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Ottawa Children's Choir - "Musical Education for Young Singers"

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Guest post by the Ottawa Children's Choir (OCC)

The Ottawa Children's Choir (known as the OCC) is devoted to artistic excellence, community connection and, above all, the joy of singing. The OCC offers an instructional choral program for children from senior kindergarten through grade 12 that includes musical training, rehearsals, performances, educational outreach, mentoring and social activities. Choristers sing in a variety of styles, languages and levels of difficulty, with emphasis on Canadian compositions. 


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The mandate of the Ottawa Children’s Choir (OCC) is to encourage the joy of singing and community connection. The OCC’s focus on artistic excellence empowers hundreds of children in contemporary and classical choral singing. While this is important from an artistic perspective,  it is also important from an emotional growth perspective - choral singing is a way of connecting with ourselves, each other and our community.

The past two years saw unprecedented challenges wrought by the global pandemic. Arts education, including choral music, was confronted with incredible obstacles. Singing was considered a high-risk activity due to the possible transmission of viruses, and the social distancing required to mitigate the risk had repercussions on community cohesion.

Arts programming and education - so critically important in recovery efforts related to the effects of isolation - became more difficult to access. Many of our organizations recognized the importance of taking a flexible approach in teaching and experiencing music. The OCC also saw just how essential arts programming and education is to children’s overall well-being and mental health.

As a result, the OCC made a commitment to expand its efforts in order to reach as many children as possible, and created a choral music education program that would be accessible and relevant to all children with an interest in choral singing. The “Musical Education for Young Singers” program was possible with a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.

The program involves a series of ten videos, geared towards children 6-9 years of age, for a total of 30 minutes of virtual and asynchronous programming, to share the joy of singing with all children across Ottawa, Ontario and beyond! 
 

“Musical Education for Young Singers” can be accessed here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_WgVaAsJHAQ1Go88vsRukbQNFXg3UVaH
 

The videos in the program are short, fun, and engaging. They were prepared by 4 choral experts: Jennifer Berntson, Deirdre Kellerman, Andrew Hon, Sosun Su, who recognize that choral music training involves more than singing. Teaching about the choral world includes total musical engagement, so the videos include a singing series, a composer series and an instrument introduction series. 

The videos answer questions such as:

  • How does the body make sound?
  • What is a choir?
  • What styles of music can we sing?

Children can watch the videos at their own pace and as many times as they like. The project aims to reach as many children as possible, including those with little to no prior musical education and those who may not have the opportunity for continued exposure to musical education. The program will be shared with schools, libraries, arts organizations and beyond.

 

The OCC hopes this program will be the first of many, and that it will foster respect and appreciation for choral music, while sparking curiosity and joy!

 

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If you would like to submit a blog post, please send it to [email protected]. It must be relevant to the choral and group singing arts sector and community in Canada, timely, national or international in scope, and the authors shall avoid any significant self-promotion or the promotion of a company, product, or performing arts organization in which they have vested interests. Authors must provide a short biography. A high resolution picture of the author is highly encouraged and appreciated. Authors may also include images with their blog. Captions and photo credit are required. High quality images only.

 

Banner: Ullugiaga╠étsuk Choir at ...float... 2018. Photo: Ritche Perez