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Making Music at TanenbaumCHAT

Thursday, November 8, 2018

“There’s a huge crescendo that has to happen at bar 31,” cautions music teacher, Robyn Cooke as her grade 12 students ready their instruments. They’re practicing Tum Balalaika for the upcoming Chanukah Concert and it’s beginning to come together. “Here’s measure 31,” continues Robyn. “Ready – a-one, two, and…”.

TanenbaumCHAT’s music program offers academic-level instrumental and vocal courses. “Students can come into the program in grade 9 or 10, whether or not they have any previous experience,” Robyn explains. So instrumental and voice students range from complete beginners to those who may already be quite advanced musicians.

The well-rounded program includes theory, listening, and music history and appreciation. “We dive into music that the students enjoy and that they’re listening to on their own time, and there’s lots of great conversation that comes from that!” says Robyn. The program follows the Ontario Ministry curriculum with senior M-level courses that can be submitted for university admission.

The state-of-the-art, acoustic-paneled music room includes three sound-proof practice rooms with adjustable virtual acoustic environments. A recording booth features professional-level recording options – an additional enrichment opportunity for students who are interested in music production.

All music students are involved in an ensemble of some sort. The instrumental courses make up a variety of concert and jazz bands while the vocal classes come together as a large choir. Students study and perform a broad repertoire and performance opportunities abound, including a large-scale spring Music Night held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

In recent years, our music students have enjoyed field trips to perform, and to listen to professional musicians, in New York, Chicago, Boston and Montreal – where the assistant conductor of the Symphony workshopped the TanenbaumCHAT ensembles.

Says music teacher, Jaclyn Klimitz ’03, “the magic of the department happens when the students come in as individuals and grow together to make beautiful music and lifelong friends”. “There are always kids jamming at lunch, practicing for class but also working on their own stuff,” adds Robyn. “They’re making music together: it’s a very busy but very fun place to be, and through all of these music department opportunities they become a music family."

See TanenbaumCHAT musicians in:

  • Music Night 2019 - April 3rd at 7pm, Toronto Centre for the Arts