SoundLife Scarborough (SLS) is a vibrant research centre for music and community engagement at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Our projects foster healthy communities through participatory music-making; support community partnerships and community-engaged research excellence grounded in the principle of reciprocity; and inspire participants in developing creative, flexible, and participatory approaches to music-making as a lifelong practice.

SLS currently supports research that focuses on topics such as, but not limited to: access pathways in formal and informal music education; the role of emerging technologies for music production and reception; the connections between music-making, health, and well-being; and the changing community music and music industry landscapes regionally and nationally.

Our Values

Access​

SLS programming recognizes that our community is strengthened when all are welcome. We actively live out the University of Toronto’s vision of “Making Excellence Accessible” by offering weekly drop-in in-person and online participatory programming that is free and openly available to all. SLS weekly and special events aim to create spaces of safety and well-being for UTSC and wider community engagement.

Well-being​

SLS strives to foster healthy communities through participatory music- making; and aims to strengthen social and personal well-being for all, including internal and external community members.

Flexible music-making​

SLS aims to support students in developing creative, flexible, and participatory approaches to music-making as a lifelong practice. SLS programming celebrates diverse forms of music-making.

Reciprocity​

SLS partnerships with community organizations are to be grounded in the principle of reciprocity, meaning that programming is designed in consultation with community partners, when appropriate, and that the needs and interests of community partners are prioritized when implementing community-based programming.

Community of Music Makers

Soundlife Scarborough acts as an interface for people from the campus and local communities to participate in musical activities (both on and off campus) and explore the varied relationships scholars and artists create with music. SoundLife Scarborough allows the Music & Culture program to (co-)create and (co-)facilitate participatory music-making opportunities for internal and external communities. This substantially grow curricular and co-curricular experiential learning opportunities while supporting community-engaged faculty research. It also support partnerships between community organizations and the university for music-related activities.

Two participants smiling both holding a hand drum and a mallet

Development, Implementation, and Sustainability

Music & Culture

The Music and Culture program serves the diverse needs and interests of the UTSC community while providing artistic, cultural, academic, and civic leadership to the GTA and beyond. By combining their studies with other artistic and non-artistic disciplines, students co-create, join, and enliven musical and artistic communities, with a focus on creative music-making, intellectual development, community engagement and participation, health and wellness, and arts entrepreneurship.

SoundLife Scarborough spans across the Music & Culture program’s courses, research initiatives, and student experiences. Initially, this entailed the development of pilot projects that target specific musical voids and interests within UTSC and broader Scarborough communities. Through reciprocal relationships and research around the experiences and concerns of neighbouring musicians and organizations, SoundLife Scarborough looks to maintain and co-create vibrant musical experiences that are mutually beneficial for both the Scarborough community and UTSC students.

Participant sitting and playing on the cajón
Participant playing an electric guitar singing into a microphone

Program and Values

SoundLife Scarborough is grounded in the Music & Culture program’s growing curriculum and strategically reflects the strengths of our faculty research and teaching interests.

It aligns with recent significant changes in the program and centres Music and Culture’s core values of:

  • Breaking down barriers to participation in music-making;
  • Fostering healthy communities through community music-making;
  • Social and personal well-being for students;
  • Supporting students in developing creative, flexible, and participatory approach to music-making.

Community Partnerships​

In the spirit of openness and hospitality that is central to participatory music-making itself, SoundLife Scarborough serves as a much-needed interface for people from the campus and local communities to engage in musical activities. Building upon existing partnerships between the Music and Culture program and various community organizations and stakeholders, SoundLife Scarborough further develops reciprocal relationships where students have the opportunity to shape their learning and practice through the environments and communities in which they work and learn. Partnerships may include. but are not limited to: schools, senior living centres, hospitals, community centres, community arts organizations, on-campus departments, offices, and student groups, alumni relations, and other post-secondary institutions.

If you are interested in learning more about community partnerships with SLS, please contact us at soundlife.utsc@utoronto.ca. We would love to hear from you!