Music at CEGEPs | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Music at CEGEPs

CEGEPs (Collèges d'enseignement général et professionel) have supplanted a whole stratum of autonomous schools and colleges.

Music at CEGEPs

Introduced in the Province of Québec in the late 1960s, CEGEPs (Collèges d'enseignement général et professionel) have supplanted a whole stratum of autonomous schools and colleges (including the classical colleges) whose only common ground was their situation between the secondary level and university. CEGEPs were founded in 1967, with 12 opening their doors that year. The number increased to 23 in 1968, 30 by 1969 and 47 by 1991, to which must be added 25 private colleges and 10 institutes and conservatories.

Basic Structure

Certain basic disciplines are offered in the compulsory program in the CEGEPs. In order to undertake or complete their professional training, students select a block of such courses corresponding to their specialty. They choose additional courses reflecting their tastes and aptitudes. The duration of the program is two or three years depending on whether the student intends to attend university or enter the labour market.

CEGEPS Specializing in Music

In 1991, there were nine CEGEPs offering specialized courses in music: in Montréal the CEGEPs of St-Laurent (beginning in 1968) and Vanier (anglophone beginning in 1972); in Québec City the Ste-Foy CEGEP (1968); in the St-Maurice region the CEGEP of Trois-Rivières (1969); in Drummondville the Bourgchemin CEGEP (1971); in Le Saguenay the Alma CEGEP (1972); in the Eastern Townships the CEGEP of Sherbrooke (1972); and in the Laurentides-de Lanaudière region the CEGEPs of Joliette (1979) and Ste-Thérèse (Lionel-Groulx, 1980). Three private teaching institutions also offered specialized courses in music: the colleges of Vincent-d'Indy (École Vincent-d'Indy), Marianopolis (anglophone) and Marie-Victorin (1984) in Montréal. The Marguerite-Bourgeoys College and the École supérieure de Nicolet ceased their activities in the college division in 1984 and 1988 respectively.

Many public and private colleges offer complementary courses in music. These courses are devised for students who take music studies within the framework of a general course in arts or humanities, or for those who are pursuing studies in another field. In 1978, the Sept-Iles College began to offer the Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) in the arts.

The general orientation of the music concentration program at the college level, recommended by the pedagogical sub-committee on music as part of the 1991 program revision, is to prepare students to enter music studies at the university level. The aims of the program are: to provide the appropriate musical training to enable the student to pursue studies in the various fields of university specialization in classical music, popular music and jazz (school music, theory, performance, musicology, music therapy, research, music technology); to provide training which will enable the student to appreciate varied musical idioms and to situate the art of music in its historical, social and political perspectives; and to develop the taste and spirit for artistic research and the will to excel in one's art.

Four colleges offer a third year oriented toward popular music and jazz: Alma, Drummondville, St-Laurent and Vanier.

Music Specialization Program

The music specialization program was offered for the first time in 1968 following efforts by the Ministry of Education to democratize this area of instruction, previously the exclusive domain of private institutions and conservatories. Subsequently, music training at the collegiate level has been offered, at no cost, to all students whose preparatory training is deemed adequate. Only the quota system may restrict access. A student who specializes in music at the college level must take courses in music literature, solfège, dictation, theory and analysis, and a principal instrument. To these are added a certain number of courses chosen at the discretion of the colleges from a published list in the Cahiers de l'enseignement collégial (ensembles, music technology, etc.).

The complementary courses pursue different objectives, allowing the student to enter into contact with music through musical literature, ear training, or the playing of an instrument (preferably in a group). There is a great variety of musical activity at the collegiate level: concerts, jazz bands, chamber orchestras, concert bands, choirs, classical orchestras, contemporary music workshops, etc.

In 1989, more than 1,100 pupils were enrolled in the music concentration courses in the CEGEPs; there were some 390 teachers, 60 full-time, 80 part-time, and 250 remunerated on a per-lesson basis. From the time the Cegeps were established to May 1989 there were 4,000 music graduates.


The overall direction of musical studies in the CEGEPs and colleges has been maintained by a pedagogical subcommittee, whose members at the time of the program revision in 1990 were: Johanne Forget-Haché (Lionel-Groulx), Carmen Picard (Drummondville), Pierre-Marcel Brûlé (Joliette-de Lanaudière), Jean-Marc Crête (St-Laurent), Jacques Léveillé (Ste-Foy), Claude Parenteau, provincial coordinator (Trois-Rivières), Yves-G. Préfontaine (Marie-Victorin), and Réal Simard (Alma).

Music Festival

Each spring, one of the colleges hosts an intercollegial music festival, which brings together available teachers and students from all the CEGEPs and colleges in the network offering music concentration, for a day of planned activities. A gala concert featuring representatives from all the colleges and CEGEPs brings the day to a close.

See also: Music at Classical Colleges and Seminaries in Québec.

Further Reading