Blyth's de Souza wants to apply music to STEAM education with March Break, summer camps
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After a successful holiday crash course for on-stage music with local young people with the help of the Blyth Kids Club, world-renowned musician and relatively-new Blythite Darryn de Souza is launching his STEAM Camp over the March Break and P.A. Days in April and June.
In speaking with The Citizen, de Souza said working with the Kids Club was crucial. Still being relatively new to the area after a lifetime in the Toronto area, he and his wife Alma wanted to get to know the community and its young people before launching anything too big. With that came their own knowledge of the community, learning what was abundant here, what was missing and what they felt they could provide as two seasoned professionals with a young family, which is where the new camps come in.
STEAM, of course, is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. It’s the evolution to include arts in the age-old STEM, which has long been held as the foundation of practical education. The inclusion of the arts, for de Souza, means everything, because the arts can be a gateway to anything if you think of it that way.
De Souza’s background, of course, is in music. He has toured extensively with The Tenors and more, having been educated in the realm of music since his elementary school days. Using music as a gateway to STEAM education, he says, is the perfect marriage and it gives him an opportunity to teach the youth of the area. He has spent much of his life as a teacher, in one way or another, so to be able to bring his own brand of teaching to Blyth is truly a gift and he looks forward to sharing it with everyone.
The de Souzas have had their own relationship with education since moving to Blyth. Alma had homeschooled their younger children when the COVID-19 pandemic was disrupting the flow of in-class learning and periodic at-home learning. However, the kids are students at Hullett Central Public School in Londesborough now, but the couple hasn’t ruled out a return to homeschooling, depending on a number of factors.
It was through this personal process of their own that they landed on the concept of STEAM Camps - a way of filling in the blanks and bringing in arts and foundational education that doesn’t necessarily fit into the provincially-mandated curriculum of Ontario’s schools.
De Souza says that bringing music and the arts into the traditional STEM process takes the quality of education one level deeper, always encouraging students to ask that one further question. Why do we do it that way? How does it work?
As of right now, the camps are available for children ages six to 14. The March Break camp will run March 11-15 and the P.A. Day camps are scheduled for April 19, June 7 and June 28. However, if de Souza finds success and an enthusiastic group of children, the plan is to expand the educational opportunities to more longer-term sessions, perhaps weekly over the summer. Furthermore, over the course of the year, de Souza hopes to expand the offerings even further to include regular classes and camps, as well as traditional music classes and more music-focused STEAM classes.
The camps will be held in Blyth. The cost for the March Break camp is $259 plus HST for the week, while the daily camps are $55 plus HST each. Examples of activities listed on de Souza’s literature include: Acoustic Adventures - Singing Through the Lens of Science; Flight Lab - Mastering Paper Airplane Engineering; Melody Mingle - Kids Collaborate in Songwriting; Musical Math Bingo Extravaganza; Nature’s Melody - Crafting Soundscapes, and Sonic Science - Exploring Frequencies through Play.
It’s not hard to find the qualities within music that pertain to the pillars of STEM. De Souza says that science, technology, engineering and math are omnipresent in the world of music and it adds another layer of education that activates within artistic-minded children, teaching them some of education’s staples while also being artistic about it.
For more information, visit desouzamusic.ca, e-mail de Souza at email@example.com or call him at 647-887-9535.