A sweeter sounding future

Education | April 9, 2015

Parkdale School in Toronto plays to a different tune. They teach and inspire our children to live a more positive life through music.

We believe music enables young people to speak a universal language that transcends the limitations of poverty, broken homes and closed doors. It educates the youth of today in collaboration, dedication and problemsolving. This is why we support the work the Regent Park School of Music is doing in Parkdale. They are giving children, as young as five, the space to learn the value of impact, expression, communication and their own voice in a very loud world. Thanks to this project and local efforts, we are not only acknowledging the voice of children and youth, but we can now turn up the volume.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”

Victor Hugo

The Regent Park School of Music’s work is hinged on the back of individuals who are excited about music, education and young people. The school was founded 15 years ago by a group of individuals teaching 71 children in the basement of a church. They believe music is all about people, and they will soon be supporting around 1,300 children across the city. But, for them it’s never about the numbers, it’s about one-on-one education. We work hard with them, so that they will never have to shut a door on a child. The $44,000 that our Greater Toronto Area Community Board has contributed over the past six years has ensured the door not only remains open, but that they could also build a second school in Parkdale.

“It’s 100s of voices coming together to raise the voices of children”

Richard Marsella

Director Regent Park School of Music

Parkdale School is just three years old, but the evidence of success greets you the minute you walk in. We have been told about Michelle, a young girl who joined the program at five years old and is now a thriving eight year old who’s naturally adopted a role of leadership. We hope to see more young children like Michelle go through the evolution and watch their ensembles become a second family.

“A five-year old can lap me on an iPad”

Richard Marsella

Director, Regent Park School of Music

This program is particularly endearing to us because it incorporates innovative technology to educate and help youth grow and express themselves. One of the original graduates of Regent Park auditioned for a program at Berkley with his laptop as a musical instrument. Now he is teaching and engaging our youth of tomorrow. The development of technology has played a vital role in improving the collaborative music programs this school offers. It has given children with learning difficulties a head start. The empowerment this technology instills in the children is astounding. The future of music and technology might be daunting to many of us, but it’s liberating for these young people. They have already connected with musicians like Pharrel Williams and Roger Waters thanks to technology, Parkdale and the Regent Park School of Music.

Our hopes are high for this program as it moves towards targeting and educating more children, making a bigger impression and playing a leadership role in other communities. We are proud to help this school take the first couple of steps toward planning and implementing a sustainable future. From what we can tell, they call themselves ‘a second family’, but they care just as much as a first one.