CBC Music's Canadian Music Class Challenge is proud to announce the song list for our 2018 edition. If you're a teacher of an elementary, junior high, high school, after-school program or music club, or know somebody who is, be sure to share this list with them.
If you're a music student or parent of one, be sure to alert your music teacher. The challenge is open for students at the elementary, junior-high, and high-school levels.
Below is the list of this year’s pre-approved songs for use in the challenge. If you’re new to the Class Challenge, this is your chance to teach Canadian music in the classroom with the support of CBC Music and MusiCounts.
- "Stay" by Alessia Cara
- "There's Nothing Holdin' me Back" by Shawn Mendes
- "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
- "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell
- "What I Wouldn't Do" by Serena Ryder
- "Knocking at the Door" and "People's Champ" by Arkells
- "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies
- "Giants" by Lights
- "The Unforgotten" by Iskwé
- "Must be Santa" by Raffi
- "Rien a Faire" by Marie-Pierre Arthur
- "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane
- "Sure" by aquakultre
- "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive
- "Carry it On" by Buffy Sainte-Marie
- "C Okay" by LGS (Le Groupe Swing)
- "Mon Pays" by Gilles Vigneault
- "Mummers Dance" by Loreena McKennitt
- "Charmed Life" by Diana Krall
- "I Went to the Market" (traditional)
- "Je Veux Tout" by Ariane Moffatt
- "Weighty Ghost" by Wintersleep
Your challenge: choose a song from the list, then teach it to your students once classes commence in the fall of 2018. Register your class, then submit a video of the class performing the song by our deadline.
Registration for the Canadian Music Class Challenge begins on Aug. 28, 2018. Video submissions will be accepted starting on Oct. 2, 2018. If our celebrity judges pick your performance, your class or school could win $5,000 in new instruments for your music program!
Find out more about the songs — and get some of the sheet music — below.
'Stay' by Alessia Cara
Earlier this year, Alessia Cara made headlines when she won her first Grammy for best new artist. The ultra-catchy "Stay," a song she did with Zedd, was a huge hit worldwide, including landing at No. 1 on the U.S. Top 40 chart. Get the sheet music here.
'There's Nothing Holdin' me Back' by Shawn Mendes
This global top 10 hit was the 2018 Juno Award winner for single of the year. Get the sheet music here.
'Hallelujah' by Leonard Cohen
Easily one of the greatest Canadian songs ever, "Hallelujah" has been covered more than 300 times, including stunning versions by k.d. lang, Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. Will your class rendition be the next great cover of this song? Get the sheet music here.
'Big Yellow Taxi' by Joni Mitchell
Considered to be one of the first anthems of the environmental movement, this song has carried a topical message for close to 50 years. It's also an upbeat tune that's an absolute blast to sing and perform! Get the sheet music here.
'What I Wouldn't Do' by Serena Ryder
Talk about your earworm anthems! This single was the official followup to Ryder's breakout hit "Stompa," and what a one-two punch. It's almost impossible to decide which is the better tune. Get the sheet music here.
'If I Had a Million Dollars' by Barenaked Ladies
This seminal Canadian band is celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. This song is so Canadian that even Kraft Dinner gets a shoutout. A true classic, and BNL's best-known song. Get the sheet music here.
'Giants' by Lights
After a string of pop hits, "Giants" is a darker, dystopian-themed song that features a huge chorus and booming beat. It was the lead single from Lights' highly conceptual album Skin & Earth, which doubles as a graphic novel. Get the chords to this song here.
'The Unforgotten' by Iskwé
Iskwé is a Juno Award-winning Cree-Dene singer-songwriter from Manitoba. On her latest single, "The Unforgotten," she has teamed up with Nunavut throat singer Tanya Tagaq to deliver a message of reconciliation and a round dance performance that you'll never forget. We hope you'll be inspired to learn and perform this song after you experience it.
'Must be Santa' by Raffi
This is the perfect call-and-response seasonal song for your school's Christmas concert or holiday party, as performed by Raffi, one of the all-time great children's music performers, Canadian or otherwise. Get the sheet music here.
