group's Facebook page, had a life in arts marketing before completing her masters this past spring, having worked with the San Francisco Symphony as well as the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and her skills have been put to good use. Interestingly enough, a top priority for the ensemble is the development of a press kit.

Liaison's main interest is the music of the French baroque, though they don't limit themselves to that. Displaying a range of styles in their inaugural concert, the quartet performed in a very intimate setting at the Starlite Vineyards, just north of San Pablo Bay.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Andy's Handy Hints: Timeraiser

Last week I read an article in The Globe and Mail about Vancouver's Waldorf hotel. The hotel, which has become a cultural centre for the city's youth (by youth I mean under-35s), has been taken over by the art community and turned into an all-purpose venue of sorts. You can read the article here.

What caught my attention was a description of a 'timeraiser' taking part at the Waldorf by a political campaign "where attendees bid time instead of money for items such as Science World passes and Burlesque dance lessons"(TGaM, Oct. 28, 2011)... Isn't that a fantastic idea?

The to-do list for ensemble OVO is quite long, and each task often requires a different 'hat', or skill set, in order for it to be completed. Imagine having someone with an accountant hat, or a grant writing hat working with you...

Unfortunately for a new ensemble, it may be hard to find items valuable enough for people to want to bid hours of their time to win. A free in-house concert could be a real winner, but there must also be some non music-related items that might spark interest. 


Think about it!

More of Andy's Handy Hints can be found here

Saturday, October 29, 2011

No News is Bad News

An article on the Thirteen Strings was published in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday and I couldn't help but to be reminded of the serious challenges there are to the music scene in ottawa.

Last week my ensemble, Ensemble Our Very Own, had its first public concert (sponsored by Ars Nova) on period instruments. Two excellent baroque flutists from Toronto as well as our soprano Anna-Sophie from Montreal came to perform with two other locals and I in a special program of French music from the 17th and 18th centuries.

What was an excellent concert and week of rehearsals was marred by poor support from the local media and a smaller-than-expected, albeit very supportive and enthusiastic, audience. What did the Citizen cover instead? The Ottawa Choral Society's African Sanctus. Needless to say, I took a hit financing the show.

Rare is the occasion for more than three concerts of classical music to occur on one Friday evening, two is common as the NACO performs most weekends,  therefore a conflict is unavoidable. What am I saying!? YOU (if you're reading from out of town) have a CHOICE of what you want to go see every weekend! Why should there even be a discussion about scheduling conflicts in a city of 1 million+ people? And let's get real, classical music production companies in Ottawa, we are not fighting over the same 1000 concert-goers on a given evening. Ottawa is a grown-up city and it can handle more than two concerts at a time.

Let's say one percent of Ottawa's population is interested in classical music concerts - that's ten thousand people. The problem is that only one percent of the population that is aware of the concert in question is going to be interested in it. Unfortunately, there is no way to make every person living in the region aware of an event, not without a few million dollars at least. So you can understand the necessity of print article for an up-and-coming group, such as the OVO, in Ottawa.

And now to the point. When you, the arts columnist, see a group of young, extremely talented musicians performing in a premiere concert of music rarely heard in the city; would you see it as much more newsworthy than a bunch of old fogies singing a piece they've performed several times before?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Andy's Handy Hints for your Ensemble, Part 2

Continuing from part 1 of Andy's Handy Hints

Find a Home Venue 

A church is often the cheapest place and not a bad acoustic either. Pay attention to the average attendance and think about downsizing if necessary. Some friends of mine, the group Flute Alors! Have been performing in a hall that seats about 80. Not exactly huge, but it always looks well-attended.

Plan the Future of Your Ensemble

What kind of service will you provide for the community. Make all of your goals clear and give timelines for specific projects you have in mind.

Establish a Board of Governors

Once a few concerts have been performed and your group is energised about the future, find three well-connected supporters who will herald your successes to the community. Speak to them about your plans and, if they show excitement, ask them if they might be interested in taking a leadership role with the ensemble (I.e. joining a board of governors). You'll need a president, secretary, and treasurer. The treasurer will be extremely important and helpful in future grant-writing. Make clear the purpose of the board from the beginning in order to avoid any stress later.

