Feedback from Parents

Confidence and maturity

·    “This program has done amazing things for D. He has more confidence and feels a part of a team. You are doing wonderful things and I LOVE watching them grow!”

·    “Something else that is very apparent to us since the beginning of her involvement in this program, is the astounding growth of her mental maturity. Also her confidence levels have increased dramatically along with her improving musical skills.  Playing the violin has allowed her to own a little piece of this world, something to call her own. And of that I know she is extremely proud of herself.”

·    “Confidence – this is the area that I have noted as having the biggest Improvement. I was really surprised to see the (Drumline) boys in front of the entire crowd talking about what the program has meant to them.  I think given their age and what some of them were like last year this is incredible.”

·    “M has brought her viola to school for a class discussion twice this year, and played it last year in front of her entire school for the school talent show. During the first class discussion her teacher told me that she not only broke open that self-contained shell that she sometime resides in, but that shell exploded open. M talked about her viola, she explained about the different chords, she told everyone about the difference between a violin and a viola, and she played three songs. When she was finished she said, “And if you all practice really hard, you could someday be as good as me.” For a child who struggles with confidence issues, as soon as she has her viola in her hand, she has a prop for her confidence. And that is thanks to the Harmony Project.”

Community spirit

·    “S has enjoyed the teachers and meeting other students from different schools in Sooke. The fundraising events have been a wonderful experience for the kids, learning valuable lessons on the importance of volunteering and community spirit.”

Friendship and improved school work

·    “I have noticed a huge amount of confidence in D since he started Drumline. Last year he was floundering around in school and was not doing well academically and had no friends. This year is a totally different story. He has formed wonderful friendships with the boys in Drumline and he was on the effort roll and one grade shy of the honor roll. He has thoroughly enjoyed this experience.”

·    “I have to say that Drumline has been an amazing experience and we are so fortunate to have Dr Edwards championing it with this group of students.  It is great to see a program being built and watching A and the other children develop skills, confidence and a love for music.”

·    “I’ve seen more social interaction amongst this group than last year, where they are friends outside of just the practices. I’ve seen more passion towards the music and towards the practices as they feel better in their skill sets. E looks forward to drum line and for the most part to community band as well (although on some days staying to 9 makes for just a bit too long of a day, both for him and for myself).”

·    “She is gaining confidence in herself; she is trying harder in all of her subjects, but especially reading, math and spelling. She is bringing her ideas to the attention of the class, and figuring out ways to problem solve instead of shutting down. Some of this has to do with her level of maturity, but I am crediting her growing confidence in her scholastic achievements to the Harmony Project because she has learned the very valuable lesson of practicing. She can’t expect to be good at playing a song on her viola if she hasn’t practiced it extensively, so why would she be good at reading or spelling or math if she doesn’t practice?”

Google Survey of Strings Program – April 2021
Selection from 17 respondents (parents, students, volunteers).

Why did you choose HPS?

  • Great way for our daughter to advance and meet others her age with similar musical interests
  • Curiosity, a challenge
  • This is the only strings program available in the Sooke area and our son wanted to learn Cello. Without this program, he would not have had the opportunity to learn and play cello.
  • It is the right fit for my family (close to home, reliable fees)
  • My son wanted to have the experience of playing the violin with other children.
  • Local and have funding  for low-income families. Great for kids learning. Help with Speech, etc.
  • Because I could afford the opportunity for my children. I never could otherwise.
  • Because of the group aspect
  • Because I wanted to play with string instruments and that was the only program available.

What do you like about HPS?

  • The sense of community
  • Sense of challenge and purpose. Provides a unique opportunity for kids to expand their mental ability and focus
  • I really like it because it is fun! they (the teachers) are really good at teaching because I made it to a really high level in only 2 years! I like cello because I don’t know a lot of people that play it, and it makes me feel lucky.
  • That the program is available to all children and all levels. I also appreciate that the program doesn’t feel competitive of put too much emphasis on creating master players which allows the children to thrive and learn without pressure. Also, the availability to use instruments provided by the program is so appreciated.
  • It is accessible. Many music programs are both very intense and beyond the financial means of many families, making it difficult for children to access. HPS is both financially feasible as well as providing a more low-key opportunity for children to enjoy music. I do not mean that they are not challenged, but more that they do not have to face the stress of auditions and strain for perfection before they can participate.
  • It is located (near home) and the teachers are local. Know who teaches kids. Diona is awesome!
  • The smiles on young people’s faces when they first realize that they have an original voice, and a new friend, in music.
  • That it is affordable, however, through fundraising efforts, also offers me the opportunity to volunteer and touch with various members of the community.
  • The quality of the instruction is phenomenal. The teachers go above and beyond, and they were extremely adaptable as the pandemic rolled out and persisted. This has allowed my kids to keep music in their lives in this challenging time, and it is much appreciated.
  • I like the friends that I get to make and I like the music. I like it because it helps me in school music class too.
  • The teachers are talented, fun, engaging, top notch teachers.
  • I like the fact that it is available in Sooke.
  • The teachers, the opportunity for the children to play music together. The chances to perform.

Suggestions for improvement?

