The Sarah McLachlan School of Music has officially opened in Edmonton, hiring music teachers to work with students at Rundle Elementary School and Eastglen High School.
McLachlan says she wanted to make a significant, lasting impact, and began looking at schools cutting arts programs due to budget constraints as a way to help out kids.
“A parent will write me a letter saying my kid was headed in the wrong direction. She was hanging out with the wrong crowd, struggling. Since she’s come to the school she has turned herself around. She’s now proud of who she is — she’s getting better grades. She has great friends and she has confidence and she’s making great choices.”
McLachlan says she launched the music education outreach program in Vancouver, back in 2002.
“For me, growing up, music saved my life. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I didn’t have it in my life. I had every opportunity. I had parents who could afford private music lessons — there was lots of music in schools. And I just felt like it was an incredibly important piece for me and I wanted all kids to have that same opportunity.”
McLachlan says they did a feasibility study on all the major cities in Canada, and Edmonton was high up on the list as far as kids in need and kids at risk.
“Its grades four through twelve and we teach music fundamentals, which is singing and percussion and we have a lot of different instruments like guitars and pianos. There’s song writing, ensemble and choir. We’re just getting going so we have the music fundamentals program just to get kids interested and feature what instruments they’re wanting go into. We have semi-private lessons as well, so kids can focus on a particular instrument if they want.”
McLachlan says Sun Life Financial is donating $300,000 over the next few years to help get her music school up and running in Edmonton. (kb/td)