February 26, 2015 By

Youth Ambassador article: Healing Notes: Music and a Deeper Understanding


By Ethan Mask


There’s something more to music that goes far beyond just singing and dancing. Something aside from the fun and enjoyment we experience when listening and moving to those catchy beats. For many of us, music is the most effective if not only way of comfortably expressing ourselves. What we play, who we listen and dance to, and the melodies/lyrics that inspire each of us help define who we are. Through this expression, we experience healing through music—healing through headphones, speakers, instruments, pens, and our voices.

Just over 5 years ago I was fortunate to meet with the local youth centre, a great place that provides youth companionship, fun activities, and chances to volunteer within the community. Being a frustrated teenage musician—among many—with no place to play/perform music in my town, I was interested in starting a totally free, all ages Open Mic targeting youth performers, no experience required. 5 years later, and we’ve now hosted over 50 successful musical events bringing in large audiences with performances by countless youth.

I’m still touched and amazed at the positive response we get from the youth who attend these events. In my early teens it became very clear that music could help me and others through the rough times that many of us face…I just never really knew to what extent these Open Mics could help serve as an emotional outlet.

It’s emotional and incredibly moving listening to a 10 year old kid timidly read from a crumpled piece of paper their poem about suicide. To hear another kid no older than 14, singing a song they wrote about an abusive life at home, while the next 9 year old performer sings along with a friend’s cellphone playing one of the saddest songs you’ve ever heard. It’s incredibly moving to be in a room that becomes dead silent, and then erupts into the loudest, most heartfelt applause—applauding something much more important than musical ability, but honest and real emotion.

No, not all music is sad, and not all expression has to come from less than adequate childhood stories or the dark places our minds sometimes wander. Nevertheless, I sincerely hope this creative outlet has helped people recognize and better understand their feelings and where they come from. It has certainly helped me.

Music can help us create something beautiful out of past and present struggle. This expression is a form of communication. We can all relate to one or more sad song out there, and realizing you’re not alone is comforting. Creating that song, poem, or dance which allows others to see and hear the hardships you’ve overcome, proves that these hardships can be overcome.

There’s something more to life that goes far beyond singing and dancing. No doubt, we could use a little more of it. However, it is the reasons why we do so that are so important and integral to helping us discover who we are, and who we can be. Maybe, just maybe, taking time to discover ourselves through creative expression is just as important, if not more so, than struggling to achieve top marks in school. Perhaps understanding ourselves should be just as socially important as getting into a post-graduate program or landing a high salary job. Maybe a creative outlet such as music can help us become more emotionally intelligent, and in turn, allow us to understand each other on a deeper level because we actually took the time to express and better understand ourselves.

I strongly believe music can help change the world for the better. It’s as simple as getting you in a better headspace. Whether it’s through your headphones, speakers, or coming out of your lungs, music can and does change you.


Rock on, Ethan Mask

Filed Under: Uncategorized, youth articles
February 10, 2015 By

Youth voice – Temira Axworthy (Charlottetown PEI)

“Music is like a child; we have to care for it and raise it right”!


“Music Makes Us and the Youth4Music roundtable helped me realize my passion, and I want to give everyone the same opportunity, because music is everything I’d been looking for, and it’s been all around me the entire time.”

It wasn’t until I attended a Youth 4 Music conference that I truly began to understand the impact music had on me. My concert band teacher, Mrs. MacLain, asked me if I wanted to attend the roundtable discussion, and to be honest, I was hesitant. At the time, music was just a pastime that wasn’t what I could call a passion.  I decided to go anyway because I felt as though it would be a good idea to get out of the house and away from my three younger sisters for a few hours.

After the gathering was adjourned, I realized that music was everywhere, even though I had never truly noticed it before.

It was in the cramped and peaceful drives in the car with my dad, the silent humming during math class and it was comfort when the stress of school got the best of me. Most importantly of all, however, it was during music class. In the classroom where the rest of my peers were just as eager as I was to make real music together accompanied me; even though it was eight in the morning and none of us had gotten enough sleep that night.