"Rien a Faire' by Marie-Pierre Arthur
Music teachers and students loved learning Marie-Pierre Arthur's song 'Fil de Soi' in the 2016 Music Class Challenge, so Marie-Pierre is back for an encore performance in 2018. This time, the award-winning pop singer-songwriter from Quebec offers up a lilting, fun and fresh French language tune called 'Rien a Faire.' We hope it proves just as popular. Check it out.
'Life is a Highway' by Tom Cochrane
Simply one of the most memorable and sing-along-able choruses in rock music history! Tonnes of fun to learn collaboratively and belt out with a group. This huge hit came out in 1991 and has remained a rock staple. Who gets the harmonica part? Get the sheet music here.
'Sure' by aquakultre
Aquakultre is a Halifax hip-hop singer-songwriter who won CBC Music's 2018 Searchlight contest for Canada's best new artist, beating out thousands of other participants from every other province and territory in Canada. Check out his winning entry, a sweet love song that showcases his wonderful voice.
'Takin' Care of Business' by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Another sure-fire Canadian rock classic, this 1973 guitar-driven song is worth learning for the opening riff alone. The hugely influential mid-tempo rat race-rocker is often referred to as the provincial rock anthem of Manitoba. Get the sheet music here.
'Carry it On' by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie has long been one of Canada's most respected singer-songwriters. Despite having a half-century career behind her, the 77-year-old Sainte-Marie still remains as relevant as ever in the subjects of environmentalism, reconciliation, human rights and songwriting. Her 2015 album, Power in the Blood, won the Polaris Music Prize, which features the uplifting anthem "Carry it On." Get the chords for this song here.
'C Okay' by LGS (Le Groupe Swing)
This ultra-catchy French language song was a top ten hit in Quebec and features a big beat and even bigger group vocals. LGS are a longtime Francophone band that takes French-Canadian folk songs and sounds and gives them a modern pop twist, resulting into a sound that is truly original. Have fun with this one!
'Mon Pays' by Gilles Vigneault
With its rousing, passionate lyrics about the solitude, cold and wide-open spaces of Quebec in the winter, this song has long been considered the provincial anthem of la belle province. It was a huge hit for Gilles Vigneault in the mid-1960s, winning awards both at home and abroad, and remains a much-adored song to this day. Get the sheet music here.
'Knocking at the Door' and 'People's Champ' by Arkells
This is a first for the Canadian Music Class Challenge: a double shot! You can choose to cover one of these hits by Arkells, or create a medley of both.
"Knocking at the Door" was arguably the song of the Canadian summer in 2017, and a smash No. 1 hit for the band. It's an epic tune, with timely and powerful call-and-response lyrics, and plenty of parts for brass, percussion, keyboards and more. Get the chords for the song here.
"People's Champ" is Arkells' followup single for summer 2018, and it has already reached No. 1 on the CBC Music Top 20. It's a fun, disco-tinged dance party of a rock song. Hope you have fun with these songs from one of Canada's most dynamic bands. Get the chords for the song here.
'Mummers Dance' by Loreena McKennitt
This moody, modern, Celtic-Canadian classic with the unforgettable chorus was a surprise hit in the United States, reaching No. 3 on the U.S. Top 40. The song refers to the ancient tradition, still popular in Newfoundland, of a group of actors going house to house to perform. Get the sheet music here.
'Charmed Life' by Diana Krall
The Canadian queen of jazz is at her smoky, traditional best in this track from her breakout 2001 Grammy-winning albumThe Look of Love. Get the chords to this song here.
'I Went to the Market' (traditional)
This traditional Acadian folk song was popularized by Gilles Vigneault and has remained a favourite among Canadian youth choirs for its lively tempo and use of both English and French lyrics.
'Je Veux Tout' by Ariane Moffatt
Ariane Moffatt is a platinum-selling Montreal singer-songerwriter who has worked successfully in pop, electronic and folk. This is a big, brassy song sung in French, and it's lots of fun to learn and perform. Get the sheet music here.
'Weighty Ghost' by Wintersleep
The success of this unique song breaking through to the mainstream helped this Nova Scotia band win a Juno Award for best new group in 2008. This is an indie-rock sing-along that is suitable for acoustic or electric instruments, or a choral arrangement. Get the chords for the song here.
More to explore: