An award program that provides Canadian high school graduates with up to $100,000 toward their undergraduate education has helped dozens of U of T students earn their degree and pursue their dreams since its inception more than a quarter-century ago. The Loran Scholarship, awarded annually to students demonstrating “character, service and leadership,” allowed Meghan Moore (BMus and BSc 2003 Trinity), for example, to combine two of her passions – music and cognitive science – and eventually land a job helping The Royal Conservatory sing an innovative and exciting new tune about music education.
Upon joining the conservatory as director in August 2013, Moore began working on the Music Enrichment Program, an approach that combines traditional aspects of theory, practice and assessments with complementary courses in areas such as composition, improvisation, percussion, ensemble play and choir.
“We’re trying to add to students’ musical experience with integrated programming, which helps build their competence and creativity,” Moore says.
Music has always been important to Moore, who has been singing in choirs almost her whole life, including for the last nine years in the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. She says music has helped her strengthen her creativity, memory and attention span, and those benefits got her interested in music cognition – how music affects the brain.
In fall 2015, U of T will welcome four of this year’s 30 Loran Scholars: Anthony Hope and Joanne Banh from BC, Hannah Lank from Manitoba and Darcy Taylor from Newfoundland.
When she applied to U of T, she received tremendous support for her studies through a Loran Scholarship, which is granted to 30 Canadian high school graduates each year. The students receive a stipend, mentorship, access to special workshops and free tuition at one of the organization’s 25 partner universities, such as U of T.
For Moore, the scholarship also helped her to expand her learning beyond what typically occurs in undergraduate education by providing funding for her to conduct music cognition research with academics in Canada and the U.S.
“The Loran Award encourages scholars to do things outside of their comfort zone, so that they may learn, build their confidence and take some risks,” says Franca Gucciardi, executive director and CEO of the Loran Scholars Foundation.
After graduating from U of T, Moore worked for the Hart House choir, completed an MBA at York University, then began working in a variety of arts-related roles in Toronto’s culture sector.
Last July, she became the conservatory’s vice-president of strategic initiatives. One of her primary projects has been to make the conservatory’s early childhood music curriculum available digitally, a task she continues to handle since taking time off recently for her newest project, her infant son.
“One of the best ways in which the Loran Scholarship has supported me both throughout my undergraduate career and beyond,” Moore says, “is by instilling in me the courage and fortitude to take risks and be bold with my decisions.”