Incorporate as a Non-Profit or Charitable Organisation

A charitable organisation has 501(c)3 status in the States. This is very important as it opens your group up to more granting agencies as well as allowing you to issue tax-deductible receipts to donors.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Andy's Handy Hints for your Ensemble, Part 1

Starting an ensemble can be a ton of work. What am I saying? It is a ton of work. Though just getting your friends in one place for rehearsals and booking a venue may seem like enough, if you wish for your group to really become a staple to your community's entertainment diet, a few things need to be done. 

I've started Andy's Handy Hints to give you some ideas to get you started. 

Have a Blog or Website

In this digital era, there are millions of missed opportunities for a small group without any online presence. Facebook, twitter, and myspace are all free ways to connect with potential fans, other ensembles, critics....etc. When opened the @ensembleovo twitter account almost immediately there as a buzz going, I even got an interview with a reporter from La Scena Musicale from it! Get out there and raise awareness.

Have a Graphic that will be the Face of the Ensemble

Even if it doesn't have the group members in it, make sure it gives the viewer something to grab hold of. Of course, be careful with what you use, make sure it's appropriate to the type of entertainment you want to put on.

Make Clear Who Your Permanent Members Are

Something we'll be experimenting with this year. Make sure that you appreciate what your fellow musicians bring to the ensemble and make sure you enjoy their company in and outside of rehearsal.

Open an Ensemble Bank Account

This will make things much easier at tax time.

Perform Three Concerts a Season, Minimum

Most granting agencies (especially 'gateway granters') require ensembles to be 'active' for a certain amount of seasons. An 'active' year often means a minimum of three to four concerts a season.

You can read part 2, here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Upsetting circumstances with university music ensemble

This post is a comment on a situation at my university. Let me begin by saying that I'm not writing this post to bash the music discipline. Although at times it may seem that way, please don't misinterpret; I'd like to share with you my experience there over the past three-and-a-quarter years.

The few of you reading in Ottawa might think of Carleton's music program as 'one that doesn't focus on musical performance'. The university does, in fact, offer a bachelor of music degree which, by provincial standard, is supposed to have a performance component.

The main image problem in the past few years has been the lack of depth in student classical performers. However, the music discipline accepts, according to an article published in a Carleton magazine, players of any instrument from any style as long as the prospective student can find him/herself a teacher. Although there are and have been some excellent performers inside and outside of classical music, as of late the classical area has been stagnant.

As part of our degree, students must be part of an ensemble (open to both students and the general public) for a total of 8 semesters. Students are not limited to a particular ensemble, allowing you to change from semester to semester; and you can double-up ensembles to finish your requirements in half the time. These ensembles are worth a 0.0 credit, meaning that although one must register in them, they are not given an academic score but, rather, a pass/fail based solely on attendance. Up until this year, it was never explained how many rehearsals you could miss before you were failed.

Carleton works on a 5.0 credit-per-year system, where an average class is worth 0.5 credits per term. 1.0 credits costs a B.mus student roughly 1100 CAD. Therefore, a 0.0 credit costs a B.mus student nothing.

Carleton runs a contemporary music ensemble, a guitar ensemble, a community choir, an african drumming ensemble, jazz ensemble, a fusion ensemble, a 'baroque opera ensemble' (which includes an orchestra, though composed almost entirely of community members), a chamber music ensemble and until recently, an Indian music ensemble.

To be quite honest, every ensemble except the classical ones are worth going to see. I especially recommend a trip to see the african drumming ensemble, the most popular group to join amongst the B.mus students. Unfortunately, the discipline has decided that all ensemble concerts are pay-to-enter, a travesty in my opinion. Any one of you can go see your local university orchestra for free. In previous years the takings from Carleton concerts, if there was a charge at all, were to go to charity (the Haiti earthquake victims, for example), but now it goes straight to the discipline. Though I can understand in cases where a concert hall is required, I can't believe that charging admission to concerts held in the regular classroom has become necessary.

