Music Monday, an annual event, is getting some help from outer space this year.
Despite being part of the official curriculum for schools in Ontario, music education is becoming increasingly marginalized because of budget cuts. Music Monday, an annual initiative of the Coalition of Music Education, highlights the importance of music education for young Canadians through a simultaneous concert that reaches across the country. This year, it even reaches into space, thanks to Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield.
Music Monday, now in its ninth year, focuses on the importance of music. “We celebrate the galvanizing power of music and how that’s rooted in our schools,” said Holly Nimmons, executive director of the Coalition for Music Education.
Each year for the past nine, the coalition—in partnership with CBC Music and, this year, the Canadian Space Agency—commissions an original song by a well-known Canadian artist, and that piece becomes the official song for Music Monday. The song is available online, in various translations, and Canadians can learn it in advance of the day and create their own arrangements. On Music Monday, young Canadians perform a simultaneous concert of the song across the country.
This year’s partnership features Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. Commander Hadfield, will be participating from his post on the International Space Station.
Starting at 12 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 6, a live feed from the International Space Station will be broadcast at the Ontario Science Centrelive webcast, go to the Ontario Science Centre to participate with others who will be performing the song along with Hadfield, or learn the official song and perform along themselves at home or school.
Along with being an astronaut, Hadfield is a musician who has said that music helps him be better at his job. Nimmons hopes his partnership with Music Monday will highlight music education’s wide-ranging benefits. “Learning music is not a frill,” she said, “it’s an essential component of a well-rounded education.” There’s research that supports this notion.
Hadfield’s participation in Music Monday this year highlights the natural pairing of music and science, Nimmons said. “It’s such a remarkable way to teach other subjects.”
A quote that appeared in this article was originally mistranscribed. Holly Nimmons told us that “learning music is not a frill.” Our apologies for the error.