  • If possible, having more practice sessions per week. Participating in more public performances.
  • Hope they will be in class meeting again
  • Be more organized, more bottle drives, more volunteer opportunities. Some people want to help raise funds!
  • Parents need to bring children to the programme who can cope with a group setting. Children who cannot behave slow everything down for everyone.
  • Do more funding!
  • I wish only that Covid hadn’t happened. The interruption it injected by having online lessons turned my son and daughter off the whole track. Granted my son is 15 and everything throws him off a track. Thanks in goodly part to Sooke Harmony Project, my son has not only recorded himself playing piano but has posted said videos to his YouTube Channel, to grandly positive feedback, which has resulted in my son posting videos of his own “how he did it’s”
  • In person group classes. It is not clear why some groups can play together but others cannot
  • If there could be more teachers to join to help with group lessons but also to continue one on one lessons with all of the children.
  • More in-person classes (if it wasn’t for Covid)

Results or changes in students:

  • Amazing personality changes from surly, unruly and angry to happy, engaged, passionate young musicians.
  • My daughter’s confidence has grown and she loves playing
  • Has helped with learning, memory, communication, social skills, everything!
  • Improvement in all aspects of learning.
  • Students in this program have gained lots of confidants (sic) in their playing and newer students especially have advanced very quickly since they are encouraged by the level of the music and those around them.
  • In my son, confidence. In my daughter, a greater sense of ability to do anything she is willing to learn.
  • Both children take pride in learning music and is has helped them build confidence and enhance their performance skills. Each child introduces the piece they will play, and this has built confidence in speaking up in a group setting and public speaking. They have also built friendships with the kids they are learning with that they might not have otherwise met.
  • My kids began Harmony at the same time that their friends began lessons and my kids are leaps and bounds ahead of the other kids who began different programs at the same time.
  • My child has grown in confidence, has learned to practice patience with others, and is developing a skill in an instrument.
  • It has helped my children to focus more

Would you recommend to others?

  • The positive changes brought about through this program has been of untold magnitude. One of the foremost benefits has been a greater sense of family cohesiveness as we all choose to be a part of this program, even if indirectly.
  • The program is accessible for all families.
  • Yes, because it puts instruments in the hands of children and allows families to enjoy the pleasure of music.
  • Yes, undoubtedly. It’s an ideal way to begin a child’s musical education. If it “sticks” and individual instruction becomes an option, there will be a lifetime of music making and companionship ahead for a child.
  • Local and affordable
  • I do, always, at every given chance, at work especially. As a Cashier Supervisor I get to “brag” about my kids at every opportunity, and I always give credit to Sooke Harmony Project and Ms. Bjorklund who really took to my son’s natural abilities.
  • Yes, 100%! This program is so unique and is such an opportunity in our small community for kids to learn orchestral music. This isn’t offered in most places, and we feel very fortunate to have such quality instruction, programming and music education in Sooke. It is so accessible to everyone in the community.
  • Absolutely, because the kids learn so much and have so much fun and have great opportunities to perform.
  • It is a wonderful program and all kids should have the option to learn to Play an instrument
  • Yes, it is a great way to be introduced to learning string instruments. The program has participants from a variety of levels, though it still manages to push everyone to become better players, without too much pressure on the students.
  • Most definitely! My kids have formed bonds with other students and enjoy/appreciate music more.

Three words to describe HPS:

  • Wonderful community builder
  • Challenging, fulfilling, long lasting effects
  • Inclusive, welcoming and encouraging.
  • Great, great
  • Child-friendly, accessible, & fun
  • Music is life!
  • I don’t need three words, only one. ESSENTIAL
  • community. enriching
  • Encouraging, Challenging, FUN
  • Door opening experience

Additional Comments:

  • Thank-you so much for all the work you all do to keep this program running for children in Sooke. The opportunity to learn strings within our own community is priceless. If this program was not available, our son would not be playing strings right now as driving him to Victoria, or Langford to participate in lessons or orchestra would not have been an option for us.
  • I would like to thank everyone for making this happen and for helping our children to improve
  • There simply needs to be a clear, and quick way to weed out those who simply use the programme to “fill in time” for children the parents cannot manage themselves at home. HPS staff should not be having to do spend so much time teaching basic manners and social skills.
  • This program is not only giving to the community but it works to ensure to future of musical presence in this community in the next generation. Given everything we have been through this last year+ , the task has only doubled in required effort and yet Sooke Harmony Project continues to try and keep spreading the music. Keep in mind, a large part of my children’s dropping out has been due to Covid as well as our rental has been sold and now our housing security is very up in the air. I truly wish they had managed to continue, but I will forever be grateful for what they have done for my children. My son has immortalized his ability online. Maybe someday we’ll get to see more than his hands on the keys.
  • This program provides an equal playing field for music students to access quality music education. Music should be for everyone, if they are interested!
  • Without this program I wouldn’t still be playing cello. It was the only one offered anywhere near where I live and it has helped me stay motivated to keep playing and attending.
  • I sincerely hope the Harmony Project can continue to grow and expand, allowing new groups of children and teachers, to start on a wonderful journey of learning together so that the benefits of a musical education can be present in their future.
  • My son specifically struggles with focusing. He is very high energy and HPS has really helped him to sit down and concentrate at not only playing music but school too. Seeing him learn how to play a song from start to finish is extremely rewarding – I see it as a Mom win!!!