Brampton teacher nominated for MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award


Published March 9, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Brampton music teacher Darren Hamilton has been nominated for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award

A Brampron high school music teacher is hoping to bring a $10,000 grand prize back to Brampton through the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award.

Teaching at David Suzuki Secondary School for the last six years, Darren Hamilton is the only music instructor at the school.

Hamilton said he is passionate about equity and social justice and is a University of Toronto doctoral candidate in music education and gospel music with an masters in music education.

So when he noticed a lack of black and racialized students opting to take his instrumental music class, Hamilton spoke with students and found they “didn’t feel like the music classroom is for them.”

“That was something that I didn’t see myself,” Hamilton said when looking back on taking music classes as a student himself, adding that he was often “the only black music student in that space.”

Seeing an opportunity to expand the school’s music program, Hamilton used a grant from MusiCounts Band Aid Program to start Hip-Hop, R&B and digital music programs to ensure the large population of Black students at his school could see themselves reflected in the programming.

“That was a direct result of seeking the voices of black students and finding out what they were interested in to get that program started,” Hamilton told

Hamilton said he believes that music education should be diverse and inclusive, and should reflect the student populations that schools and educational institutions serve. Through his programs, Hamilton has helped encourage racialized and black students to pursue a career in music and come back to the band room.

“It is important for racialized students to see themselves represented in music education, and to see themselves represented as being able to have opportunities to excel and achieve excellence.”

Hamilton is one of five Canadian music teachers nominated for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation.

The award comes with a $10,000 prize, with the winner announced at the 2022 Juno Awards.

Hamilton says winning the award would allow the school to expand its programming and add more instruments and equipment.

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award was established in 2005 to recognize and honour an exceptional Canadian music teacher each year. To date, the award has celebrated the accomplishments of 16 music educators from across Canada who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their school and community.

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