Experiential Teaching Artists Program (ETAP)

ETAPIn partnership with University of Ottawa Music Department and Community Service Learning Department, OrKidstra offers a 3 credit course to undergraduate and masters level students. Since 2008, this course has offered valuable teaching experience through hands on teaching assistant placements within the OrKidstra program. In 2015/2016, 13 undergraduates are assisting our professional teachers, while benefiting from the many learning opportunities the OrKidstra program provides.

This unique partnership also covers a broad overview of music teaching philosophies, an introduction to El Sistema, and to OrKidstra Philosophy. Special emphasis is placed on pedagogy for beginning-level musicians with the focus on group teaching within inner city, culturally diverse communities.  Students are challenged to apply new concepts to their teaching activities and develop their own personal community engagement philosophies to apply to their future careers.


ETAP Experiences

“Unlike many classes I took throughout my undergraduate degree, I was able to gain real practical experience while volunteering with OrKidstra, as I worked every week as both a teacher and accompanist with the KidSinger choirs. It was a great opportunity for me to take the skills I was learning in my university pedagogy and conducting classes, and apply them in real-life situations.”

Kaley Duff, Piano/Voice


“I really enjoyed my time with the OrKidstra program. …. There is a very caring and welcoming atmosphere, and no matter how I felt coming in each week, I always left with a very positive attitude, and I expect the same can be said for the students.”

Heather Bourne, viola


“We learned about El Sistema and Dr. Abreu’s wonderful mission to teach children through the object of developing their character to rise above material poverty with the gift of music. An idea, or concept, which I admire more than any other and has changed my perception of music, of purpose within one’s life, of learning, of teaching, of society as a whole and so much more. Learning about Dr. Abreu’s vision and successful program I have also begun to understand OrKidstra to be something more than a music program. It is a growing community, a family of social rescue, which uses music to teach young children to become people of strong character that will take them wherever they wish to go. It has really broadened my horizons and is a fantastic course for all musicians to take (whether they plan to teach in the future, or not).”

Kailey Richards, violin


“I came into this program viewing Orkidstra as a program to give music lessons to children who could not otherwise afford it; however through my experience with Orkidstra and the classroom component of this course, I have come to realize that it is much more than this. The program uses music as a means of social change, using the orchestra as a model of an ideal community. They work together to create beauty, an ideal transferrable to many other aspects of life. It is not just about the child’s technical ability to play their instrument, but also about their experience and participation in the community. The program teaches important life skills that cannot be measured and that are not taught in schools. I have been lucky enough to have participated in several of Orkidstra’s concerts, where the benefits of the program are most visible. Seeing the children work together and feeling their sense of accomplishment at their performance made the benefits of the program clear to me. I worked with the same children throughout the year, and seeing their progress and accomplishments was very rewarding to me. In my opinion, the program fills a gap in the public education system, giving the children spiritual growth and a sense of community not present in public schools. Dr. Abreu stated that the worst part of poverty is not material scarcity, but “the feeling of being no one”, but that “spiritual abundance overcomes material scarcity”. There are many existing programs that combat material scarcity; however Orkidstra is different in that it brings spiritual abundance to children’s lives, giving them a sense of self-worth and belonging. In this way, Orkidstra is more than just music lessons, differentiating it from school music programs or from private lessons. It is a social program filling a need, building the community in Ottawa.”

Deanna Bourne, cello