“I don’t teach music, I teach musicians”: Sarah Comerford

mars 5, 2024

Meet Sarah Comerford, 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, Presented by Anthem Entertainment, Nominee


Sarah Comerford treats her students like musicians so they can feel more connected with their teacher and have a better understanding of all the elements, reasons and technicalities of music making; after all, Sarah is a musician herself. Quality music education opens a door to a wide range of careers and it would suffer without the support and advocacy of music educators like Sarah.

Sarah comes from a prominent music background, having majored in Music Performance and Education, and holds a Masters in Instrumental Conducting, which she puts to use at Macdonald Drive Junior High as an Instrumental Music instructor. Outside of school, she serves on various music committees, educational working groups and teacher associations in Newfoundland. Beyond teaching - in her life as a musician - she sings with the Lady Cove Women’s Choir and plays flute and piccolo with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Just like Élisabeth Bouchard-Bernier said, it’s often the case that music educators feel isolated. Connecting with other educators has always been Sarah’s priority. “As music educators, we are our biggest advocates… We should never be complacent about the security of music in our schools,” she says. She strives to alleviate the loneliness and hardship music educators face by being active in the music education sphere of Newfoundland. Sarah also enjoys booking gigs for her students to help them gain more exposure and experience performing that can be transferred over to their professional careers. Until the day music education is deemed a priority in school funding, educators like Sarah will continue to advocate for its stability.

Sarah’s impact extends beyond the classroom. She was the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Music Educators' Association, and was a founding member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Band Association, effectively putting music education in the region on the national map. She goes beyond her teaching duties by conducting surveys with new music instructors in Newfoundland to discuss needs, facilitate roundtables, provide practical resources and strategies for music education. Not only does she gain energy from her students, but from curious and new music teachers as well.

As you can tell, Sarah’s life revolves around music. Her efforts as a music educator were celebrated when she received the Canadian Music Educators’ Builders Award, which recognizes those who advance music education with significant collaborative efforts and building community.

Sarah is an outstanding teacher and continues to revolutionize the way we think about music education. She inspires students and educators alike to pursue musical careers, just as she has. She is an inspiration to all, including MusiCounts and the rest of Canada.


Sarah Comerford of Macdonald Drive Junior High in St. John’s, Newfoundland is one of five inspirational educators nominated for the 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment. The award recognizes an exceptional music teacher with a $10,000 cash prize, a generous donation to their school through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program, 2-3 MusiCounts Legacy Grants made in their name, and a JUNO statuette.

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award was established in 2005 to recognize and honour an exceptional Canadian music teacher each year. This award is generously presented by Anthem Entertainment. To date, this award has celebrated the accomplishments of 18 music educators across Canada who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their school and community.

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award is presented by