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Music

Music education and providing students with access to effective music programming is a priority at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Music education is an important part of a student’s school experience and we are proud of the strong music programs across our schools. 

Music is a strand in both the Elementary (Grades 1-8) and Secondary (Grades 9-12) provincially mandated Ontario Arts Curricula. Expectations within all of these arts (Dance, Drama, Music, Media Arts, Visual Arts) are framed by the creative and critical thinking processes. Music specific objectives are separated into three main strands:

  • Creating and Performing
  • Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing
  • Exploring forms and Cultural Contexts (elementary) and Foundations (secondary)  

Music Frequently Asked Questions

Music in Elementary Schools
Music is delivered to every student, in every Elementary school in the TDSB from Grade 1-8. The music curriculum is intended to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of music, as well as the ability to create and perform it, so that they will be able to find in music a lifelong source of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. (Ontario Curriculum - The Arts: Grade 1-6)

Students receive music instruction from their classroom (homeroom) teachers, or from another teacher in the school, often a Music specialist. 

Many teachers who deliver music are Music specialists, or have Music qualifications or training, but there are no special qualifications required of teachers to teach the Elementary Music curriculum in Ontario.

Each school’s music program is developed in response to students’ interest, school goals, and resources. Music classes may occur in a student’s regular classroom, or in a dedicated music room.

Music in elementary schools can take many different forms including:

  • Vocal or choir
  • Instrumental (band, strings. or steel pan)
  • Recorder
  • Ukulele or guitar
  • Technology
  • Percussion instruments like xylophones and drums
  • A combination of multiple methods

Performance
TDSB music educators value what musical performances can offer both the students and the broader school community.  They are also very committed to non-performance based learning in the music classroom including the facilitation and inclusion of student creativity and critical thinking, student voice, mental health and well-being for all, as well as practices that explore social justice in the classroom.  TDSB educators are committed to searching for ways to use music education as a anti-colonial practice.  In TDSB classrooms, festivals, concerts, resources, and partnerships all musical practices are welcome

Enrichment Opportunities with Itinerant Music Instructors
Some schools have the opportunity for students in grades 5-8 to receive instruction on band, strings, or steel pan from Itinerant Music Instructors (IMI).

Itinerant Music Instructors (IMI) are professional musicians who enrich student opportunities and instruct students on how to play instruments. IMIs are assigned to schools by the central Music department. 

TDSB Music Opportunities
The TDSB offers a variety of enhancements to the music curriculum such as music festivals, artist in the classroom projects, concerts, and camp. These opportunities include:

  • Band and Strings Festival
  • Choral Festival
  • Panfest
  • Spring Festival Concert (Gr. 4-8)
  • All-City Ensembles (Gr. 6-8)
  • Sounds of Toronto Concert (secondary)
  • New Music Works Project in partnership with Continuum New Music Ensemble
  • Community Music Artist in the Classroom Program

Professional Learning for Teachers
All TDSB Teachers can access professional learning opportunities in Music such as Exploration Classrooms and learning modules throughout the year. Opportunities are posted to the Music AW site. 

All TDSB board wide projects, festivals and concerts are embedded with professional learning, and are rich growth opportunities for teachers as well as students.

Principals can apply to the TDSB Music department to be assigned a Staff Development Itinerant Music Instructor who supports the learning of a classroom teacher through co-planning and co-instructing Grade K-6 Music lessons for one half day per week.

Partnerships
Schools are welcome to invite Artist from the TDSB Educational Partnership directory to their schools to enrich their music program with performances and/or workshops.  Partners on this directory follow a fee-for-service model.  

Students playing the recorder

Students enjoying music class

Students playing the guitar

Elementary students participating in a music lesson

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