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National Arts Centre's
Music Alive Program

Alberta and Saskatchewan

The National Arts Centre Music Alive Program in Alberta and Saskatchewan aims to support and inspire musical learning in schools. The program is designed for Grades 4-6 and offers teaching musician visits and quality resource materials to participating schools for three consecutive years, with a different theme explored through music each year.

Teaching musicians in Saskatchewan and Alberta combine performance with interactive activities to engage students through listening and participating. The Music Alive Program teaching musicians come from diverse backgrounds: many are classically-trained orchestral players, while some specialise in songwriting, traditional aboriginal music, or another musical genre.

Many participating schools have the opportunity to work closely with an individual musician, while other schools participate in the team-teaching option, where a classical musician partners with an aboriginal musician, or another musician with a different musical specialty, to take students and teachers on a cross-cultural musical exploration!

70% of participating schools are located in rural and remote areas, and many do not have music specialists on staff. The Music Alive Program is committed to supporting generalist teachers whenever possible and to providing an exciting musical experience for students all across Alberta and Saskatchewan!

The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank the very generous corporations and individuals who support the NAC Music Alive Program in Alberta and Saskatchewan, including Encana Corporation, Total E&P Canada, and SaskTel.

We would also like to thank the local orchestras affiliated with the Music Alive Program:
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra


Piloted in 2011-2012, the Music Alive Program in Manitoba has a three-fold focus:

  • Team-taught school visits for Grades 4-6, featuring an orchestral musician and an aboriginal musician
  • Supplementary resource materials, designed to be accessible to generalist teachers
  • Special workshops for students and teachers

As in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the majority of participating schools will be located in rural and remote areas. We would also like to thank our key local partners for Music Alive Manitoba: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Frontier School Division.


Through the Music Alive Program, the National Arts Centre is committed to supporting the incredible musical culture of Nunavut by designing, in collaboration with local partners and advisers, a comprehensive, multi-year music program. We are inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Inuit, and want to ensure that our programming will be engaging and relevant, providing local people with opportunities to participate in meaningful musical traditions and to express themselves through music. The program also aims to help strengthen the capacity to teach music among Nunavut’s educators and musicians.

In consultation with local educators and community leaders, the NAC has developed and supported programming based on the following five principles:

  • Music Education for Children and Youth
  • Music Making in the Community
  • Building Capacity Among Educators and Musicians
  • Preserving and Celebrating Local Culture
  • Showcasing Northern Artists

The program focuses on work in selected communities on a multi-year basis, to ensure that on-going, in-depth programming can take place. Events and activities include week-long teaching musician visits; school and community workshops in areas like fiddle, Inuit drum-dancing, guitar, and throat singing; pedagogical workshops for teachers; instrument donation and delivery; music camp support; and resource development.

Music Alive Nunavut is made possible through the generous support of Honorary Patrons Janice and Earle O’Born, Travel Partner First Air, the Government of Nunavut, and Joy Maclaren, C.M., “New Sun”.


“ A presentation/concert in our very own school!! We are a small school in a small, isolated community and usually cannot afford special presentations.”

Principal, Chief Moses Ratt School, Sucker River SK

“ Thank you for another FANTASTIC experience for our students thanks to the MAP! [Musician] Jan Amsel was amazing – her combination of playing and educating was magical….It was a privilege to have such an accomplished musician and natural teacher share with our students.”

Teacher, Glenbow School, Cochrane AB

“ We performed in the gym in front of the whole school. When we finished playing the song, everybody was clapping and whistling – it was one of the best days of my school days.”

Student at Ataguttaaluk High School, Igloolik NU, following an NAC-supported teaching artist visit

“ The [ater-school music] program was exceptionally successful and many of our students were very enthusiastic about having Greg and Lynne come to the school to teach them music. We also involved the Elders of the community who had some musical knowledge to be involved in the school program. […] We did introduce Greg to the elementary school children last year and they also were very enthusiastic. There was actually one student who came to our school every day after school hours to participate.”

Principal, Ataguttaaluk High School, Igloolik NU

“ The National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program is doing a wonderful job of reaching out to parts of Canada that are under-served by local or regional arts organizations. I believe strongly in the power of music to help develop creativity, as well as music’s great power to help build strong communities.”

Janice O’Born, Honorary Patron, MAP Nunavut