Wasse Abin High teaching music biz

WIKWEMIKONG—Earlier this month, Wasse Abin High School in Wikwemikong launched a new music business course in conjunction with Coalition Music, which focusses on teaching students how to compose and write music, record, advertise and market themselves as an artist.

“This is the very first music program at Wasse Abin High School and the first of its kind in Northern Ontario,” explained business teacher Jason Thibault. “Students will learn the business side of music, such as copyrights, social media, touring and merchandising, as well as composing, writing music, recording and will even put on a concert at the school. I will be teaching the business side of the course while local musician Pat Peltier will be teaching the music element.”

The music business program was developed by Coalition Music, a management company from Toronto, with famous clients such as Simple Plan and Our Lady Peace.

“We have been in the management industry for almost 20 years,” Jessie Mitchell, artist development and education manager with Coalition Music told The Expositor. “In the past 2-3 years we have started putting a lot of our resources into education.”

Mr. Mitchell explained that their education program is three tiered and focussed on providing in-house education programs for upcoming indie artists, tour management and roadies, and school programs for youth, all designed to teach business and management skills in order to provide individuals with the tools needed to spearhead their own careers.

“The music industry is heading in the way of social media,” continued Mr. Mitchell. “Artists are doing everything themselves these days and social media is dictating what is popular and getting played on the radio. The artists that know how to promote themselves are the ones that are succeeding and we saw an opportunity to educate and help upcoming artists.”

The music business program has been successfully launched at schools in Toronto by Coalition Music over the past two years, with the hope for the program to eventually go national, but Wasse Abin High School will be the first school outside of the Greater Toronto Area and the first in Northern Ontario to offer the course. Mr. Mitchell said that the program has been made possible thanks to a joint funding project from Coalition Music and Rogers Media.

Last week, the program kicked off at Wasse Abin with a visit and workshop from Coalition Music.

“It was really exciting,” Mr. Thibault said of the visit last week. “They brought one of their tour buses up for the students to tour and ride around in, as well of one of their artists, Tom Barlow, famous for his 2003 hit ‘Walk Away,’ a nominee of three Juno Awards, and winner of the Canadian Rising Star Award.”

“The students really enjoyed the workshop given by Tom Barlow,” added Mr. Thibault. “It was entitled ‘Young Minds in Music’ and focussed on the history of music and how it shapes society.” Coalition Music also brought their marketing director and owner who talked to the students about the music industry.

The Wasse Abin course contains 20 students, which Mr. Thibault said are interested in a variety of music genres.

“The students are excited, but they have a lot of work in front of them,” concluded Mr. Thibault. “At the end of the course the students will get to go down to Toronto and record their music with a professional engineer. Crystal Shawanda also approached us recently after hearing about the program from one of the students and has offered to run a workshop with the class in March.”

For more information on Coalition Music visit, www.coalitionent.com.

Robin Burridge

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