2023 MEA Conference Catch-up with MusiCounts

November 24, 2023

The fall semester for many music teachers is marked with an annual music education conference. This special event, hosted in most provinces annually, represents a unique opportunity for music teachers to come together, learn and get inspired from each other in Canada.

MusiCounts’ very own Nick Godsoe got to join in on the fun this year and had the great pleasure of participating in music education conferences in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario.

Here's his recap of the adventure:

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British Columbia Music Educators Association Conference

October 19-21
Richmond, BC

The music education community in BC is so warm and welcoming! I was thrilled to be back for the second time attending the British Columbia Music Educators Association Conference. Even better, I was able to travel to BC with friend of MusiCounts and JUNO Award-winning artist, Taes Leavitt. Taes had previously worked with MusiCounts to develop resources and facilitate workshops that support elementary teachers in using mindfulness, movement, and music to help their students understand—and take control of—their emotions.

On day 1, Taes lead the Keynote presentation at the conference. Her talk focused on how teachers should prioritize their own well-being — an incredibly important topic which MusiCounts was proud to sponsor.

Taes’ Keynote was simultaneously vulnerable, funny, inspiring and practical, detailing teacher-focused strategies for managing stress, building resilience, and finding balance in the classroom and beyond. Ahead of delivering the Keynote, Taes even interviewed several BC music teachers to get a sense for what teachers were going through and what they needed.

“A throughline in all of these interviews was that so often, teachers feel like they need to hold it together for the kids,” Taes stated near the start of her talk. Then she asked the room of 600+ music educators, “Can anyone else here relate to feeling like that?” which was followed by a collective nod. Music teacher and conference organizer Jaymi Daniels said that the Keynote was “timely, helpful and heartwarming,” and “Taes was an excellent speaker who really got to the heart of the matter!”

On the second day, Taes offered a workshop for teachers on how they can support their students when they get “big feelings,” stemming from the MusiCounts Learn Big Heart Journey resource. After that, I presented a session all about the changes to MusiCounts School Music Funding Programs, and how teachers can go about applying for up to $20,000 in musical gear for their program.


Nova Scotia Music Educators Association Conference

October 27
Windsor, NS

When I bumped into my high school band teacher in the registration line, I knew it was going to be a great day at the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association Conference!

With the 2024 JUNO Awards in Halifax right around the corner, I presented a workshop aimed at equipping teachers with some ideas for how they can use the upcoming celebrations to get their students excited about Canadian music, artists, and industry. We talked about activities and lesson ideas aimed at helping students understand how the JUNOS function and why celebrating Canadian music matters. It’s not every day the JUNOS come to Atlantic Canada, and all the teachers in attendance were eager to find creative ways to turn Canada’s biggest night in music into an engaging learning opportunity for their students.

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Atlantic Regional Conference for Music Educators

October 28
Fredericton, NB

It was special to spend the day with many familiar faces (and some new ones, too!) in my home province at the Atlantic Regional Conference for Music Educators in Fredericton, NB.

I offered two workshops for educators at this conference. The first, titled “Building a Viable Path: Music Career Education, provided educators with the tools and knowledge needed to introduce their students to the huge scope of non-performance career options that exist in Canada’s vibrant music ecosystem. So often the discourse around music careers is restricted to being a performer or an educator, but the fact of the matter is that there are SO many career paths that are overlooked. In this session, I introduced teachers to the MusiCounts Learn TRACK resource, enabling them to easily bring conversations about non-performance careers into their existing programs right away.

The second workshop I offered was all about the changes to the MusiCounts School Music Funding Programs. It was a fun hour of ideating with teachers about how a grant from the new MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation Innovation Fund might transform what music education looks like at their school, and how teachers might turn their music class dreams like building a recording studio at their school into reality!


Ontario Music Educators Association Conference

November 2-4
Niagara Falls, ON

We capped off the 2023 conference season at the Ontario Music Educators Association Conference in Niagara Falls. The co-creators of the MusiCounts Learn #BlackMusicMatters: Hip-Hop & Social Justice in Canada resource, Dr. Darren Hamilton and Jon Corbin, offered two workshops on their resource, equipping teachers with a solid foundation on which to bring Canadian Hip-Hop into the classroom! Darren and Jon are captivating teachers, and it was inspiring to see a room full of educators get excited about bringing this genre of music into the classroom — for the first time, in many cases.

One teacher said, “With the help of Darren and Jon’s resource, I put together reading comprehension and writing activities for my students about Africville. I felt confident using this resource and presenting this material after seeing the extensive research put into it, and participating in the conversations during the workshop. Not only did this provide an opportunity to honor diversity in my classroom, but also provided an authentic way to engage students in creating their own written work in a way that they could relate to.”


It would not be possible for MusiCounts to travel to these conferences without the generous support of Aeroplan. As an Aeroplan charitable partner, we have the opportunity to serve music education communities from coast to coast through facilitating these unique professional development experiences.

On a final note, it’s remarkable that teachers make these conferences happen off the side of their desks. The amount of planning and logistics involved in bringing a conference to life is massive. The fact that music teachers, who are already extremely busy people, pull off the planning of such substantial and meaningful gatherings is inspiring, and speaks to the drive, passion and commitment that characterizes Canada’s shining music education community.

From everyone here at MusiCounts, thank you for inviting us to participate in your conferences, and we appreciate the time and energy you invest to make these events possible.