Here are the songs for the 2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge
Check out the great Canadian tunes your music class can learn for this year's challenge
CBC Music in association with MusiCounts is proud to announce the song list for the 2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge. That's when we challenge music instructors to teach their students a song from our list and send in a video of the performance for great prizes and an amazing experience.
Below is this year's incredible list of songs to choose from — so far. Be sure to check back later this summer for possible additions to the list.
- "Early Morning Rain" by Gordon Lightfoot.
- "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.
- "Solid" by Savannah Ré.
- "I See You" by Tyler Shaw.
- "(You) On My Arm" by Leith Ross.
- "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf.
- "Great One" by Jessie Reyez.
- "She Calls Me" by Digging Roots.
- "A Canadian Christmas" by Joanna Majoko and Stu Harrison.
- "I Am a Pizza" by Charlotte Diamond.
- "Soleil Levant" by Daniel Bélanger.
- "Share the Land" by the Guess Who.
- "Light in Your Eyes" by Tenille Townes.
- "Good Morning" by Jeremy and Jazzy.
- "If it Feels Good Do It" by Sloan.
- "Flowers Need Rain" by Preston Pablo, Banx & Ranx.
- "Put 'Em Down" by the Trade-Offs
- "Kids Wanna Rock" by Bryan Adams.
- "Not Mad" by Salome.
- "Eli" by Ariane Roy.
- "Turning the Tide" by Luke Wallace.
- "B R A V E" by Splash'N Boots.
- "Meunier tu dors" (French traditional).
- "Passionfruit" by Drake.
- "My Mind at Ease" by Dominique Fils-Aimé.
- "Máhsi ts'enįwę" by Leela Gilday.
Also coming to the list this year: we're excited to announce that our Indigenous language song is a commissioned piece in the northern Dene Kede language by Juno-winning singer Leela Gilday.
"I want [teachers] to choose the song because it's a really fun and lovely way to do your part for reconciliation and build understanding in non-Indigenous kids, especially about our language and about our worldview," she told CBC Music. The instructional video is below in the list of songs.
Choose a song from the list, then teach it to your students once classes commence in fall 2023.
If you're a teacher of an elementary, junior or high school, after-school class, music club, community or library music program, or know somebody who is, be sure to share this song 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 K, primary, elementary, junior and senior high-school levels.
Find out more about the songs below. Links to sheet music and lyrics still to come!
'Early Morning Rain' by Gordon Lightfoot
Lightfoot was long regarded as Canada's greatest songwriter, an artist who sang history back to us and never left Canada for the bright lights of the south. We lost this legend earlier in 2023, and couldn't imagine doing the Challenge this year without one of his all-time classic songs. The sheet music is available here.
'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen
This is one of Canada's all-time biggest singles, becoming a smash hit around the world, by the now star singer from Mission, B.C. "Call Me Maybe" was also one of the most popular choices in our CBC Music Playlist Challenge when students picked music that moves your mood, so we listened — and here it is! The sheet music is available here.
'Solid' by Savannah Ré
A stunning, soulful, simmering, slow jam about commitment from this rising R&B star from Toronto. "Solid" is a wonderful vocal workout and a perfect match for a vocal ensemble, choir or band. The sheet music is available here.
'I See You' by Tyler Shaw
This is the latest pure pop ballad from the multi-platinum-selling singer from Coquitlam, B.C. Shaw told Out Now Magazine that "I See You" is "a song to listen to when you need a reminder you have support, you are worthy, you are loved." The sheet music is available here.
'(You) On My Arm' by Leith Ross
The songs of Winnipeg singer and TikTok sensation Leith Ross have been called everything from sad folk to bedroom pop. Whatever it's labelled, Ross's music has clearly not only found a huge international audience but a community, creating a safe space where people from around the world can connect with Ross's work in meaningful ways. The sheet music is available here.
'Born to Be Wild' by Steppenwolf
This is arguably one of the greatest rock songs of all time, and the legend goes that "Born to Be Wild" was the first time the term "heavy metal" was ever used in a song. This was Canada's No. 1 rock song of the late 1960s thanks in part to its placement on the iconic Easy Rider soundtrack. And the members are from Waterloo, Ont.! The sheet music is available here.
'Great One' by Jessie Reyez
An exceptionally powerful song by this four-time Juno Award-winning, platinum-selling Toronto star, written in tribute to the passing of those dear to Reyez. The video for "Great One" has been viewed over 10 million times! The sheet music is available here.
'She Calls Me' by Digging Roots
Digging Roots recently won the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award for the band's many charitable initiatives, as well as the 2023 Juno Award for contemporary Indigenous group of the year. This is a bold rock song about being strongly rooted to the land that you call home.
'A Canadian Christmas' by Joanna Majoko and Stu Harrison
Here's the perfect song for your holiday celebration! This tune unites Canada from coast to coast to coast, recognizing that we are privileged to live in a special, peaceful place where we celebrate "all Earth's creeds and cultures in plain sight."
