Canadian Music Class Challenge

What is the Canadian Music Class Challenge?

Everything you need to know about this year's contest.

Everything you need to know about this year's contest

CBC Music's Canadian Music Class Challenge is returning this fall, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Juno Awards. 

Every year, we challenge music educators from across Canada to teach their students a Canadian song from our list, but we know that this school year will be different for many students and teachers.

In light of that, we've created an option so those learning from home can also participate in this year's Challenge. We are still asking for a video performance, but we ask that the video performance is done with your recommended provincial safety measures of physical distancing and isolated performances in place, like these.

We've also created an alternate option called the Canadian Music Playlist Challenge, which will not require a group performance or any video recording. You can find out more about it here.

Continue reading below to find out more about the 2020 Canadian Music Class Challenge.

(CBC Music)

Every fall, CBC Music in association with MusiCounts — the charity of the Juno Awards — launches the Canadian Music Class Challenge, a contest to engage music classes across the country with Canadian music. 

There are three goals to this project:

  • We want kids to learn Canadian music in the classroom.
  • We want to draw attention to the exceptional work music teachers are doing with children across the country.
  • We want to reinforce the importance of music in a well-rounded education.

So how do we do this? Each year we pre-approve a list of Canadian songs, then ask music teachers to pick one and teach their classes a cover version. It could be a note-for-note cover, or you can make it something completely your own. This year, all of the songs on our list will be from a Juno Award-winning artist in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Juno Awards.

We know that September will look and feel completely different than any other school year any of us have ever experienced. We are also aware that many music programs will be directly impacted by the need for physical distancing.

With that said, this year's Challenge will move with our times. We're still asking for a video performance, but we ask that the video performance is done with your recommended provincial safety measures of physical distancing and isolated performances in place, like these.

Once a class performance of the song has been recorded on video, it gets uploaded to the CBC Music YouTube channel, and our judges choose the winners. You can read about our prizes here.

You can check out the 2020 song list now and sign up for the 2020 Challenge starting on Sept. 1.

Last year, more than 1,000 music classes signed up from every province and territory in Canada.

What do we mean by 'music class'?

We mean everything from music clubs to after-school music programs to traditional school board programs from elementary school, junior high and high school. We encourage teachers to enter the challenge no matter what the playing level of his or her class.

Categories and prizes  

Upon registration in the fall, you'll be asked to choose which of eight main categories your class will enter. 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. 

The top class in each category will win $3,000 in musical instruments and a gold plaque. The two runners up in each category will also receive plaques.

Additional prizes will be awarded, including $1,000 in musical instruments for the top community music class, and $1,000 in musical instruments for the top auditioned arts class.

Here are the 2020 categories:

  • Category 1: primary instrumental (K-3).
  • Category 2: primary vocal (a cappella or with instruments) (K - 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)

We want to help tell the story of your music class

Best of all, your class could be featured on CBC's digital, radio and television platforms, showcasing how great the music program is in your school.

Every year, a couple of lucky and talented music classes receive surprise visits by the artists they have chosen to cover. In the past, our classroom visits have involved Arkells, Wintersleep, Lights, Ruth B, Said the Whale, and the Jerry Cans

Want some more info?

Everything you need to know about the 2020 Challenge can be found here.

For further information, please contact, or register for our newsletter at:



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