Sitting in that room with everyone around me, moving in perfect harmony, feeling the music under our fingers, I felt my chest tighten. I was tearing up. When my bass partner noticed my flushed cheeks, he asked what was wrong. I blamed it all on an eyelash that stuck in my eye that didn’t exist. Ever since that revelation that rainy Tuesday morning, I jumped at every opportunity I could in order to play music. Our school has an after-school rock band group and I was already a member of it, but now I play with a new sense of fervor and genuinely enjoy every moment of it. When my music teacher asked if I was interested in Honor’s Band, I was elated: New music, and new people to share with.

We came out of the Youth4Music roundtable with one action: tell everyone who would listen about the Youth4Music network and the importance of music education, to us in our lives!

I take every opportunity I can to speak about the Coalition and the importance of advocating for music education, in front of students and their parents.

At my school’s very first concert of the year, I stood in front of two hundred people and had a small discussion with the people of all ages, trying to spread the word of Youth4Music network and what we, as youth who care about music education, represent.


Music Makes Us and the Youth4Music roundtable helped me realize my passion, and I want to give everyone the same opportunity, because music is everything I’d been looking for, and it’s been all around me the entire time.

by Temira Axworthy, Secondary student and electric bass player

Filed Under: youth articles
October 9, 2014 By

Spotlight – Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra (TYWO)


In 1991, a bright, enthusiastic Brampton high school student, inspired by his own music teacher, took it upon himself to begin planning a musical ensemble that allowed young musicians to grow and learn as a complement to the established provincial music education program. This was no mere pet project, but a dream to enhance the […]

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Filed Under: youth articles
October 9, 2014 By

#MM10 – by Céline Peterson


In society, occasionally we are known to take time for granted. Most of what happens in this world is based on time. Every day that passes means we are one day older. Every minute we spend doing something is a minute we maybe should have spent doing something else. The scenarios are endless. But we’re […]

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Filed Under: youth articles
April 14, 2014 By

National music organizations join voices to oppose cuts to VSB music programs

    The Coalition for Music Education, Music Canada and MusiCounts believe in the importance of music education for all young people in schools.  We are joining our voices together to urge the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to withdraw the proposal to cut elementary band and strings programs.  Don’t take instruments out of the hands […]

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Filed Under: CMEC News, Coalition in the News, Uncategorized
January 20, 2014 By

Looking for a freelance video editor

The Coalition for Music Education is looking for a freelance video editor to join our team immediately. We’re looking for a video editor who is skilled at transitions, pans and documentary style editing. The Video Editor should be able to work a flexible schedule and work quickly to create various videos for the Coalition’s website, […]

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Filed Under: Job Opportunities
November 21, 2013 By

Print out this email sign up form

Print out this email sign up document for parents and grandparents to sign up to the movement while they’re there – ask youth leaders to help with the signing; Download: PDF (English) PDF (French)

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Filed Under: Uncategorized
November 21, 2013 By

Call for Board members

(Download PDF) Vision We envision Canada as a country where the lives of all children are enriched by quality school music programs, and where their active participation in music is valued and supported in our communities. Mission To raise the awareness and understanding of the role that music education plays in Canadian culture; and to […]

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Filed Under: Coalition in the News
November 20, 2013 By

(Français) édition novembre 2013

Conserver l’enseignement de la musique dans les écoles nécessite des efforts concertés. Êtes-vous déjà prêt pour un concert des Fêtes? Nous approchons rapidement de ce temps où les écoles célébreront le temps des Fêtes ensemble par la musique. C’est une excellente opportunité de rappeler aux audiences combien l’apprentissage de la musique est important pour la […]

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Filed Under: French Newsletter
November 20, 2013 By

‘Our Project’ raises $7000 for the Coalition of Music Education


“Our Project” While relaxing on a beach just south of Cancun, Mexico, Kevin Western (the “Instigator” of Our Project) put on a set of headphones to enjoy whatever he had on his iPod.  As it turned out, he had almost the complete catalogue of recordings by the Alan Parsons Project available for his listening pleasure. […]

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Filed Under: Coalition in the News