First People’s Principles of Learning in the Music Classroom

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As we dive into applying the nine First Peoples Principles of Learning across the curriculum in BC, many Music teachers struggle more than most, as they try to respect the ninth principle. Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and/or in certain situations. During this workshop we will explore the many ways in which we naturally apply the principles of learning when we engage in the Orff approach to music education. We will use materials that respect and address the nine principles, including authentic First Nations music and activities that can be used by music teachers. Participants will come away with a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of good Orff teaching and the First Peoples Principles of Learning. They will also have materials that they can use to deepen their students’ experience with local First Nations music that honours the ninth principle.

Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019 – 9:30am to 3:00pm

Queen Elizabeth Elementary
921 Salter Street, New Westminster
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Russell Wallace

Russell Wallace is a composer, producer and traditional singer from the Lil’wat Nation in B.C. His music has been part of a number of soundtracks (film and television) and theatre/dance productions across Canada. Most recently Wallace received a Leo Award for Best Musical Score for a documentary series, “1491: The Untold History of the Americas Before Columbus”.

He was the composer in residence for the Chinook Winds Aboriginal Dance program from 1996-2003 at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Commissions include: the formation of Nunavut Gala in 1999, the Vancouver Peace Conference in 2004 which hosted the Dalai Lama and other international dignitaries, and various chamber ensembles and choirs. He has produced CDs that have been nominated for awards at the Junos, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and at the Native American Music Awards in the USA. Currently Wallace works and teaches at the Native Education College, Simon Fraser University, and Capilano University.

Wenonah Justin

Wenonah Justin (B.A. Psychology) is from the Nlaka’pumux and Cree Nations. She works with the Abbotsford School District as an Aboriginal Cultural Support worker where she weaves cultural knowledge, dynamic storytelling, and traditional songs into a wide variety of relevant school curriculum topics. Her background in formal classical piano training completing Level 8 Theory and Practical alongside Advanced Rudiments in Piano, violin training, and participation in a youth group choir make her a highly sought after presenter. In 2001, Wenonah learned Coast Salish songs from Elder Flora Wallace and her son Russell Wallace of the Lil’wat nation. She hasn’t’ stopped singing since. Under the direction of Russell Wallace (producer, traditional  singer, and teacher) they became the Tiqilip Community Singers, based in Vancouver at the Native Education College (NEC). From this collaboration, in 2010, Tiqilap’s CD “Where the People Gather” was born and was nationally distributed. In the pursuit of helping herself and others reclaim a culture that was denied to them, Tiqilip reaches out to other cultural music communities in Vancouver to share, collaborate and to celebrate intercultural music. One such collaboration occurred in May 2016, when Wenonah shared Tiqilips songs and sang with the Richmond Singers and Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir “In the Key of Eh” Songs of Canada Concert. A decade long collaboration with the Sawagi Taiko Japanese Drum Group led to Wenonah becoming Sawagi Taiko’s first Indigenous member further fulfilling her love of music. In Abbotsford, Wenonah continues to teach Tiqilips songs to hundreds of elementary students in small groups and full classes. Students have performed these songs at many assemblies and school events. She is passionate about sharing her culture through music, active movement and storytelling, and feels empowered hearing young children singing their Salish songs.