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Music Education in Rural Communities

My name is Anita Prest. I’m a first year PhD student in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC. I taught general music, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Music Composition, Vocal Jazz and Music Theatre in a Grade 5-12 school in rural British Columbia (Keremeos) for 16 years. I am currently a Research Assistant for Professor Farr Darling and I’m examining the state of school music in rural British Columbia. My first step is a school district survey that includes 26 questions concerning kinds of music courses offered, percentage of students involved in music, how courses are scheduled, and professional development for teachers, and interface activities and relationships with the community.

I’m especially interested in unique forms of music making in the community and if this is reflected in school music practice. Once I’ve collected data from the 40 rural school districts and created a snapshot of school music education practice, my next step will be to find interesting patterns, unique practices, and general trends. Along with self-selected volunteers from the survey, I will embark on a study to explore these findings in more detail. I will share the resulting information from the study with colleagues in British Columbia through the BC Music Educators Association and the Coalition for Music Education. By understanding the reality of delivering music instructions to students in rural British Columbia, discovering the unique ways educators find to meet local situations, and disseminating the results of my findings, I hope in some small way to help rural students access musical opportunities that are more readily available in urban settings.

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