It’s that time again! Submissions for the Canadian Music Class Challenge are now open, and this year there are more opportunities to win, with six categories including:
- Elementary School Instrumental
- Elementary School with Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
- Junior High School Instrumental
- Junior High school Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
- High School Instrumental
- High School with Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
You can submit your class’s video performance, right here, between Sept. 30 and Nov. 23 for your chance to win a high-tech classroom recording kit, as well as a commemorative plaque.
Looking for inspiration? Hillcrest High School, located in the South-East Ottawa community, took the title of Canada's Music Class last year. The classmates performed their rendition of "Stompa" by Serena Ryder. Their creativity, diverse range of sounds and performance made them stand out.
We spoke with Jeannie Hunter, the music teacher from Hillcrest High School, about why the Canadian Music Class Challenge was a great experience for her class.
What inspired you to enter the Canadian Music Class Challenge last year?
We loved the idea of the contest. The fact that it was Canadian and focused on Canadian nusic. We liked the challenge of creating our own arrangement, and we're always looking for real-world opportunities to encourage creativity. Seeing the breadth, talent and energy of entries from across the country really made us feel that we were part of a bigger community of students and musicians that stretched from coast to coast.
What was the kids' engagement level when they entered the contest last year?
The kids were engaged with the idea from the outset and it was a collaborative process from the get-go. We collectively chose the song and began workshopping our arrangements. Every time we played our arrangement of "Stompa," new ideas would come up in the group. The final product was truly a joint effort that reflected our music program and our school and community as a whole.
Any lessons they learned?
We kept all of our different ideas and arrangements attached to a huge bulletin board at the front of the room along with staff paper and note paper so that people could add ideas. We colour-coded different "generations" of the arrangements so that we could make sure everyone was playing the most current version.
What do you think stood out about your class last year?
We started our process with asking ourselves what was unique about our school and community and then made sure that our arrangement reflected that. We believe with our heart and soul that Hillcrest is a special place, and we wanted to share that with others.
What advice would you give to teachers entering with their class?
Creativity and collaboration take time, so don't expect your final product to appear overnight. Hard work and planning are a huge part of the process, as are making mistakes. In order to find out what will work, sometimes you have to try things that won't. These are always great opportunities for laughter and growth. Talk with the kids about what's unique about your group and try to infuse that into your arrangement.
Below, watch the champs of the 2015 Canadian Music Class Challenge.
Editor's note: This year's program has a few changes from last year, which you'll notice in the below video. The performance aspect has changed to live-off-the-floor, and the title has changed, from Canada's Greatest Music Class, to the Canadian Music Class Challenge.
Is your school in need of new instruments? Hillcrest High School in Ottawa was a past recipient of the MusiCounts Band Aid program and was awarded $10,000 in new instruments. Help keep music education alive in your school: apply today at musicounts.ca.
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