“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

by Sylvie Stojanovski 

When I first started working at the Coalition for Music Education in Canada —just over two months ago, I spent my free time searching for inspirational quotes about music, which I pinned around my home office as a form of encouragement. Developing quote collections every time I take on a new job or project has recently become a ritual of mine. I find that reading about the significance of different topics grounds me in the work I am about to begin, and acts as a reminder that everyone has a unique perspective. In this article, I have included some of my favourite quotes about music and music education to give you a sense of what influenced my experience as the Youth4Music Summer Intern at the Coalition. 

At the Coalition office in Scarborough, red and grey bins full of promotional materials line the walls. Three desks sit near the windows, waiting for the sunlight to pour in. The top 40 play from a small speaker on top of the filing cabinet, and static occasionally makes an appearance. 

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.”
–Claude Debussy

This is one of the many places the Coalition team meets. As a national organization, with staff and board members spread out across the country, we meet a couple times a month. Sometimes, here. Sometimes at a local library or coffee shop. Most of the time, on the phone or via video call. Work is done remotely. Ideas percolate online in email chains; texts transform into actionables; the Google calendar is filled with follow-up reminders indicated under different times. 

This is one of my favourite parts of working with the Coalition. People from across the country are remotely working together to advocate for music education. However, this also means that we rarely see everyone who is involved in the work in one room together.

“The true beauty of music is that it connects people.”
–Roy Ayers

When I first started my internship, the Coalition was just wrapping up its review of the Youth4Music program in its entirety. Youth4Music is a program by youth, for youth, through music. Over the past 6 years, it has expanded to include 9 different Youth4Music Hubs across the country, engaging with young people to plan events and talk about the importance of music education. 

As the Youth4Music Summer Student, I had a chance to provide input on the program, and share my ideas about what it could look like in the future. One idea the Coalition came up with that particularly excited me, was to create some sort of a resource guide for youth to plan and implement their own music education advocacy projects, inspired by the ideas other youth presented at the Youth4Music Symposium in Toronto earlier this year. One of my primary tasks was to help shape out different project ideas—from designing a music education fact brochure to hosting a jam session, and create an outreach plan to share these resources. 

In addition to helping develop a resource guide, I conducted research on youth music organizations across Canada, which I hope current and future Youth4Music participants will access to help build their own music education networks. In creating this database of over 150+ music organizations, I realized just how vast our country is—so many people are involved in creating musical experiences and advocating for music education. 

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Beyond having the chance to work on program development and outreach projects, one of my favourite parts of working with the Coalition was having the opportunity to work with people who are genuinely passionate about music education and are willing to share their knowledge and experiences in the arts and culture sector. Each team member I worked with became a mentor for me in some way—whether it was teaching me how to articulate feedback online, or share information visually. 

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience it is that working with passionate people makes all the difference. You don’t necessarily have to be a musician to be an advocate for music education. You just have to have a passion for music, and a desire for it to continue forever. 

“Without music, life would be a mistake”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Sylvie is a Toronto-based emerging artist, creative facilitator, and project manager who is passionate about building community through the arts. Currently, she is working towards a Bachelor’s degree with a specialist in Arts Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough.