Music education in Ontario was primarily vocal based during the mid twentieth century and slowly evolved, through "experimental classes", into both vocal and instrumental music. In the 1950s, curriculum documents for music were generally very vague, especially when compared to other disciplines such as math or English. As time progressed they did improve slightly, becoming more detailed and providing teachers with course aims and objectives, including some implementation strategies and techniques. As documents progressed over the years, they began to reflect changes in society. Music polices, and indeed education policies in general, recognized an evolving multicultural populace by incorporating pictures of music students from various ethnic backgrounds (early 1980s). Previously, especially in the middle half of the twentieth century, written text occupied most, if not all, of the curriculum document, excluding photographs and visuals. Therefore, the physical nature of government documents have changed over time. As well as recognizing the multicultural nature of our society, more recent music curriculum documents (1990 and 1998) acknowledge issues such as sex equity, racial and ethnocultural equity, exceptional students, values and education, and computers in music. The curriculum has become more inclusive to our changing communities. Government policies and documents, however, are ineffective if teachers do not implement the curriculum. Therefore, teacher focus is a key factor to policy and curriculum implementation. More will be said about the above in the "Music Curriculum" link.
We would encourage other proponents of music education and indeed the arts, to pursue this topic further. Music education is constantly fighting for its rightful place under the umbrella of education. Although written in 1951, Roy Fenwick's assertion is still valid today:
There has probably never been a time in history when music was more needed than at the present. In these days of uncertainty, suspicion, and bewilderment, our schools must develop a future generation able to face a changing world with unembittered minds.
William Shakespeare's character Lorenzo, from the Merchant of Venice also expresses his view about music:
The man that hath not music in himself,
Nor is moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I