Moosonee Public School (MPS) students will have more musical instruments next year thanks to a recent grant from a music education charity.
The school received $5,000 through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. This year, the charity has allocated $1 million worth of instruments, equipment, and resources to 95 schools across Canada.
At MPS, there are about 290 to 300 students. Music is taught from kindergarten to Grade 8.
The school’s music teacher Carinna Pellett said there are many instruments like drums, maracas and tambourines for primary grades but not for older students. With the grant money, she’s looking at buying about 80 new instruments including ukuleles, keyboards, a few guitars and possibly xylophones for the younger kids.
“We’re really appreciative. It was a nice surprise,” she said about receiving the grant for the first time. “The kids are very excited, too, and looking forward to those (instruments) being there for next year.”
For some time, the school didn't have a dedicated music teacher, Pellett said, and music was taught by the classroom teacher.
“Because of that, resources were distributed throughout the school and kids didn’t have as much access to a lot of instruments,” said Pellett, who was teaching different subjects before she started teaching music three years ago. It would’ve been hard to distribute the new instruments had there not been a music teacher, she said.
“This way, we’re having a dedicated music teacher, we’re able to do a lot more and get a lot more learning happening.”
Every class at school gets a music lesson once a week. Students do a lot of singing, especially up to Grade 3 or 4, do action songs, rhythm sticks and learn songs from different cultures.
“I love seeing their expressions and reactions. Some kids might not engage in other types of classes but music might reach them. I like seeing that,” Pellett said. “It can be something they look forward to, especially when we’re working online, it’s hard to engage kids. Most of them like to come out to music because it's something different, it's something active and expressive."
Some of the existing instruments at the school like ukuleles also break easily and don't hold tuning, Pellett said. She expects the new instruments to be shipped by the end of the year.
Principal Wanda Zelau said the grant will offer many incredible opportunities for the school’s students.
“I am exceedingly proud that our music program will completely benefit from their (MusiCounts) generosity,” she said in an email.
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com