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Canadian Music Class Challenge

Here are the songs for the 2019 Canadian Music Class Challenge

Shawn Mendes? Avril Lavigne? Scott Helman? Whose song will your music class choose?

Shawn Mendes? Avril Lavigne? Scott Helman? Whose song will your music class choose?

The songs for the 2019 Canadian Music Class Challenge have been announced. Which tune will your class choose to cover this year? (CBC Music)

CBC Music's Canadian Music Class Challenge is proud to announce the song list for its 2019 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 to students at the elementary, junior-high, and high-school levels.

Your challenge: choose a song from the list, then teach it to your students once classes commence in the fall of 2019. Register your class in the fall, then submit a video of the class performing the song by our deadline.

Below is the list of this year's pre-approved songs for use in the challenge. If you're new to the Music Class Challenge, this is your chance to teach Canadian music in the classroom with the support of CBC Music and MusiCounts.

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

Registration for the 2019 Canadian Music Class Challenge will open on Aug. 27. Video submissions will be accepted starting Oct. 1, 2019. If our celebrity judges pick your performance, your class or school could win amazing prizes for your music program!

Find out more about the songs — and get some of the sheet music and lyrics — below.


'Reflektor,' Arcade Fire

We're thrilled that Canadian super band Arcade Fire have contributed their 2013 hit "Reflektor" to our Challenge this year. The album of the same name won album of the year and alternative album of the year at the 2014 Juno Awards. This song contains a cool disco beat, French–English duet-style vocals, and parts for brass and keys.

Get the sheet music.


'Walking With a Ghost,' Tegan and Sara 

In 2014, these hugely talented identical musical twins from Calgary won three Juno Awards for their breakout pop album, Hearthrob. Ten years earlier, they released a great, riff-and-beat heavy song called "Walking With A Ghost" that was later covered by the White Stripes. We can't wait to hear your version!

Get the sheet music.


'Shine a Light,' Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams is one of the biggest music stars of all time — Canadian or otherwise — so we feel honoured that he has contributed his new feel-good comeback anthem, "Shine a Light," to our 2019 Challenge. This is an upbeat, acoustic rocker co-written by superstar singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. 

Get the sheet music.


'Scars to Your Beautiful,' Alessia Cara

Last year, Alessia Cara made headlines when she became the first Canadian musician ever to win a Grammy Award for best new artist. The 22-year-old pop star returns to the Challenge this year with her second top 10 hit from 2016, which is a statement on the pressures that surround us on body image. 

Get the sheet music.


'Human,' Twin Flames

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and to celebrate that, this year we have included the beautiful song "Human" by the award-winning Indigenous duo Twin Flames. This song was specifically written to celebrate Indigenous languages and cultures, and to build relationships, and is the official song of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. No matter what your background, you are invited and encouraged to learn this song.

Please email us for the sheet music and / or special lyrics prepared for non-Indigenous students: musicclass@cbc.ca. 

Check out this how-to performance video of "Human" for Indigenous students. 

Check out this how-to performance video of "Human" for non-Indigenous students.


'Nowhere With You,' Joel Plaskett

A bona fide East Coast indie classic, this 2006 song not only put Halifax troubadour Joel Plaskett on the musical map, it solidified his career for years to come. To this day, "Nowhere With You" is still Plaskett's signature song, all about the collective experience of doing nothing together, and is filled with Halifax references. A joy to sing and play!

Get the sheet music.


'Prémonition,' Cœur de pirate

This is one of Canada's most successful French-language artists, having reached stardom both at home and overseas. Her latest album includes this amazing song, which has the shimmer — and deceptive chorus — of a summer pop hit set to lyrics detailing a toxic relationship.

Get the sheet music.


'Camilo (The Magician),' Said the Whale

This Vancouver band is extremely invested in the importance of music education, and spent the spring of 2019 touring Vancouver-area schools raising money for music programs. They are a natural fit for our Challenge, and they've come through with their ultra-catchy breakout alt-rock hit, "Camilo (The Magician)." Enjoy the big riffs in this one!

Get the sheet music.


'Hang Ups,' Scott Helman

This Toronto singer got signed to Warner Music Canada when he was just 15 years old. Since then, his career has taken off to include several hit singles on platinum and gold-selling records. This year, we're including Helman's ultra-catchy pop hit "Hang Ups."

Get the sheet music.


'River,' Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell has become a perennial favourite in our Challenge, and is always one of the most popular choices by music classes nationwide. This year, our Joni pick is her 1971 piano-driven classic, "River," which has emerged as a holiday favourite, and could double as the perfect Cancon fit for your school's holiday concert, or for any choral arrangement.