'I Am a Pizza' by Charlotte Diamond
One of the most beloved Canadian children's songs of all time endures in popularity year after year, generation after generation — just like pizza. Perfect for elementary classes! The sheet music is available here.
'Soleil Levant' by Daniel Bélanger
Great riff, great arrangement, great use of sound and instrumentation — even whistling! It's all here in this brand new French-language song from one of Quebec's most enduring and endearing alt-rock folk stars.
'Share the Land' by the Guess Who
A timeless Canadian hit from the iconic Winnipeg band with a message that seems even more poignant now than when the song was released in 1970. The highly catchy chorus is perfect for choirs or bands, and sings to a future where land is given away and "we all live together." The sheet music is available here.
'Light in Your Eyes' by Tenille Townes
When Townes was nine years old, she and her family drove five hours across Alberta to a Shania Twain concert. Townes was randomly chosen from the crowd to come up onstage and join Twain for a duet, and Townes has had the performer's bug ever since. She now has several Canadian Country Music Awards, a Juno and many feel-good hits, including this one. The sheet music is available here.
'Good Morning' by Jeremy and Jazzy
The hit CBC Kids' show Jeremy and Jazzy starring the voice and songs of Ottawa singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher is back for another year in our contest with a lovely song about waking up and greeting the day — complete with flute/recorder solo! The sheet music for the song is available here.
'If it Feels Good Do It' by Sloan
Sometimes, just sometimes, we have to throw impulse control aside and do what feels good — like rocking out! Sloan captures that spirit of youthful rebellion perfectly in this awesome, upbeat rocker with yet another one of their seemingly patented sing-along choruses. The sheet music is available here.
'Flowers Need Rain' by Preston Pablo, Banx & Ranx
This one's a huge hit by this Timmins, Ont., singer discovered by Montreal star producers Banx & Ranx. "Flowers Need Rain" went platinum, hit the Top 40 in Canadian pop radio, and won Pablo the 2023 Juno Award for breakthrough artist of the year. This is a great song for piano-led choirs or string ensembles. The sheet music is available here.
'Put 'Em Down' by the Trade-Offs
This resonant song by Iqaluit Arctic soul band the Trade-Offs teaches us about a little-known and sad chapter of Canadian history: the RCMP killing of sled dogs between 1950 and 1970 in alleged an effort to keep Inuit off the land and ice and on government settlements. The good news: the sled dogs are still running, and songs like "Put 'Em Down" make sure that history is not forgotten.
'Kids Wanna Rock' by Bryan Adams
The title says it all! This scorching rocker is plucked from Adams's smash hit 1984 album, Reckless, and though never released as one of the record's many singles, this song still stands up today as an absolute fist-in-the-air classic! The sheet music is available here.
'Not Mad' by Salome
Salome is a Nigerian blues artist based in Canada whose music is focused on healing and inspiring others, while still expressing the truth. "Not Mad" was discovered on a Spotify playlist, and our producers thought it would be a great fit.
'Eli' by Ariane Roy
A beautiful, anthemic electro-pop song from this award-winning singer from Quebec City, "Eli" builds and builds as the song progresses into an epic sing-along coda. It would be très fantasique for singing groups, choirs or instrumental ensembles. The sheet music is available here.
'Turning the Tide' by Luke Wallace
This is a perfect group sing-along for any age, and is especially relevant for classes who are learning about climate change and trying to make a difference through community efforts. According to Wallace, it's all about "turning the tide" and "coming together." "Turning the Tide" is a folk beauty from this up-and-coming West Coast singer-songwriter. The sheet music is available here.
'B R A V E' by Splash'N Boots
A brand new song from this beloved, Juno Award-winning children's music duo, "B R A V E" includes all the right messaging for elementary-age kids, and includes some musical spelling, too! The sheet music is available here.
'Meunier tu dors' (French traditional)
This much-loved song dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, and was traditionally sung as part of a circle dance with hand movements mimicking a windmill spinning backwards or forwards. In the song, the miller sleeps as his windmill spins out of control.
'Passionfruit' by Drake
One of the hits from Drake's 2017 mixtape More Life, this groove-inflected song is a blend of R&B, pop, hip-hop and dancehall influences. It's a perfect song for those hoping to hold on to the warm days of summer a little bit longer. The sheet music is available here.
'My Mind at Ease' by Dominique Fils-Aimé
Juno Award-winner Dominique Fils-Aimé's layered, soulful song "My Mind at Ease" is one of the newest releases from her upcoming album, Our Roots Run Deep. The sheet music is available here.
'Máhsi ts'enįwę' by Leela Gilday
This brand new counting song was commissioned as the Indigenous language song for 2023 in Dene Kede thanks to the CBC Library Partnerships Program. The engaging video below includes instructions on how to sing the song and all the pronunciations, so students can something new learn as they perform. The sheet music and lyrics are available here.
Which song, or songs, will your class choose? Check out our new categories and prizes, including new musical instruments for the classroom and framed plaques for the trophy case, as well as lots of exposure on CBC-TV, radio and digital.
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