The Coalition for Music Education (CMEC) recently hosted a national, cross- sectoral effort to establish an agenda for policy and advocacy action for music education in Canada.   Chaired by Lynn Tucker (University of Toronto Scarborough, Coalition Board member), Patrick Schmidt (Teachers College Columbia University), and Eric Favaro (Past Chair of the Coalition), the in-person National Music Education Policy Summit took place October 14 – 16 and brought together 40 representatives from various sectors for a series of working sessions where a strategic plan for action and a multi-pronged national advocacy agenda were discussed.

Included in the 40 delegates were ten participants who formed the Next Generation Shadow Summit co-chaired by Delicia Raveenthrarajan, a fourth year student at UTSC and recipient of the Governor General’s Volunteer Medal of Canada for her passions in youth mental health advocacy, international development, and music education; and Sarah Veber, a professional harpist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and in her second year at MUN School of Medicine.  Sarah is also a youth representative on the CMEC Board of Directors.

Delegates represented education, community music-making, industry, and health and well-being, and in smaller working groups they addressed targeted issues, shared information, and engaged in dialogue focused on challenges and opportunities in four distinct areas that are shaping the national music education ecosystem today:

  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility

  • Health and Well-being
  • Music Impact in Community and Society Today
  • Reimagining and Innovating Professional Practice
Unlike traditional conferences, the Summit was organized around small working sessions focused by central themes and an agenda derived from the National Music Education Virtual Forum hosted by the Coalition over four online sessions this past spring.  The series of events was attended by more than 300 delegates and was designed to gather the voices of practitioners, researchers, and leaders across all fields of practice.

The National Music Education Policy Summit is one of four key pillars of the Coalition’s Strategic Plan that stemmed from the findings of our National Study, Everything is Connected:  A Landscape of Music Education in Canada (January 2022).  Other pillars include CMEC’s Advocacy Committee, Research Advisory Board, National Leadership Forum, and several research studies currently in progress with the Coalition as a partner.

During the next few months the Summit team will summarize the discussions from the October meeting in the form of a public report toward the creation of a detailed action plan focused on the implementation of recommended actions arising from the discussions during the Summit.  In order to engage as many stakeholders as possible, we will continue to reach out to our network, particularly those who attended the Spring Symposium, and will provide opportunity for review and feedback prior to finalizing the final report and action plan.  

The Coalition for Music Education is grateful for the generous support from the NAMM Foundation for the Next Generation Shadow Summit, and from UTSC and SSHRC for the overall Policy Summit.  For more information on the Policy Summit, please contact Eric Favaro, Past Chair of the Coalition [eric@coalitioncanada.ca].