Get the sheet music.


'Je décolle,' Marie-Mai

We're delighted to include this amazing dance-pop single from Marie-Mai, a platinum-selling artist and a massive Francophone star from Varennes, Que. Over the course of her career, she's won a long list of awards and has consistently topped the French pop charts. 

Get the sheet music.


'In my Blood,' Shawn Mendes

"In My Blood" is yet another global hit from the songwriting sensation from Pickering, Ont. This song won single of the year at the 2019 Juno Awards, and chronicles Shawn's struggles with anxiety. 

Get the sheet music.


'Just Fine,' Desirée Dawson 

This Vancouver singer was the winner of CBC Music's 2016 Searchlight competition, our annual hunt for Canada's best new artist. Three years later, Desirée has released her best song yet, the inspirational and hooked-filled pop nugget "Just Fine", which went to number 1 on the CBC Music Top 20. 

Get the sheet music.


'Hand me Downs,' Arkells

Arkells are one of the most explosive and dynamic rock bands that Canada has enjoyed in years. Last year, their songs were among the most popular in the Challenge from coast to coast, so Arkells have returned with their latest hit, "Hand me Downs." Any younger sibling will relate!

Get the sheet music.


'Shine' (the official song of the Canadian Paralympic team for Tokyo 2020), Eva Avila

If your class tackles this official song of the Canadian Paralympic team, you could see your version during CBC's broadcast of the 2020 Paralympic Games next summer in Tokyo. "Shine" is sung by Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila and written by Paul DeRosa. Check out the incredible story behind this song here.

Please email us to get the sheet music and lyric sheets in English and French: musicclass@cbc.ca. You can check out the French version of this video here.


'Come Wid It,' Shopé

Shopé, a Nigerian-Canadian hip-hop artist from Toronto, was the winner of Searchlight 2019. With his internationally crafted sound, Shopé's musical narratives weave tales of poverty, determination and love, while skilfully blending Afropop, hip-hop, and soulful R&B. Shopé means "make joy" in Nigerian. When not traveling the world with his music, he is a substitute teacher in Toronto.


'Snowbird,' Anne Murray

This was a massive breakthrough hit for Nova Scotia singer Anne Murray, hitting number 1 in both Canada and the U.S. in 1970. This song with its classic melody has been covered by everyone from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley. Is your class next?

Get the sheet music.


'Wolves Don't Live by the Rules,' Elisapie

This Indigenous artist hails from the very northern edge of Quebec. Last year, she released the Juno-nominated album The Ballad of the Runaway Girl. From that record, we have included Elisapie's beautiful rendition of this northern classic originally by Willie Thrasher.

Get the sheet music.


'Young as we are Tonight,' Terri Clark

The pride of Medicine Hat, Alta., is a massive country music star, with number 1 hits on both sides of the border. Last year, she released this feel-good youthful single.

Get the sheet music.


'You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind),' Buffy Sainte-Marie with Tanya Tagaq

Two of Canada's premiere Indigenous artists combine their talents on this very powerful song from Sainte-Marie's Juno Award-winning 2017 album Medicine Songs, which is a collection that Sainte-Marie calls "front-line songs of unity and resistance."

Get the sheet music.


'J'entends le moulin' (traditional)

This is a beloved French-Canadian folk song that became popular in the 1800s. The roots of the song stretch back to 1700s France.

Get the sheet music.


'I'll be the Captain,' Splash 'N Boots

Splash'N Boots is a Juno-winning children's musical duo that began as a class project at Queen's University in Kingston. They've since gone on to release 12 albums. This rousing call-and-response pirate-themed song is a cannonball of musical fun.


'I's the B'y' (tradtional)

This classic Newfoundland folksong was made popular by Great Big Sea, but its roots stretch back to the early 20th century. It was inducted into the Canadian Song Hall of Fame in 2005. 

Get the sheet music.


'Complicated,' Avril Lavigne

This multi-platinum single was a worldwide hit in 2002 for Avril Lavigne. The song won over a dozen major awards including the Juno for single of the year. 

Get the sheet music.


Which song is your class going to choose? Think about it over the summer! Registration for the 2019 Canadian Music Class Challenge begins on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Questions? Email us at musicclass@cbc.ca.

About the Author

Grant Lawrence

Host / Producer

Grant Lawrence is veteran CBC personality with over twenty years of experience in Canadian arts and culture.