Canadian Music Class Challenge

Canadian Music Class Challenge 2021: FAQs

Get the answers to all your questions

Get the answers to all your questions

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 2021. 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. 

My class will not be gathering to perform. Can we create a video based around people performing from home?

Yes, we highly encourage those who are not able to gather to record videos of their performances from home and edit them together into one video. You can see some examples of this type of video here.

Can we record our video outside?


The students will be wearing masks in our video while singing. Is this OK?


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, so 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 and mash-ups are fine, but they need to use these songs:

"Small But Mighty" by Ginalina.  
"Sandwiches" by Fred Penner.
"Hey Dum Diddly Dum" by Sharon, Lois and Bram.
"On My Own" by Jessa Sky.
"One Drum" by Leela Gilday.
"Ode'min Giizis (Strawberry Moon)" by Tara Williamson.
"While we Wait" by Dominique Fils-Aimé.
"The Anthem" by Kardinal Offishall.
"Slow Fade" by Ruth B.
"Ciel" by Fouki (feat. Alicia Moffet).
"Umami" by Klô Pelgag.
"C'est L'aviron," traditional.
"When the Night Feels my Song" by Bedouin Soundclash.
"Top of my School" by Katherine Lynn-Rose.
"Dancin'" by Rachel Beck.
'I'm Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado.
"Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy.
"Safe and Sound" by Hawksley Workman.
"Up we Go" by Lights.
"Salvation" by the Strumbellas.
"Knocking at the Door" by Arkells.
"I Got Love" by Mother Mother.
"Nerve" by Nuela Charles.
"Wonder" by Shawn Mendes.
"Up!" by Shania Twain.

Check out videos, song information and links to any sheet music that is available 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?

Each class entered can only submit one video.

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. If your music class or classes performs 'Strawberry Moon / Ode'min Giizis' by Tara Williamson, you should enter in the age-appropriate category 1-8. However, all submissions of this song will also qualify for the Indigenous Language Prize.

Here are the 2021 categories:

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

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

We recommend entering the category of the age of the eldest child in your group.

How are the winners chosen?

The winners will be chosen by our panel of judges, which include CBC personalities and music teachers.

What are the prizes?

  • Eight first-place prizes of $3,000 in gift certificates will go to the top eight classes in each age category, as chosen by our judges, plus a gold-record plaque for the classroom or trophy case.
  • The second- and third-place winners in each age category will also receive a gold-record plaque.
  • $1,000 in new musical instruments will be awarded for the best performance of "Ode'min Giizis (Strawberry Moon)" as chosen by our judges. (If your music class or classes performs 'Strawberry Moon / Ode'min Giizis' by Tara Williamson, you should enter in the age-appropriate category 1-8. However, all submissions of this song will also qualify for this prize.)
  • $1,000 in new musical instruments will be awarded to the best music class from a community program, outside of a regular school curriculum, as chosen by our judges.

How are the songs chosen?

We begin 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. Yes, 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.

Any tips for 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 of the songs available?

For most of the songs on our 2021 list, links are provided for sheet music and chords on our song list. If you do not see a link, we have not been able to source any sheet music.

Once I upload my song to my 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. Please only upload a file once you are 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 We advise everyone to 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.

What format should I submit my class description and bio?

Please upload your class description and bio on 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?

We could highlight your performance on local and national CBC Radio, TV and digital, and 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 Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT and we highly recommend you submit your video as early as possible.

Will I get a confirmation that my video has been received?

No. If you can see your files in the shared folder then it has been submitted. There will be no email confirmation sent to you.

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

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET.

When are the winners announced?

Winners in all categories will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, at approximately 8 a.m. ET on CBC Music Mornings and on all other CBC Music platforms.

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