Ellen Vollebregt is a piano player, business student at Ottawa University and works for the Ottawa Conservatory of Music as a teacher.
She is currently helping organize a Youth4Music roundtable in Ottawa on March 26th.
Here’s what Ellen has to say about the role music has played in her life:
Music, an International Language.
Music has the potential to impact us all. Whether you learn a musical instrument, teach someone else the elements of music or just simply hear a song on the radio that moves you it can affect you. For me, music has always been one of the most important areas of my life. Music being a universal language is one of the only ways some people can communicate. Someone can learn to play the same piano sonata in Canada, China or France. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about music and music education.
At the age of five, I began to learn the basics of music and took weekly piano lessons. I started to compete, take exams through the Royal Conservatory of Music and then when I was fourteen I started to teach and coach piano. Through my music studies, I became a more diligent, motivated and determined young adult. Now, as a student at the University of Ottawa, I believe some of my greatest skills developed because of my music education.
My greatest experience, where I saw the power of music as a universal language, was when I was in China in 2012. I taught at a local elementary school where the Grade 6 students did not even speak basic English. It was very hard to connect individually with the students. However, when I performed on the piano in one of the classrooms, there was an instant connection as they recalled hearing some of the pieces before. This showed me how much I truly valued my music education from Canada.
One other way where music can really connect with people is to raise awareness about global issues. When I was in high school, I organized a benefit concert with some of the best talent in Brantford, Ontario. I was passionate about education in developing countries, so I thought the best way to encourage donations and raise awareness was through a concert. This concert called Music For The Children helped to support local talent as well as to bring the community together to raise awareness about global issues abroad. Monies raised went directly to an African orphanage to help build a classroom.
Now as a business student, I often reflect on the importance of my music education and I will never regret the work I put into it. The years of studying music taught me the value of music, music education for young children and how to use the power of music for the better of society. Music education is never a waste and has incredible potential anywhere in the world.