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 2023 is officially open: you can now register here.

Every year, we challenge music educators from across Canada to teach their students a Canadian song from our list, create a video of the performance, and send it in to us for a chance at winning great prizes and a whole lot of love and recognition from the CBC!

Continue reading below to find out more about the 2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge and sign up your class in August.

An orange background with white CBC logos, the Music Counts logo in white font.
The Canadian Music Class Challenge is back for 2023. (CBC)

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. 

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 2023 song list now and sign up for the Challenge starting on Wednesday, Aug. 30. You don't have to submit your video until later this fall (deadline for submissions is Wednesday Nov. 22).

For almost ten years, thousands of music students sign up from every province and territory in Canada to take part, and that's what it's all about!.

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, as well as auditioned classes and library music programs. We encourage teachers, librarians, and instructors 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 categories your class or classes will enter. Choose the one that best suits your music class, and will give your students the fairest chance. 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 based on the majority age in the class, or the oldest student. 

The top class in each age 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, $1,000 in musical instruments for the top performance of Leela Gilday's song "Máhsi ts'enįwę" in Dene Kede, the top library music program, and the top produced / mixed / non-live-off-the-floor performance, as chosen by our judges.

There is also a $5,000 MusiCounts Passion Prize for the school that shows off the most passionate performance no matter what their musical ability, as well as the $5,000 MusiCounts Innovation Prize for the performance that showcases the diversity of what music education in Canada can look like in the classroom.

If your music class or classes performs Leela Gilday's song, you should enter in the age-appropriate category 1-10 below. However, all submissions of this song will also qualify for the Indigenous Language Prize above.

Here are the 2023 categories:

  • Category 1: primary vocal (a cappella or with instruments) (kindergarten to Grade 3) 
  • Category 2: elementary instrumental (grades 4-6)
  • Category 3: elementary vocal (a cappella or with instruments)  (grades 4 - 6)
  • Category 4: junior instrumental (grades 7-10)
  • Category 5: junior vocal (a cappella or with instruments) (grades 7-10)
  • Category 6: senior instrumental (grades 11-12)
  • Category 7: senior vocal (a cappella or with instruments) (grades 11-12)
  • Category 8: Private School (K-12) or Community Music Program
  • Category 9: Public Library Music Program
  • Category 10: Top non-live-off-the-floor performance

(Please note: due to low registration for several years, the primary instrumental category has been eliminated for 2023.)

We want to help tell the story of your music class

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 ArkellsWintersleepLightsRuth BSaid the Whale, and the Jerry Cans

Want some more info?

Everything you need to know about the 2023 Challenge can be found here.

For further information, please contact, or register for our newsletter below.

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