We support the emotional and intellectual needs of our students with positive social dynamics, as early in their life as possible. Music is the means. They learn a host of skills that will build the resiliency and strength needed to overcome socio-economic and other barriers. Through music they begin to see their way to a better future.
- Increased self-confidence
- Learn healthy social interactions, such as teamwork, gratitude and sharing, respect of the other, and mutual praise
- Improve their academic, cognitive, and fine motor skills
- Deepen culturally by enjoying classical music and choir, often out of reach of the disadvantaged child
- Become role models to their peers and families
The Core Afterschool Programs
SJMA’s Afterschool Programs include the Junior and Senior divisions, a distinction of age and not ability. Both programs have largely the same structure and curricula. These include:
- Transportation: to, and sometimes from, public school to the Academy
- Music Theory and Musicianship: Kodaly, Orff, Theory and Musicianship classes are used to teach all children to read and understand basic concepts in music
- Instrument Instruction: All children learn one of fourteen classical instruments in small groups.
- Vocal Instruction: All children are encouraged to participate in one of our 4 choirs
- Collaborative Music: All children participate in either orchestra, choir, or ensembles
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The Nutrition Program
At SJMA we discovered early that children are better students when fed. We begin every day in our after school program with a healthy, fresh and lively light meal for all children, which in some cases will be their best meal of the day. Healthy food is integral to supporting children’s learning, and so we choose foods that provide vital nutrients for optimum physical and mental health.
The Music Therapy Program
SJMA has made its program accessible to the often most marginalized of children, those suffering from trauma, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and behavioural or learning challenges. Specialized one-on-one music therapy is offered to these children by qualified Music Therapists.
The Public School Outreach Program
An absence of music education in DTES public schools was the reason for SJMA’s own founding. In 2010 we began to offer music classes to local schools once-weekly, at no cost to the school. Outreach Programs are now offered in four elementary schools and one preschool.
Summer Music Camps
We want to keep our children’s minds and hearts in music, even during those great days of summer! Food, fun and music education is available for three weeks to sixty children every year.
Recognizing the social phenomenon that a child’s peers often have greater influence than any adult, SJMA has begun a program where advanced students may become mentors to younger children. Students selected for the program become personal guides and role models, assist new students, and provide classroom support, including at times actual music instruction.
Children showcase their talents in public concerts that include instrumentalists, ensembles, orchestra, and rousing choral presentations. Concerts are consistently ‘standing room only’, as parents and family, friends and supporters, the media, and others in our community share in the thrill of what our children have achieved.