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P.E.I. government buying $300,000 worth of musical instruments for schools

Grade 6 students Kayla MacDonald, left, and Jaxsen Carragher display some of Stratford Elementary School’s instruments like the ones that will soon be rolling out across the province as part of a $300,000 purchase.
Grade 6 students Kayla MacDonald, left, and Jaxsen Carragher display some of Stratford Elementary School’s instruments like the ones that will soon be rolling out across the province as part of a $300,000 purchase. - Ryan Ross

STRATFORD - Kayla MacDonald knows what it would be like if she didn’t have music at school.

“School wouldn’t be that much fun,” she said.

Going without music is something students like Kayla won’t have to worry about anytime soon thanks to a $300,000 purchase the province recently made.

That money is going to buy more than 3,000 instruments to ensure students across the province have the same opportunities when it comes to music classes.

Kayla, a Grade 6 student at Stratford Elementary School, said she plays a few instruments, including the ukulele, a little guitar and a bit of piano.

She thinks Island schools getting so many new instruments is a good thing.

“I love music,” she said.

The new curriculum will start in kindergarten classes in the coming school year in what the Education Department says combines music, movement, drama and speech.

There are 19 different types of instruments going to schools, such as electric guitars, full drum kits, ukuleles, recorders, rhythm sticks and maracas.

Ellen Davis, a music teacher at Stratford Elementary, was involved in developing the new curriculum.

“It’s going to kind of present more of an even keel, I think, with all the schools across the Island,” she said.

Davis said some schools, like Stratford Elementary, already had some instruments so the new purchases will supplement what is already there.

Other schools will be getting brand new instruments they never had before, like guitars and drum kits.

Davis said the overall benefit she sees in music education is what she calls the creative process with children enjoying experimenting and knowing there is no real right or wrong.

“Sometimes perfection can miss the mark because there’s so much you learn in experimenting,” she said.

The instruments will also give children the opportunity to develop “soft skills” like critical thinking, evaluating what they’re doing and working with others, Davis said.

“That means a lot.”

Davis said with the purchase every school will be getting the same packet of instruments.

“There’s going to be lots of exciting moments when these packages are delivered to the schools.”

What the province bought:

- 675 rhythm sticks

- 450 recorders

- 450 mini maracas

- 225 egg shakers

- 225 large maracas

- 135 hand drums

- 135 glockenspiels

- 135 triangles

- 117 ukuleles

- 90 claves

- 90 tambourines

- 45 cow bells

- 45 thundertone drums

- 45 gathering drums

- 45 metallophones

- 45 mallets

- 39 electric guitars

- 39 electric bass guitars

- 39 full drum kits

Ryan.ross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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