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Youth4Music News

Music Monday Special Feature: Spotlight on… Ben Macdonald

If you’ve seen the official Music Monday Anthem video, then you’ve seen Ben Macdonald (piano), Irene Harrett (bass), and Worrell Mcfarlane (drums) as they recorded Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” while being mentored by a trio of Canadian jazz superstars - Robi Botos (piano), Dave Young (bass), and Jim Doxas (drums). (And if you haven’t seen the video, what are you waiting for?)

In the lead up to Music Monday 2020, as we prepare to sing and play “Hymn to Freedom” #TogetherInHarmony for the second year in a row, we thought we’d catch up with the young artists who made the anthem recording possible. 

We last saw them perform as a trio in March of 2019, when they dazzled us at the Youth4Music Toronto Leadership Symposium, and we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on each of them a year later. This month we’re excited to introduce the final member of the trio, pianist Ben Macdonald!

Music Therapy Awareness Month

There are many paths to a career in music, like music education, performance, composition, sound engineering, songwriting, and production, to name just a few. But there are also paths less traveled, like music therapy.

In honour of March being Music Therapy Awareness Month, we spoke to three young women pursuing a career in music therapy: McKenna Ogg and Naomi Klassen at Canadian Mennonite University in Manitoba, and Mariah Blaine-Longo at Concordia University in Quebec.

Read all about what led these women to pursue this field, and what advice they’d offer to other young people interested in a career in music therapy.

Exclusive Offer for Youth4Music Subscribers: RCM Online Ear Training FREE for 90 days

Youth4Music is excited to partner with the Royal Conservatory of Music to offer the RCM Online Ear Training tool FREE for 90 days to Youth4Music newsletter subscribers! Whether you’re preparing for an RCM exam or you’ve only just begun studying music, this online resource can help you improve your musicianship skills. From our friends at the RCM:

“For more than 130 years, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has been dedicated to developing human potential through music education and the arts. Our comprehensive system of music study and assessment is considered the gold standard for high-calibre musical literacy. 

Nurturing creativity and developing self-confidence is at the core of our curriculum, and the RCM has developed digital products to support 21st century music education. Our suite of tools was created to support a blended instructional approach, and each product complements our curriculum and offers opportunities for ongoing learning. 

Ear Training is essential in the development of well-rounded musicianship, and the RCM has created its own digital platform to foster this development in students. The RCM Online Ear Training tool is an engaging, easy-to-use platform that includes more than 5,000 exercises, supports all skill levels, and provides instant feedback to students.

Additionally, the RCM has many more digital products that can facilitate your study of music, including the Theory Study Guide, Online Theory Assessment, Online History and much more.”  

To activate your free 90 days please contact Sharon Tikiryan, Youth4Music Program Manager, at

Coalition News

Music Monday Anthem: New Recordings Available!

Music Monday may be still be several weeks away, but youth ensembles from across Canada have already begun to join #TogetherInHarmony in the creation of several brand new Music Monday Anthem recordings.

In addition to the bilingual SSA arrangement sung by Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa, you can now hear “Hymn to Freedom” in a variety of arrangements, including:

Our thanks to everyone involved in the recording process! Register for Music Monday (it’s free!) for access to recordings, sheet music, and more.

In Your Backyard

AMEF Student Recognition Awards

The Alberta Music Education Foundation is accepting applications for the 2020 AMEF Student Recognition Awards until April 30. Eligible students are invited to apply in either the Music Performance or Community Service categories. Winners will be awarded $500 to cover the cost of music lessons, music school tuition, sheet music, or other music equipment.

Halifax Pop Explosion

Artist applications for the 2020 Halifax Pop Explosion Music Festival and Conference are now open. The Halifax Pop Explosion (HPX) is an annual event dedicated to helping music fans explore music of all genres and finding their next favourite artists. Artist applications will be accepted until May 15 (early bird deadline is March 31).

M for Montreal

The M for Montreal conference and festival, which brings together musicians, industry professionals, and music lovers from around the world, has launched its call for artists for the 2020 festival. Applications will be accepted until May 1.

Youth4Music Playlist

Canada is home to so many talented musicians under the age of 30, including international superstars like Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara, and up-and-coming young artists like Ava + Lily from Charlottetown and Ben Heffernan from London. For this month’s playlist, we’re sharing the music of our favourite young Canadian artists - some we’ve met through the Youth4Music program, some are household names that everybody knows, and some were nominated by our Instagram followers. Stream the Youth4Music Playlist: Under 30 Edition on Spotify. Happy listening!

Thank you • Merci • Miigwech • kinana'skomitina'wa'w

We are able to do all of this awesome work because of the support from many groups. For a full listing of this support go to Coalition, Youth4Music and Music Monday

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Phone: 416.298.2871