Former Youth Care worker Douglas Pictou is the Performing Arts teacher at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School. Last year he solely taught Mi’gmaq hand drumming to the students, and this year, he will be the music teacher from grade four to eight. Pictou has plans to update former music classes and teach them in a more modern and progressive way. Pictou said, “It’s going to be more percussion-based and projective-based as opposed to music class I grew up with.”
The brand-new classroom is equipped with many different instruments, like guitars, pianos, and drums, but will also have a variety of cultural instruments as well such as Mi’gmaq hand drums, and African rainmakers. The students will also get to learn digital aspects when it comes to music – such as MIDI boards and using various recording software.
Pictou explained his class will be very project based with exercises such as group rap projects, music video producing, and creating elements in sound. One project, in particular, will be having the students mute scenes in a film and have them find a piece of music that fits the tone and mood of the film. When it comes to his goal for the class Pictou said, “I want to encourage them to play music, expose them to different types of music as opposed to just being a listener. If they still want to be just a listener, at least they’ll know what they’re listening to.”
Pictou says that he is looking forward to building relationships with students and letting them know that the classroom is a safe environment where they can come and blow off steam, feel accepted, have fun and perhaps heal themselves through music if need be.
By Ann Marie Jacques