On the first Monday in May each year, schools across Canada celebrate the impact of music and music education with Music Monday. To mark the occasion, CBC Music invited several prominent Canadian musicians across a variety of genres to pen a letter to a music teacher who has greatly influenced their career. Then, when possible, we spoke to the teacher about the letter.
R&B/soul star Jully Black responded to our request with this letter to her teacher, Mr. Roy Greaves.
One doesn't decide to wake up and take a bus, a train and a street car for just anybody, especially not as a teenager! Being one of the many students that Mr. Roy Greaves taught at Oakwood Collegiate Institute throughout his 27-plus year career was, and still is, a huge blessing and a highlight of my life. I owe so much of the Jully Black I became to his style of teaching and loving his students.
I remember when I auditioned for him for the chamber music program. I really thought I would have easily been chosen based on my "natural gift" and "church background," when little did I know Mr. Greaves wasn't about to praise Miss Jully Black "just because." He sternly let me know I had "work to do" and "if" I was going to do even remotely well in his class, I had to achieve close to perfect grades in his class, especially because of my lack of knowledge in the areas of music history, theory and more! Little did I know that was the perfect gift and exactly what I needed at that point in my life.
Growing up without a father in the household, Mr. Greaves became the male figure that my heart had been desiring for so many years. He was the one person, along with my mother, who I looked to make proud everyday!
To this day I'm not sure he truly knows the positive impact he's had on my life. I definitely know in high school he had no idea the love and respect I had for him because as a teen your hormones ruled!
Needless to say, I passed with flying colours and he even had me singing in German by the end of the year!
Mr. Roy Greaves will always be my hero!
Listen The CBC's David Carroll spoke with Roy Greaves about Jully Black, and got this reaction.
You can read more letters and responses at our Music Monday page. And let us know if and how you plan to make music part of your day on Monday, May 7.
Q&A: Jully Black
Letter to my teacher: Royal Wood (with response from his secondary school teacher, Rob Roy)
Letter to my teacher: Cadence Weapon (with response from his music mentor/uncle, Brett Miles)
Letter to my teacher: Sarah Slean (with response from her teacher, Juno-winner Christina Petrowska Quilico of York University)
Music Monday: coalition for music education
Music Monday with Luke Doucet
on May 03, 2012