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Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

Grade 5 Music Day and Grade 6 Dance Day–Apr. 2 and Apr. 3

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Written by DAREarts teacher Valerie Kostyniuk.

One of the really neat things that’s beginning to happen as I spend more time with DAREarts is that it’s becoming more difficult to write about a single program day without referencing others. This is a testament to how well the curriculum and leadership principles DAREarts is built around are infused into all the sessions and all the grades.

This Monday, the Spring Term Grade 5 delegates joined us for music day. It was a packed day that included a tour of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, a chance to play the Balinese Gamelan percussion set housed there, and the opportunity to learn a short song on the violin with Moshe Hammer at downtown music store Long and McQuade. One moment really stuck out for me, and for many of the kids, though.

“Anyone of you can learn to play the violin,” Moshe announced.

Most of the students did not look convinced.

“I know this because every one of you walked in here.”

Many of the student’s looked confused. (and one scream’s out “What? I mean, pardon?”)

“If you have ever watched a baby learn to walk, (or a child learn to use her wheelchair or use his communication board … my add in!) you know that the baby does not give up each time he or she falls? What does the baby do?”

“She gets back up!”

“Tries again!”

Now the students understand.

“Playing the violin is the same. If you quit each time you make a mistake, you will not learn to play, but if you keep trying every day, you will definitely learn”.

Eyes light up and everyone gets up to try.

Fast-forward to the following day. Our Grade 6 delegates join us at the National Ballet School. NBS teachers Amy and Gina lead our students through a waltz to Hedwig’s Theme from the Harry Potter movies, and, with commitment, they all learn it. Grade 6 students from the National Ballet School join us for lunch, and share that they go to school from 8:20 until 6:30 every day in order to cover all their academic subjects as well as dance. In the closing circle, our DAREarts delegates (some of whom have fallen to the floor in exhaustion) share what they have learned.

That excellence takes practice.

That if you work very very hard at something, you can achieve it.

Sounds like Grade 5 Music Day.

Sounds like these kids won’t quit when the going gets tough.

I’m very happy about that, and they look happy too.

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