There’s Can’t Be Any Downsides to Mandatory Music Classes in School, Right? Um…

There are a gazillion studies that show that learning how to play a musical instrument can help with everything from abstract reasoning, math, physical coordination, self confidence and memory. Music lessons are one of the most beneficial things you can provide to your kid. But what if this runs up against some traditional religious values? This was a front page story in the Globe and Mail today:

When music class begins this week at Toronto’s Donwood Park elementary school, Mohammad Nouman Dasu will send a family member to collect his three young children. They will go home for an hour rather than sing and play instruments – a mandatory part of the Ontario curriculum he believes violates his Muslim faith.

The Scarborough school and the Toronto District School Board originally had offered an accommodation – suggesting students could just clap their hands in place of playing instruments or listen to acapella versions of O Canada – but not a full exemption from the class.

After a bitter three-year fight, however, Mr. Dasu felt he had no other opton but to bring his kids home.

According to documents ob-tained by The Globe and Mail, some parents insist they cannot allow their children to be in the same room where musical instruments are being played. Mr. Dasu, a Koran teacher who sometimes leads prayers at Scarborough’s Jame Abu Bakr Siddique mosque, says he has led the fight on behalf of parents. He has consulted with national Islamic bodies, and requested a letter from the leader of his mosque.

“We here believe that music is haram [forbidden]. We can neither listen to it, nor can we play a role in it,” said the mosque’s imam, Kasim Ingar.

Whoa. Interesting situation. Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “There’s Can’t Be Any Downsides to Mandatory Music Classes in School, Right? Um…

  • As a former teacher in a private Muslim school I can tell you there’s a lot of hypocrisy in that community over this. I was frowned on for bringing music in class for teaching French (I did it anyways) yet all my students loved Lil Wayne and Eminem. This prejudice some muslims have about music is a relic that will one day disappear.

  • I am a musician and a teacher but I never became a music teacher because am not into ‘band’ as in orchestras. Schools of Rock are the way to go for young and up and coming students.


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