The ensemble which I have participated in the most, the chamber music ensemble, is scheduled for Friday nights, from 5:15 until (usually) 9pm, although each group only receives 30 minutes of coaching every 2 weeks. Often practices have run to 10pm. The ensemble holds a lot of emotional baggage for me as I've never been in a group that I've really felt made an effort in making music. As many members of the group are non-B.mus students, and those that are in the program do not receive any grade at the end of the semester, it's rare to see members take ownership. 

Clearly I'm tense over the whole situation. However, allow me to speculate a solution to all of this trouble. 

If the discipline were to make the ensembles a 0.25 credit, B.mus students would pay about $250 per semester (generating roughly $25,000 in revenue to the university) and would be graded in their participation. Non B.mus students/the community would be eliminated from the equation and there would be no need to charge entry to concerts which are already poorly attended to begin with. Although the university would be the direct recipients of the credit revenue, there would be no reason not to increase funding to the discipline as a result of this change. There could even be a budget for instrument tuning, maintenance and proper ensemble coaching.

Let's see what happens in the long run.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A must-read! Please read Paul Judy's blog post

Through Tony Woodcock's blog you can find Paul Judy's blog post about the next-generation musical arts organizations. Please read this as it is gold.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

That's Showbiz

This past Sunday I performed in a concert in which I was the featured soloist. The concert raised funds for an apartment building's gardening committee and, as I wasn't paid for it myself, I decided to rehash some old material for it. An easy piece I added to the program was a sonata by boismortier which my accompanist, Alan, and I sight read through a few weeks before the show. Okay, not the smartest decision I've ever made.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last week's uproar over the LPO on twitter

Early last week I was gazing at my twitter account when I stumbled across a tweet mentioning an uproar between the public and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The tweet linked back to the LPO's Facebook page (which I can't seem to find at the moment). Through social media, another continent could follow along to these events as they were happening. Not only that, but the opposition to the board's decision spread from orchestra subscribers and patrons to a completely untapped audience. Boy is the digital world both a blessing and a curse.

I had quite a detailed post for you this week on the subject, but I think it's best that I just give you a few links to start you off with and let you discover this for yourself. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Debate Disturbed by Union President

Last week I watched a debate hosted by WQXR in New York about the future of orchestral musicians and orchestras in America, which you can find here. I found it through the blog of the Savvy Musician, which is an excellent. Although I only got about three quarters in when my connection died, I learned quite a lot from the debate.
I thought the debate was very good, however, there was one portion which I found somewhat disturbing: Mr. Hair's talking points, or rather lack thereof. I'm very displeased with the idea that the president of the largest musicians' union in North America arriving to a debate about the future of the industry completely unprepared to take part in real discussion.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


My trip to Basel wasn't the simplest one. I decided to go on the cheap, which meant I bought an air ticket from Montreal to Paris and had to complete the journey on land. My journey started on Sunday the 21st when I bussed to Montreal and flew out.

 I arrived in Paris on Monday morning, and spent the day there walking from my hotel down le rue Strasbourg to notre dame cathedral. It was my first time in Paris, so I took as much as I could in an afternoon before I walked back to my hotel a tired wreck.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Letter on my Journey to The Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Dominic about my time in Basel. I'll follow up with a proper blog post about my trip later this week. 

In my 30 hours in Basel, quite a bit happened. Donna and I talked alot about The Hague and the Schola and she showed me around the school and a bit of the town as well before we went back to her place. We talked about music non-stop from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday evening!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


For those of you who didn't know, August is Reed Month.

After finishing work with Chamberfest this past Friday, I - gradually - started to get back into my practice regime. I saw a new baroque flutist in town, I made two modern reeds, I made a baroque reed - Life was good. 

