In recent years, there has been a general decline in interest in music programs at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). The consequences of COVID-19, as well as the uncertainty of the artistic community, explain this phenomenon.
The statistics confirm this downward trend: in 2016, 229 applications were processed by the University for bachelor’s degrees and majors in music, compared to 126 applications received for admission this session.
According to Steven Poirier, a member of the Music Students Association at UQAM, the pandemic would disillusion many young people with their music education, for example “ art community […] is very vague “, he says.
A report by the Union of Artists published on March 15 shows that more than 30,000 people have lost their jobs in the cultural sector after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steven Poirier also states that many students apply to other programs because a university degree in music does not guarantee success in the industry, or even a successful career.
” The government prefers salaried jobs and jobs with a future. Music doesn’t necessarily fit this slot “he emphasizes.
According to the student, the lack of interest in music among young people stems from teaching in secondary schools. Of the 54 credits required for a high school diploma, only two are related to art practice. Since art classes do not necessarily include music, the latter is often optional in the academic process.
An (almost) unique approach
UQAM offers only two music programs, a bachelor’s and a major. Although there is concentration in teaching and concentration in practice artistic (classical or popular style).) available at the university, the range of options offered is far from that found at the University of Montreal. The latter offers nearly two dozen programs for undergraduate students, including majors in composition, musicology, and jazz performance.
Despite this, UQAM remains the only university in the greater Montreal area to offer a bachelor’s degree with a music education concentration. ” There are several others [volets outre] interpretation that can be used in music says Sebastien B de Deus, a first-year music student at UQAM. Other institutions with such a concentration in teaching are Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke.
On the side of the conservatory
” This is a big responsibility rather than producing artists, musicians and musicians who will be the cultural world of tomorrow commented Marc Hervieux, lyricist and director general of the Quebec Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts. ” People need to know that they have an opportunity to get an education in their life [la musique], whether at a conservatory or university he argues.
Unlike UQAM, the network of Conservatories has not seen a sharp decline in interest in its programs. A trend that pleases Mr. Hervieux because, he says, the state of the art community after two years of the pandemic can be discouraging to many.
” We generally feel that people question themselves in a professional environmenthe argues. [Ces réflexions sont] the consequences of what we have done with the cultural sector during the pandemic. Inevitably, someone who wants to join such a career says to himself, “Maybe I’ll think about it again, maybe it’s better if I do something else.” »
Despite declining enrollment in UQAM’s music programs, Steven Poirier is optimistic about the future of the arts industry. ” In general, art is still highly valued [chez les jeunes], notes. [La jeunesse] he’s really worried about how the music will evolve. »
A research commission is operating in the university to think about the future of the department. ” Currently, the reform is underway, so that artistic practice and educational programs are changing. This is not good it will not change at all, but at least the programs will be more attractive for those who want to come to UQAM and study music Steven concludes.
Photo Note: Camille Dehaene|Montreal campus