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SURVEY: Public School Music Teachers on Upcoming Return to Classrooms

Canadian Musician recently surveyed public school music teachers across Canada to get insight into their plans and approaches for returning to the classroom this fall, including the shape of music education at their respective schools for the foreseeable future, how they've adapted lesson plans to suit new policies and parameters, and more. Here are the results:

CM: Will music education be part of the curriculum at your school when classes resume in September?

Yes - in-class instruction with all instruments 14.3%
Yes - in-class instruction with some instruments 38.1%
Yes - in-class instruction with no instruments 33.3%
Yes - at-home instruction with instruments 4.8%
Yes - at-home instruction without instruments 0%
No 9.5%

CM: If you answered yes to the previous question, in terms of the amount of time dedicated to music compared to other subjects, will music education be:

A longer part of the school day than it was pre-pandemic 0%
A similar part of the school day as it was pre-pandemic 73.7%
A shorter part of the school day than it was pre-pandemic 26.3%

CM: How do you feel about your own & your students' well-being considering the safety parameters & policies set in your area?

Very safe 4.8%
Somewhat safe 52.4%
Not very safe 19%
Very unsafe 14.3%
Not sure 9.5%

CM: To what degree have you had to adapt your lesson plans and/or curriculum to adhere to these new parameters?

Significantly 81%
Somewhat significantly 14.3%
Not very significantly 4.8%
Not at all 0%

CM: How challenging do you expect it will be to deliver your lessons in accordance with these new parameters?

Very challenging 42.9%
Somewhat challenging 52.4%
Not very challenging 4.8%
Not at all challenging 0%
Not sure 0%

CM: How optimistic are you about being able to engage students through music considering these new parameters:

Very optimistic 0%
Somewhat optimistic 66.7%
Not very optimistic 28.6%
Not at all optimistic 4.8%
Not sure 0%

Speaking Out:

CM: Have you come across or developed any interesting/creative/engaging new curriculum components or lesson ideas that you're looking forward to delivering?

"In this rapidly evolving situation, although I will see students in my K-grade four school on Sept. 8, all I know at this point is that I will be allowed to teach music and not be re-assigned as a "homeroom/ELA & Literacy" teacher. I don't know if I will be in my music room or travelling around the school with a cart. I don't know if we will be allowed to use instruments (barred, recorder, NPP, etc.), although it is unlikely unless we are meeting outdoors, which is the recommendation as much as possible. We will be allowed to sing if we are outside but, so far, not inside."
-Winnipeg, MB

"I have made individual music kits for students to keep in their desk - includes beat sheet, rhythm cards, some dowels, scarves, and egg shakers."
-Peterborough Area, ON

"I am disappointed at our school board that Music for elementary students is on 'pause.' I was using Musicplay online with good interest from students (K-6) and was hoping to continue using their resources in September."
-Ottawa Area, ON

"Without students being able to sing or play wind instruments, engagement will be very difficult. I'm looking forward to connecting music/musicians to social change over the years and to how music brings awareness to issues, and comfort and peace as well."
-North York, ON

Author image
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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