From Birth to Myth: How MusiCounts & CARAS Support Canadian Artists

July 13, 2022

Photo Credit: CARAS/iPhoto

The 2022 JUNO Awards reminded us of how the journey to the stage on Canada's biggest night in music starts when people begin loving - and learning - music at a young age. Whether they’re the fans on the red carpet, volunteers, staff members, or the artists making their leaps into the limelight, young people’s presence helps ensure that the Canadian music industry survives and thrives. MusiCounts knows that it's often the music classroom where kids develop this lifelong passion.

Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards, has a unique perspective on this journey. He held roles in A&R and management at Universal Music Canada and Maple Music before joining The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) as the Interim Director of MusiCounts in 2011. Two weeks into this role, Allan headed to Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia with hometown hero Joel Plaskett for his very first Band Aid Celebration at Sackville High School. Upon hearing how transformative learning an instrument was for Joel in his high school years, Allan recognized just how powerful putting instruments into the hands of kids could be.

"I went from finding talent to seeding talent."

-Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards

That feeling cemented when a student thanked him personally for believing she was worthy of this gift. “The charitable work, the act of giving back, the act of working on something that has a true purpose was the greatest gift I ever could have received at that moment in my life,” Allan said, recounting his experience. “It changed the course of my career dramatically.” Though it may not have seemed this way at first, the transition from music industry executive to MusiCounts helped to crystallize the relationship between music class and the music business; as Allan described it, he “went from finding talent to seeding talent.”

CARAS’ mandate is to preserve and enhance the Canadian music industry, which is achieved through four pillars: Educate, Develop, Celebrate, and Honour. These pillars are put into action by the properties in the CARAS family - the JUNO Awards, which celebrate Canadian artists year-round and develop emerging artists through programs like the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class; the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, which honours exceptional music industry icons annually; and of course, MusiCounts.

As the charitable arm of CARAS, MusiCounts fulfills the Educate pillar by bridging the gap between kids and the music industry through making music education accessible to all. The MusiCounts Band Aid Program aims to ensure that every kid across Canada can discover their love of music in school by providing instruments, equipment, and resources to the schools that need them most. High school and university students thinking of pursuing careers in the music industry benefit from our Amplify and Accelerate Scholarship programs, which help them get a head start through financial awards and a mentorship experience. We’re also continually expanding upon the MusiCounts Learn: TRACK resource with the support of partners like the City of Toronto and the RBC Foundation to help educate students, teachers, and artists alike about possibilities in - and the intricacies of - Canada’s music industry. Through these offerings, we’re creating opportunities for kids to one day be a part of the industry themselves, and maybe even become JUNO Award-winning Hall of Famers too.

Ultimately, not every kid who picks up an instrument will go on to become a musician or work in the music industry - and that’s perfectly fine, because music education has its own inherent value. MusiCounts is creating a spark all across the country, and although we may never know where those sparks will lead, we’re giving kids a fighting chance to take their love of music from birth to myth.