The people-centred OSMose Project has been active at the CSSDM’s Saint-Étienne school since the fall of 2019, with 70 students from two regular classes and three special education classes, their teachers, special education teachers, and their music therapist, Nathalie Leroux.
Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree in music therapy in 1993, Nathalie Leroux has successfully combined various work experiences in both teaching and music therapy. In addition to offering private voice and piano instruction to a range of clienteles, she works in many different settings. She has taught in music schools, conducted early musical education workshops, and directed children’s choirs in schools. For nearly 30 years, her approach to teaching has been characterized by rigour as much as it has embraced the importance of transmitting the pleasure associated with musical play.
Her training in music therapy enabled her to serve specific clienteles that traditionally have limited contact with music. For several years, she has been offering private music therapy sessions to persons with ASD, ADHD, giftedness, anxiety disorders, language disorders, dyspraxia, intellectual disabilities, and other neurodiversities. She also took part in the creation of a music therapy program in social pediatrics and has worked with clienteles with severe intellectual or multiple disabilities.
For many years, Nathalie has also practised music therapy in schools, serving students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition to striving for personal development through music, in her practice she leads integration projects in the form of musicals, theatrical plays, and audio storytelling, while working for inclusion of this clientele in regular classes. These projects have led to the creation of wonderful moments, both artistically and in terms of inclusion for everyone in the school environment. It is also in this context that she is happy to be involved in the OSM’s OSMose project.
Nathalie’s work also extends to serving as a consultant for those who engage with clients with ASD. She also offers training sessions and conferences aimed at raising awareness and providing tools to all people (teachers, professionals, parents, etc.) working with children with special needs. During these training sessions and conferences, she highlights the extraordinary impact that music can have on a child’s development.
“Music has the power to light up the faces of all children.”
Émilie Barette, dance therapist - NCDT
“Reaching out to young people through dance and music is, for me, a way to get to know them in all their uniqueness and sensitivity. Dancing with the students of St-Étienne School allowed me experience a piece of their world. Thank you for this privilege!”
“During my time with the students at Saint-Étienne School, we had fun learning about the different directives a conductor must give. The children learned the gestures that are part of conducting music at fast and slow tempos, and with loud and soft dynamics. They ended up conducting a small ensemble of OSM musicians! I very much look forward to us all being back together for the big concert at the Maison symphonique with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal!”
“Meeting with the students at St-Étienne School taught me just how responsive to music and to different sounds they are, either high or low. When I played an instrument, everyone reacted with such emotional honesty. That helped me to adjust my playing, to discover and engage with their inner worlds. I must admit that I was very touched. It was like a communion of spirits, calm and gentle. It was at that point that I witnessed the miracle that music creates. I look forward to meeting with these children again, they have so much to offer.”
“It was magical to be in the classroom with these young people living with autism spectrum difference. Each student is unique and brought me a lot of connectedness and joy. Experiencing their worlds of perception through music was very colourful and surprising! I enjoyed adapting to them and exercising flexibility. I am excited to go back!”
“I agreed to embark on this fine project known as OSMose rather spontaneously. I therefore had no expectations for the workshops I was going to give. It was in that frame of mind that I showed up for them, naturally ready to accommodate and get to know them at THEIR pace, not the pace of conventional life. Through fortunate happenstance, I was given the opportunity to discover their realities. These kind, curious young people, at times sensitive, at times enthusiastic, so full of talent!
Thank you for this wonderful adventure!”
“Introducing one’s instrument and one’s passion to students is always an enriching experience, and with the students at St-Étienne, I had the immense joy of feeling the extent to which music reached and focused them. Feeling the friction of the bow on strings, playing a string pizzicato, were some experiences that I suspect will remain for a long time in their hearts, as they will in mine.”
“The students who took part in this online activity showed great interest in learning about the flute and about music. This clearly reflects the significant impact that music can make on young people, who grow curious to hear different kinds of music and different musical instruments. They genuinely seemed to enjoy the exercise. My hope is that they will be encouraged to explore more of the world of music. I greatly enjoyed sharing such moments with these young people, because passing on a love of music is an important part of my profession.”
“Introducing percussion instruments to young people was a highly rewarding experience! I loved seeing their reactions to the different sounds and their interest in wanting to touch and try out the instruments being demonstrated. This activity captured the children’s curiosity and propelled their enthusiasm.”
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