Because of the long work hours at the festival I, unfortunately, haven't been able to play my new Wietfeld baroque bassoon by Pau Orriols (His company has a name, but I keep blanking on it - let's call it Bazinga for now). Dominic in Toronto has been quite excited to see the instrument, so I decided to take it down with me when I saw him today. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Entrepreneurship not just a necessity, it's good for you too.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to watch a recital by Olivier Brauld, accompanied by Melisande Corriveau and Eric Milnes, focusing on the very beginnings of the French violin sonata. The list of composers included de Visée, Rebel, de la Guerre, Clérambault, Mascitti, as well as others. It was an excellent performance, and well narrated too! -It was very nice to hear French and English used interchangeably without any repetition.

After the concert I had a long chat with Eric Milnes about my prospects for grad school which proved quite fruitful. Eric had a great piece of advice for me, he preluded with a special pose and said "This is the best piece of advice I can give  you, are you ready for it?". He said that having your own projects were essential to a career in music. Not only if you had a problematic personality - which, by having your own group, would be challenged by personality conflicts, developing a good business practice, etc. - but even just for the fact that you'll feel more satified when seeing your own work come to fruition.

He couldn't be more right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"For Heaven's Sake! We fixed the fortepiano"\The Frederick Beck/Francis Barwick Fortepiano

In the spring of 2010 I was rummaging through Studio A, Carleton University Music's main storage room and lecture hall, and stumbled upon an old piano wrapped in a particularly dusty blue rug. After managing to negotiate the removal of the rug (the legs on the instrument were quite flimsy), I opened the keyboard to find the inscription "Fredericus Beck Londini fecit 1777". The instrument was in poor condition, the strings had all lost their tension or had broken, and the sound board had three very large cracks in them. I continued to look for another maker's mark through the dust, figuring it was an exact copy, but, to my surprise, I couldn't locate one.

Friday, July 15, 2011

TBSI and Festival Montreal Baroque, part 2

Playing with Bande Montreal Baroque was an incredible experience for me. My first rehearsal was the pinch I needed to wake me from the dream-like daze I was in. Everyone around me in Susie's living room has been featured on at least one CD in my library - and I don't have a large collection - and were all ready to take on the new Brandenburgs. Although I had some time to look at the music while in Toronto, I was certainly not ready to pick up on the time-bending and extraordinary articulations so commonly found in the music of Susie and Eric, our director for the Brandenburgs. To everyone else these, what seemed to me, outlandish ideas were expected.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TBSI and Festival Montreal Baroque, part 1

Hello all,

Sorry to be gone for so long but I've been incredibly busy!

I've recently completed my third TBSI and am just finishing up two weeks at the Festival Montreal Baroque playing with la Bande Montreal Baroque before heading back to Ottawa in time for my birthday. It's been a very intense month musically and I'm very grateful for all of the lessons I've learned.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A 21st Century Dilemma

So I was asked this past Monday if I could perform the solo in the Domine Fili movement of Caldara's Missa Dolorosa. They gave me the sheet music and told me I had a few hours to accept or not (the gig was this evening). Instead of reading the sheet music, I decided to go online and find a Youtube video or Naxos Music Library recording somewhere. Interestingly, I couldn't find anything. It was only then did I looked at the sheet music and accept the gig.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Conflicted over modern performances of baroque music part 1

Although I'm all for the promotion of baroque music, I’ve become conflicted after attending the most recent all-baroque concert by the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The performance included one of my all time favourites, Corelli’s Concerto Grosso Op.6 no. 4, as well as a few very interesting Handel Arias and was played at a very high technical standard. Although the performance was very ‘clean’ I couldn’t help but feel that it gave off the air that baroque music lacked depth, a common comment I hear from modern orchestra-goers. Another bothering part of the performance involved the soloists in the concerto grosso remaining in their seats and not being acknowledged at the end. The write-up in the program mentioned that Corelli’s music is usually left in the realm of ‘historically informed performers’, maybe it’s such a rarity to perform a concerto grosso that the conductor didn’t think to acknowledge the soloists? The conductor, Mr. McGegan, was brought in from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra so surely that must not be the case.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Funny Coincidence

On Sunday, April 10th I performed a short recital before a performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion by a local church choir. I enjoyed myself and, as all work towards the recital was paid for, I managed to squeeze out a ‘prep’ recital with the organist at no cost to me. It was nice to perform for a completely fresh audience for once and they seemed to be very pleased by my performance (phew!). I performed the Mozart Concerto and Elgar’s Romance, Op.62.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Such a busy time!

