Canadian Music Class Challenge 2019: FAQ

Get the answers to all your Canadian Music Class Challenge questions.

Get the answers to all your Canadian Music Class Challenge questions

Canadian Music Class Challenge 2018. (Jake Boone)

Want to know something about the Canadian Music Class Challenge? Take a look at our list of frequently asked questions to find out the answers to our most common queries.

How do I enter my class?

Choose a song from the song list to teach to your students once classes commence in the fall of 2019. Register your class. Once your registration has been submitted, a CBC Music producer will contact you with a link to a Google folder where you will upload your finished class video performance, a class photo and the description of your class/video, which will appear in the description field of your video on YouTube. 

Does my music class qualify?

The contest is free, and open to music classes at a recognized Canadian educational institution (traditional music class, music club or after-school program) and community music programs (community centres, private music schools, refugee centres, etc.) Classes must consist of at least six students no older than age 18, with a supervising teacher. 

Can I, as a teacher or instructor, accompany my class in the video?

Yes, accompaniment is fine. We understand that, especially at the elementary levels, kids sometimes need musical support, but the spirit of the competition is to showcase the kids' performances. Make sure your performance is heard and seen as support only, and that the kids are the focal point of the video. For the junior and senior categories, teacher support should be minimal, if at all. 

Does my class need to perform a specific song?

Yes. Only the following songs will be accepted. Medleys are fine, but they need to be these songs:

  • "Reflektor" by Arcade Fire
  • "Walking With a Ghost" by Tegan and Sara
  • "Shine a Light" by Bryan Adams
  • "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara
  • "Human" by Twin Flames (the official song of the International Year of Indigenous Languages)
  • "Nowhere With You" by Joel Plaskett
  • "Prémonition" by Coeur de pirate
  • "Camilo (The Magician)" by Said the Whale
  • "Hang Ups" by Scott Helman
  • "River" by Joni Mitchell
  • "Je Decolle" by Marie-Mai
  • "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes
  • "Just Fine" by Desirée Dawson
  • "Hand Me Downs" by Arkells
  • "Calling to Say" by Serena Ryder
  • "Shine" by Eva Avila (the official song of the Canadian Paralympic team for Tokyo 2020) 
  • "Come Wid It" by Shopé
  • "Snowbird" by Anne Murray
  • "Wolves Don't Live by the Rules" by Elisapie
  • "Young as we Are Tonight" by Terri Clark
  • "You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind)" by Buffy Sainte-Marie with Tanya Tagaq
  • "J'endtends le Moulin" (traditional)
  • "I'll be the Captain" by Splash 'N Boots
  •  "I's the B'y" (traditional)
  • "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne 

Check out videos, song information and sheet music here.

Can my class do a mash-up of multiple songs?

Yes, as long as all the songs are from the official song list.

Can my class perform a song that is not on the official song list?


Can I change the lyrics of the song to suit my class?


Can a class submit more than one video doing different songs?

No. Each class entered can only submit one video.

Can my school submit more than one entry?

Yes, as long as each entry is from a different class.

Do you need anything other than a song uploaded?

Yes. In order to finish your submission, you need a class photo for promotion and a brief description of why your class is so great.

What file format should my video be in?

MP4 or .MOV format (most smartphones shoot in this format).

What are the categories I can enter my class in?

Upon registration in the fall, you'll be asked to choose which category your class will enter. There are eight main categories. Choose the one that best suits your music class, and will give your students the fairest hearing. Canadian schools are grouped differently in every province, so if one of these categories doesn't perfectly suit you, choose the one that is closest. 

Here are the 2019 categories:

  • Category 1: Primary Instrumental (kindergarten to Grade 3)
  • Category 2: Primary Vocal (a cappella or w/ instruments) (kindergarten to Grade 3) 
  • Category 3: Elementary Instrumental (Grades 4-6)
  • Category 4: Elementary Vocal (a cappella or w/ instruments) (Grades 4-6)
  • Category 5: Junior Instrumental (Grades 7-10)
  • Category 6: Junior Vocal (a cappella or w/ instruments) (Grades 7-10)
  • Category 7: Senior Instrumental (Grades 11-12)
  • Category 8: Senior Vocal (a cappella or w/ instruments) (Grades 11-12) 

My class is between categories. Which one should I enter?

