Stephen Richardson — headed to the Junos

Richardson encourages his students to write their own music. (Supplied by MusCounts.)
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Stephen Richardson says his class was confused when he put on a video announcing the Juno nominees.

“So they’re watching as Justin Bieber and the Weeknd and different things and they’re like some of the people they knew, and then it came to ours, our segments. They’re pretty shocked when they had like MY Picture and My name up there. And they just say, ‘what was that?’ They were like, ‘why are you on the screen?’ It was pretty funny.

Stephen Richardson

Richardson, who teaches at St. Joseph Elementary School has been nominated for the award a 2021 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award.

As well as being awarded at this year’s Junos, if Richardson wins, his school will receive a $10,000 grant.

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Richardson said that money could go to much needed equipment, like a set of pianos for students.

Pianos, I kind of tell the students, is the Yoda of the instruments. It’s the one that everything else is based off of. So it’d be good to get some fundamental knowledge on the keyboards.”

Stephen Richardson

His elementary school bands have won Gold at the Yellowknife Music Festival.

But Richardson also encourages the students to write their own music, and to practice mindfulness while playing.

“I’ve struggled with — how do you keep trumpets and saxophones and all this kind of really relevant, especially way up here in the north… If you’re, if you go home, and you watch Netflix for four hours, it might feel good while you’re watching it, you binge watch it, but then afterwards, you’re just kind of sluggish and stuff. So the instrument can teach you how to — kind of almost like yoga or something — you play for an hour, relax your mind.”

Stephen Richardson

All the nominees have been invited to attend the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on May 15 as a part of JUNO Week in Toronto.

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