The Music Classroom is Changing… and MusiCounts Is Too

September 5, 2023

Have you ever looked back and felt something was missing from your music education experience? Did you feel like your interests or traditions were reflected in the music you made in school? Youth are dynamic, diverse, and ambitious. It’s important that education adapts to the needs, interests, and career aspirations of students. What has been the priority in the past might not resonate with the kids of today.

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Photo Credit: CARAS/Ryan Bolton

Music class is not just learning a couple of songs or preparing performances for school gatherings. It has become a space where students can use instruments from their cultures, explore and share Indigenous instruments and traditions, try their hand at producing or composing music, and even find healing through therapeutic music practices.

Unfortunately, schools often have little to no budget allocated to music programming, and are unable to purchase new instruments or expand their program. That’s where your support and the MusiCounts School Music Funding Programs come in.

Did you know…

  • 60% of our applicants report having a music budget of $500 or less.
  • 40% of grant recipients are seeking funds to start a new program.
  • 50% of grants were changing their program to suit student needs.

It’s clear music education is evolving, and MusiCounts is adapting alongside educators to ensure the needs of Canadian youth are met — so we are excited to introduce our new MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation Innovation Fund starting this year!

The MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation Innovation Fund takes transformative thinking from dream to reality by providing schools with up to $20,000 to sustain or implement innovative approaches to music education. Funds from this program may be used to support culturally-relevant and/or technology-forward approaches to music education through the purchase of instruments, equipment, and specialist external clinician fees to hold workshops with students at the school.

Meet four schools that are re-inventing the way students experience music in classrooms:

Deep Dive into Different Cultures
Africentric Alternative School — Toronto, ON

Students at the Africentric Alternative School were thriving in their Steel Pan and African Drumming classes — so it was the school’s goal to expand their inventory to provide the opportunity for students to bring their instruments home to practice and MusiCounts helped break down that financial barrier for participation. Now kids can practice more freely while building their musical talents, confidence, and their connection to their heritage.

Connect with Indigenous Traditions
Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School — Dauphin, MB

Thanks to their recent MusiCounts funding, the school will bring the band and Ojibwe classes together to build hand drums, learn Anishinaabemowin songs, and sing at the annual Ojibwe graduation powwow ceremony. Since students at Dauphin are predominantly First Nation & Métis or recent Ukrainian settlers, it is important to the community that cultures, languages, and histories are shared, understood, and celebrated.

This School’s Got the Beat
Yorkdale Secondary School — Toronto, ON

The school’s guitar-building program (a collaboration between the music and woodworking departments) was spotlighted by the Toronto Star in 2018 and was a unique opportunity for students that were interested in music, but were burdened by the financial hurdle of purchasing instruments. With the growing popularity of guitar-building among students, the music production program was born, using second hand instruments that were bought from Kijiji. MusiCounts helped enhance their music production program by supplying resources and equipment, establishing Yorkdale Secondary School as the destination for the next generation of music producers and songwriters.

Music Has the Power to Heal
CABE Secondary School — Coquitlam, BC

When CABE Secondary School reached out for MusiCounts’ help, students and families had been struggling. A fire destroyed the music program, and the school had to relocate to a temporary site. Through their rock band program, delivered by a specialized instructor, students can not only alleviate their stress and worries through music therapy, but also ignite their passion and express themselves.

These are just some of the schools that are striving to make change possible in the music classroom.

If you know a school or community that is innovating the music curriculum, check out the MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation Innovation Fund and apply here. Thanks to this investment from the Slaight Family Foundation, there’s so much more exciting change to come!