Chinook Park School Creates Community Through Music

Jul. 05, 2016

​The music was heard from over a block away as parents, students, and community members joined Chinook Park School in June to cap off a year-long celebration of sound and the school’s “Project Engage: Living our Lives for a Sustainable Future.” The event included pop up performances, a street festival vibe and exploration of a new sound sculpture built entirely from recycled metal materials.

The objective of Project Engage is to link school and community together to care for our local environment through creativity and innovation. Last September, Chinook Park School launched a metal recycling program in collaboration with Henry Wise Wood School and the local community association. Since September, over 7,500 pounds of metal has been diverted from the landfill, some of which was used to create the interactive musical park.

The school worked with Chris Sandvoss, a luthier and artist-in-residence, to design and built the sound sculpture. To reinforce music’s connection with math and science and to document our learning process, the National Music Centre was also involved. CBE specialist Erin Quinn guided teachers and students through the design process. We collaborated to create authentic, meaningful learning opportunities that placed community and sustainability at the centre of the students’ learning.

Every student in the school found a place in this project, and all students had a hand in the sound sculpture’s design.

Kindergarten students colour-coded the pentatonic scale so music played on the sculpture would harmonize, and designed musical patterns within it. 

  • Grade 1 students tested different materials and made recommendations about the sculpture’s construction. 
  • Grade 2 students experimented with how the viscosity of a liquid could change a sound and created water drums. 
  • Grade 3 and 4 students prototyped instruments and tested their scientific hypotheses. 
  • Grade 5 and 6 students listened to weather and replicated the sounds they heard in rain and thunder.

Chris honoured the creative ideas from students and let the students’ prototyping inform the design of the sculpture, taking their ideas away to his workshop to weld together the final design. 
The sound sculpture is located in the school courtyard and will be available for Chinook Park students to enjoy for many years to come.