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F i n a l E x a m 76 Professionally Speaking | September 2016 Describe your school-aged self. Sporty and music-y. What was your favourite subject? Music was always my favourite class. I had exceptional music teachers from K to Grade 12. Your most challenging subject? I was pretty bad at Home Ec (back when we used to call it that). Particularly reading sewing patterns — that was too excruciating for my right and left brain to reconcile the directions with the actions! Favourite literary pieces studied? Singing Alex Tilley's famous compos- ition of "In Flander's Fields" with my high school choir, and Alex (our music teacher) conducting. That poem and the incredible volume of poetry created by soldiers during W WI came back into my life during my recent stint in the Toronto production of War Horse. Who are your favourite writers? I love L. M. Montgomery and I love seeing Maritime life through her eyes. I do think that as much as she has been a highly celebrated figure over here, she is sometimes underestimated in her overall cultural and literary significance. as a student, what career path did you dream of following? I had big dreams of performing but my real plan was to become a music teacher. My studies, however, were interrupted when I was cast in my first professional show at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. Subject you struggled with? Definitely reading. My Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. Bower, was somehow able to unlock it all for me and that is something I'll always be grateful for. From Grade 3 on I was a confident student thanks to her. What was the last book you read? Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? . . . A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf. I have two children, aged 12 and 14. What are you currently reading? USchool, Building Your Ukulele Program by Suzanne Doane [her sister]. How did your education shape your role as a music educator? I grew up at a wonderful time. My dad was the supervisor of music for Halifax School Board and had created an incred- ibly successful city-wide music program. I learned from him, my amazing music teachers, the experience of being in top music groups with my friends, making albums and touring the country while still in school. If I can give my students a taste of how good I had it, I will be happy. PS pHoto: courtESY oF mElaniE DoanE tHE tunESmitH Singer Melanie Doane shares how her education took her from the top of the charts to the front of the classroom. BY laura BicklE NAME: Melanie Doane • Born December 19, 1967, in Halifax • Her father, J. Chalmers Doane, championed the use of the ukulele for music instruction in Canadian classrooms during the '70s and '80s; he received the Order of Canada in 2005 for his leadership in education • Attended John W. MacLeod Elementary School and Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax • Studied music at Dalhousie University, with the intention of becoming a music teacher • Moved to Toronto in 1988 to pursue a theatre career, while also writing music • Released Adam's Rib in 1998, resulting in four Top 40 singles in Canada; has produced five albums; her single "Up to the Light" came out last September • Won a Juno for Best New Solo Artist in 1999 • Has toured with Great Big Sea, Jann Arden and Sarah McLachlan's "Lilith Fair" • Launched Doane Uschool (uschool.ca) in 2009; the music education program serves over 500 students weekly in Toronto elementary schools and is based on her father's 1960s Ukulele in the Classroom program • Joined the Toronto cast of the Tony Award-winning play War Horse in 2012 • Uschool students performed with astronaut Chris Hadfield via satellite in May 2013 • Received a donation of $100,000 in 2015 to expand the Uschool program

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