My name is David Gueulette, I am the Head of Music at Ashbury College in Ottawa, and I am here today on behalf of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association and the Ontario Music Educators’ Association. These two organizations are the professional voice for elementary, secondary, and post secondary music educators in the province of Ontario and across Canada. Through our publications, workshops, conferences, websites and online resources, we provide leadership in establishing and maintaining high standards of school music across the country. We believe that every student is entitled to a quality music education taught by a certified, professional music educator.
Music education is about so much more than just teaching someone to sing or play an instrument. We teach the skills that young people will need in today’s rapidly changing world including cooperation, creativity, collaboration, responsibility, self confidence, and perseverance.
Unlike most other subject areas, it is not uncommon for a student to see only one music teacher during the course of his or her high school career, meaning that we tend to form a stronger bond with our students and, as such, can have a greater impact on whom they become. I chose to become a music teacher because I was captivated by the passion and dedication of my Junior High School music teacher, and over the past twenty years several of my students have also chosen to go into the teaching profession. Of course, the majority of our students go on to become doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, engineers, and yes, even astronauts. But as Commander Hatfield has so marvelously demonstrated over the past few months, many of them continue to make music an important part of their lives. A few years ago, I was playing in a community orchestra and on the program was Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, which is an extraordinarily demanding work. The guest soloist was a local heart surgeon, who also happened to be an amazing concert pianist. I remember thinking that if I ever needed heart surgery, this was the doctor I wanted, because anyone who had the fingers to navigate around a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, would have no difficulty finding their way around something as simple as the human heart.
CMEA and OMEA would like to congratulate the Coalition for doing such an outstanding job of bringing the country together to celebrate music education, not just today, but many times over the past twenty years. Music Monday and other Coalition initiatives serve as galvanizing events that continually reinforce the importance of music in our lives, and on behalf of our more 2200 members I would like to thank the Coalition for everything they do for Music Education here in Ontario and across Canada.