The past few weeks have been quite interesting for me musically. I spent last week performing in the pit (on the modern bassoon) for a new opera called “Lady of the Night” and, on top of my studies, managed to get out to Montreal for a lesson.

The lady of the Night was an interesting experience to say the least. The opera included fifty students of one particular singing teacher in the area, who sung at the beginning of the performance, and, with the introduction of every new singer, I began to see (or rather, hear) the style of singing which she was teaching to her students. The music was particularly difficult to play and put together for the pit orchestra, but we pulled through by opening night. The orchestra was full of great people and I hope to play with them again soon!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Do you always take time to…

Well… I see that I’ve been away from all of it a little too long, again. Sorry!
I’ve recently been swamped with various performances and mid terms and such and I’ve been finding it quite hard to practice all of this things that I’ve wanted to in a 2.5-hour sit-down.
Because I’ve had a solo performance every two weeks for the past month and a half, I’ve spent much more time working on the pieces themselves rather than exercises and scales. Although I feel that this extra time on the music seemed to pay off come concert time, I do wish that I could spend more time on my exercises in a practice session.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A follow-up to an earlier post

I`m sorry I’ve been away from the blog for so long, I’ve had quite a lot of work and practicing to do, and I haven’t had much to talk about either. That will change right now.

So as I had mentioned in a previous post about early instrument affecting my modern instrument, I now have noticed the reverse as well.

The past three weeks have almost entirely circled around the modern bassoon. This past Tuesday I had a concert for two elementary school classes and I played first movements from concerti by Vivaldi, Mozart and the frist two movements of “Sonatine” by Alexandre Tansman. If you know the Tansman, you’d probably understand why I basically shunned the baroque instrument for quite some time leading up to the concerts.

By the time it came for my occasional lesson with Mathieu, he noticed that I was holding the (baroque) reed quite firmly in-between my lips. He felt that I wasn’t making my instrument resonate 100% although it was playing in tune and musically. I also have noticed recently that the muscles just below my eyes feel sore after playing on the larger baroque reed. We spent most of the lesson on loosening up my embouchure and it was very helpful. You could really hear the difference between an 85% resonant bassoon and one that was resonating fully.

Interesting how about a month ago I was more concerned about the baroque bassoon affecting my modern playing but not the other way around… 

Friday, January 28, 2011

An idea for period costume

This coming Saturday I’ve been invited to a ‘50s themed party. One of my roommates, Marissa, and her friend took me out to value village (i say took me out, ‘tis not 3 minutes walk from our house) to look for costumes. I managed to find a great short-sleeved, collared shirt and suspenders for cheap and, as I left the store, I got thinking.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Does playing an historical instrument affect your modern playing?

I’ve had a funny week.
I have two bassoon teachers: Jo Ann, my modern teacher; and Mathieu, my baroque teacher. Jo Ann has recently shown some hesitation towards me taking up the baroque bassoon, and rightly so. At first she was very encouraging and was the one to get me in touch with Mathieu, but now that the baroque bassoon is taking more and more of my practice time it’s starting to invade on her territory.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How often do guest artists visit schools in your city?

For the past week, I’ve been reading The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible by Eric Booth. It`s a great book, although somewhat dense at the beginning, and I recommend every musician to take a look at it. I had to order it through Carleton`s interlibrary loan system (known as Racer) which, I might add, is a real tool.
While reading Mr. Booth’s book, I’ve been reflecting on the amount of arts learning in my elementary school curriculum. At my elementary school (Manor Park Public School, Ottawa), in the ‘90s, we would have a touring troupe or musical group perform about once a year and there was never any lead-up to the performance. What I mean to say is that before the assembly, the teachers wouldn’t tell us what we were about to see, as if it were as surprise to everyone. These performances seemed to be treated as if they were entertainment, not an opportunity for learning.
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