If the majority of your class is in one age group and you have one or two students that are older, enter the class that matches the ages of the majority of the class (as long as the older students are not the focal point of the performance or appear in lead roles.) 

How are the winners chosen?

The winners will be chosen by our panel of judges.

What are the prizes?

The top class in each age category will win $3,000 and a gold plaque. Second and third place in each category will win a plaque. Additional prizes will be awarded, including $1,000 for the top community music class, $1,000 for the top performance of the Twin Flames song "Human," and $5,000 for the MusiCounts Passion Prize for the most fun-filled and passionate performance.

Why have the categories and prizes changed this year?

Every year we try to evolve the contest based on music teachers' input from across Canada. This year we will try including more classes in the winner's circle to spread the prize money around to recognize the musical excellence in as many classes as possible.

How are the songs chosen?

We began our song selection almost as soon as the contest closes the year prior, as it takes months to clear the legal rights for many songs. With consultation from music teachers across Canada, as well as CBC Music's knowledgeable staff, we try and choose a list of Canadian songs that will appeal to as many students and teachers as possible, and most importantly, will be fun to learn and perform!

What is an "off-the-floor" performance?

An off-the-floor performance is a single-take live performance that features no editing or multi-track recording. We want to see your music class perform the song live, as if we were sitting in the crowd watching, and an off-the-floor performance is the best way to do this. If you want to mic different instruments for the purpose of creating a balanced live mix, that's fine. We're trying to avoid the use of multi-tracking, which would create an unfair advantage.

Can I cut in scenes from my school into the video?

Yes, you can cut in as many images of the class or school in video post-production as you wish, as long as we can see your class predominantly performing the song live off the floor.

Can my instrumental group add vocals? Would we have to enter a vocal category?

If there are any lead vocals, it should be in the vocal category. If the vocals are just back ups, or vocal accents (like "ooos" or "ahhhs" or "shoop shoops" they can remain in instrumental, but any lead or choral vocal lines / lyrics should be into vocal categories.

Any tips for the shooting and audio recording of my video?

Please shoot your video horizontally, landscape-style, as opposed to holding your smartphone vertically. Gyms are fine for large groups but can be the cause of a lot of reverb and echo, so try to use curtains or baffles to absorb sound. Smaller rooms with absorbent surfaces can create the best sound results.

Is sheet music available for the songs?

For most of the songs on our 2019 list, links are provided for sheet music and chords.

Once I upload my song to the contest folder can I replace it?

No. Once a teacher has uploaded a video file to their designated folder it is considered their final entry to the contest, even if it is before the final deadline. Please only upload a file once you are completely satisfied it is finished.

Why didn't I get a link to my folder yet?

The registration process is not automated. We only process entries during business hours Monday to Friday, and during those days there is a waiting period of up to 24 hours. If you have not received your link by then, please send us an email at Please register as early as you can! 

Why did my intro and outtakes get edited out of my entry?

Your entry should consist only of the performance of your song and run no longer than six minutes in total.

In what format should I submit my class description and bio?

Please upload your class description and bio in a DOX, DOCX or PDF format to your folder.

Who can I contact if I have a question not addressed in the FAQs?

Email: and a producer will get back to you shortly.

Is there a hashtag I can use to promote my class video?

Yes, #CBCMusicClass.

What are the other benefits of participating in the Challenge?

  • You could have a high-profile Canadian musician visit your music class room.
  • CBC Kids could visit your class. 
  • We could highlight your performance on local and national CBC Radio, TV and digital. 
  • You could get yourself featured in media beyond the CBC.

Do I need to provide a student permission form to the CBC?

No, the CBC does not require permission waivers. You own the video and should make sure all the kids are participating with parental permission.

My class video is finished, when can I send it in?

The submission period for completed videos begins Tues., Oct. 1, 2019, at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT.

When is the last day I can send in my class video?

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, 11:59 p.m. ET.

When are the winners announced?

Winners in the eight winning categories and three bonus prizes will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at approximately 8 a.m. ET on CBC Music Mornings and on all other CBC Music platforms.

Where can I find more information about the Canadian Music Class Challenge?

You can find more information about the Canadian Music Challenge here.