Banding Together for Music Education

November 3, 2021

Individuals and organizations across Canada share MusiCounts’ belief that music adds possibilities for youth. Here’s how they’re getting involved and making a difference.


Busking for Change

Sam Grant, a high school student in Ottawa, ON, took to the streets to share his love of music and to help raise funds for music education. He strapped his guitar on his back and headed out to the historic Byward Market to busk for change and draw attention to the chronic underfunding of music programs across the country.

“Music class is a place where people with different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences can come together and cooperatively work together to create something amazing,” said the teen. “It's a place where it doesn't matter what you look like or where you're from, all that matters is that you're there to work as a team. Music in general has been such a large part of my life, and I am extremely fortunate for getting the chance to engage in it with so many other people so often.”

Not only did Sam raise an impressive chunk of change to help other Canadian kids access music education, he also completed his volunteer hours for school! Way to go, Sam!

Great Food Meets Great Music

An East Coast tradition has become a nationwide philanthropic phenomenon thanks to Canada’s Great Kitchen Party (CGKP), led by Karen Blair, who knew that the ultimate combination of great food and great music could help raise funds and awareness for great causes. For over 15 years, CGKP has hosted exciting culinary competitions with some of Canada’s top chefs and showcased some of Canada’s finest performers, including Barenaked Ladies, Jim Cuddy, Tom Cochrane, and many more. CKGP believes that Canada’s health starts in the kitchen, and aims to support sport, music, and youth-focused charities like MusiCounts.

During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when gathering around the table wasn’t possible, CGKP took to the takeout menu and hosted online conversations between iconic Canadians while participants #shoppedlocal and supported their nearby takeout and delivery stops.

Raising Funds by Dropping the Needle

For Derek Antonio, founder of the Toronto-area record shop Pop Music, making music accessible is a priority. His shop is the only one of its kind in Canada; you won’t find rare or used LPs, but rather a highly-curated collection of commercial records designed to help welcome a new generation of music-lovers into the wonderful world of vinyl. Pop Music has long been a participant in Record Store Day Canada (RSDC), which not only provides a focal point for the vinyl enthusiast community to gather around, but helps raise awareness and funds for MusiCounts through unique merch drops.

For Derek, there was more to do. “Where this has evolved to is doing things on our own as a brand and using opportunities that present themselves to raise more awareness and funds for MusiCounts,” he said. “Pop Music is one of only a handful of record stores in Canada that doesn't resell vintage vinyl records. This doesn't stop fans from trying to get us to buy their old record collections though. However, what we've noticed is that people just want these old collections to find good homes and are willing to donate these large collections to us knowing that we will use them to fundraise for community organizations. We don't solicit for these vinyl donations but the universe every so often gives a goldmine of records and we end up generating significant funds for MusiCounts.”

Derek presents these collections for auction via Pop Music’s Instagram channel. Followers bid on the mystery collections without any idea what treasures may lie within.

“It's the spirit of the auction that matters most, not necessarily how many gems are in the boxes. Knowing how valuable many of the records are that get donated allows me to present these collections in an enticing way that generates larger bids,” said Derek. “Our messaging around these auctions is rooted in creating awareness for MusiCounts. These donated vinyl collections could easily be sold for big profits at any other record store in Toronto, but I feel it's our responsibility to pay it forward and generate as much excitement and awareness as we can. We appreciate how easy it is to connect the auction winners with Anika to make their donation and how appreciative your organization is when communicating with these fans. It's a good moment.”

Condiments for the Cause

Hot sauce might not be the first thing one thinks of when it comes to supporting music education, but Joshua Viera of Toronto has the perfect mix. He supports MusiCounts through The Original Boogs, his hot sauce product named in memory of his older sister. The small-batch vegan sauce is based on a family recipe that highlights the flavours of Guyana.

So why music education? “I wanted to make donations to MusiCounts not only in memory of my sister who had the deepest passion for music, but because I am a strong believer that music education is extremely important,” said Joshua. “I like how MusiCounts is a nonprofit organization and has programs that help schools and communities across the nation. I chose MusiCounts because they give students more than musical instruments, equipment, and resources, but the opportunity to have a creative outlet, a stress reliever, and a mood enhancer.”

Joshua is donating one dollar from every bottle of The Original Boogs hot sauce to the MusiCounts Band Aid Program to help make his late sister’s love of music possible for the next generation. Thank you, Joshua!

Drumroll, Please...

Jared Falk, the CEO and Founder of Drumeo and Musora Media Inc., knows a thing or two about what’s possible when kids have instruments in their hands. As a youngster, his parents supported his passion to play the drums with a shiny new kit. But, he knew not every kid is so fortunate, and that for many, the only chance they’ll get to hold down that beat is in the music classroom.

Falk embarked on an impressive undertaking to play the world’s longest drum fill on 125 drums and challenge users of the Drumeo, Singeo, Pianote, and Guitareo platforms to raise money for MusiCounts, which Musora would then match. Not only did Falk complete the fill - on skates, no less - but he and the Musora community raised over $75,000 for the MusiCounts Band Aid Program!


How You Can Get Involved

Hosting an event or fundraising drive on behalf of MusiCounts helps us by getting the word out, getting people excited, and raising funds for the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. Learn more about how you can make a difference and get involved today.