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Plans are for 40 students during the four-year program, which is scheduled to start in January of next year. Winston, Jan Deiter, who is presently teaching under the department, and other Indian instructors will be giving most of the instruction. Students will be encouraged to use their own ideas and creativity whenever possible.
Cree language will be used in the course to introduce rhythm to the students. As Winston says, "During this course, a music appreciation content will be introduced which will deal mainly with the appreciation of Indian music and the difference between our music and that of the European's." The difference are many and Winston cited a main one. "We are not so interested in how music is written or the mechanics, but we are interested in the meaning of our music."
After completing the course, the students will be qualified to teach on their reserve or community or if they desire, continue their music education. In the course, the students will be taught proficiency in the use of one instrument. With trends in Indian education towards meaningful Indian content in school curriculum, the students should have no problems securing employment upon. completion of the course. Indian music, art, language and other cultural aspects are fast becoming a requirement in schools where Indian parents are involved.
Winston feels children will be interested in learning about Indian music. "For too long, we have experienced such a demoralizing put-down on all aspects of our rich culture, children will want to learn the positive and true history of their ancestors. We did not write the past history books, but we are now prepared to write and make our new history."
Winston feels a new approach to learning music will be well-received by the students. "By using an already compiled course with improvisions, we will make the program a fun learning experience rather than the traditional force-feeding programs schools have used in the past when teaching music. Children have a natural appreciation of music and should be allowed to explore and develop their interests. When questioned about further music department developments, Winston said he is still available to visit schools. His visits have been primarily story-telling and singing. He welcomes these requests as he feels he helps in a small way to educate others about Indian people. He also finds Indian children pleased to have Indian entertainment.
Winston was quite excited about a group of children from Ministikwan Indian Day School near Loon Lake, who will appear on CKSA Television (Lloydminster) on November 15. He referred to the students as the "singingest" group of children he has heard. The Ministikwan school children will be singing about ten songs during the half-hour show.