Turning out to be a audio educator was hardly ever part of Darren Hamilton’s earlier occupation aspirations. But no subject how a lot 1 strays from one’s destiny, the universe always finds a way for the stars to align.
Even following graduating from York University in 2005 with a bachelor of wonderful arts with a specialty in music, Hamilton was starting off to establish a profession in the finance industry, when he before long recognized he experienced a knack for educating. In actuality, he excelled at it.
“I’ve been training for 14 a long time now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Hamilton, MMus’16, this year’s receiver of the MusiCounts Trainer of the Year Award, presented by the Canadian Scholarship Belief Foundation.
Acquiring the award was an additional unique expertise for Hamilton due to the fact it was declared live throughout Canada’s greatest music awards demonstrate, the Junos, with some of Canada’s most achieved musical artists.
“I’ve viewed the Junos on Tv set just before, so to really show up at in man or woman was like a aspiration,” said Hamilton, who attended the awards present held at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto on Could 15. “It’s just a surreal second to be able to show up at for my to start with time as a nominee and then to really be awarded the Juno for MusiCounts Trainer of the Year was a terrific working experience.”
The countrywide MusiCounts Instructor of the Calendar year Award acknowledges an inspirational Canadian music educator’s influence on students and tunes education and learning.
Describing Hamilton as a “maverick tunes educator,” MusiCounts president Kristy Fletcher reported the David Suzuki Secondary College new music instructor is “modelling what inclusive, revolutionary, and celebratory audio programming can seem like.”
Hamilton makes use of his tunes to teach college students about social justice. He co-authored #BlackMusicMatters: Hip Hop and Social Justice in Canada, a studying source for educators in grades 7 to 12, who desire to take a look at Black culture, history and generation as a result of the lens of hip hop new music. The purpose is for pupils to have interaction in Canadian hip hop, even though studying about social justice themes.
The development of the discovering resource is an offshoot of an post Hamilton wrote for the Canadian Tunes Educator journal titled, #BlackMusicMatters: Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Tunes Education.
“My function as a instructor is not just about instructing learners music in the classroom but remaining able to see some of these gaps that existed in audio schooling, and how I, as a tunes instructor who has these study competencies that I’ve produced through my graduate perform at Western, can use these expertise and put them into get the job done to advocate for curricular modifications,” Hamilton explained.
Hamilton is becoming acknowledged for his do the job to promote diversity not just in his music course but in the music curriculum at the David Suzuki Secondary Faculty in Brampton, Ont. It is do the job that began 3 a long time back and is now just starting to bear fruit in the classroom.
“One of the things that I seen (when I started out), especially in my instrumental audio class was that there still was not a representation of Black learners having the instrumental system, even even though they experienced a Black music teacher. And so I commenced to get concerned about that,” recalled Hamilton.
With help from some of his songs college students, Hamilton launched a study in 2019 exclusively aimed at Black students inquiring them about their music tastes and what would make them just take tunes class at university.
The final results offered Hamilton perception on how to get extra Black students fascinated in new music classes, and data to make a scenario for the university principal to include diversity to the new music curriculum.
“From the success from the study, hip hop was the selection a person style of music that the pupils expressed desire in, and R&B was the next-highest. So, I built the proposal to the principal to start out this R&B and hip hop training course. And we added data, representing the students’ voices, to demonstrate that this is what the pupils are declaring that they are fascinated in,” Hamilton reported.
The university was supportive of the new software, and via MusicCounts’ Band-Aid method, secured a grant to invest in DJ consoles for the new hip hop and R&B system.
The plan was released in September 2021, with about 18 students using the study course.
“Considering we ended up online for the prior school 12 months, and we didn’t genuinely have a good deal of time to market the class amongst Might and September, we were being truly delighted with that selection,” explained Hamilton.
He noted the diversity of the students who enrolled in the new class.
“We experienced Black students enrolling in the program, but we also had pupils from all cultural backgrounds represented. And what that showed me was that hip hop new music is a genre of music that several youth gravitate to, regardless of their cultural track record,” Hamilton reported.
The large variety of feminine college students – about fifty percent of the course – using the study course was also pleasantly astonishing, he claimed, noting the craze indicates hip hop is becoming significantly less of a male-dominated style. Even the Junos looks to be recognizing this when Haviah Mighty received Rap Album of the Yr for Stock Trade – building her the initially feminine in Junos’ background to win in this group.
“I think that speaks to the pattern that we’re observing in which hip hop and rap audio is no lengthier some thing that is dominated, or that is intended exclusively for male artists,” Hamilton claimed. “Now we’re viewing feminine artists and artists from other genders gravitating and remaining engaged.”
When not training, Hamilton is seriously included in gospel new music, both equally in the neighborhood as director of the Waterloo Location Mass Choir, and in his PhD experiments at the University of Toronto, exactly where he is pursuing gospel tunes training.
His passion for gospel audio started when he was a graduate university student at Western’s School of Tunes.
“When I was at Western, I experienced an chance to do an independent examine on gospel songs, especially gospel choir pedagogy,” Hamilton recalled.
That independent study led him to “shadow” professor Karen Burke, founding director of the York University Gospel Choir, observing and documenting her gospel choir curricular. Burke has because turn into an inspiration and a mentor for Hamilton and would influence his profession progression.
Hamilton mentioned a person individual course that made an essential influence on him at Western was professor Patrick Schmidt’s program in coverage and curriculum education.
“That study course reworked my life in that it taught me how to navigate creating curricular changes in the instruction procedure,” he stated. “So, a ton of the operate that I have performed considering the fact that I have still left Western when I graduated, definitely, I can tie it back to that a single program that was just so impactful.”
In addition to educating new music in substantial university, Hamilton also teaches a gospel tunes study course at the College of Toronto.
Hamilton is the first Black new music educator to acquire MusiCounts’ Teacher of the Yr Award, and it’s an honour that carries a large importance.
“Winning this award is so important and impactful to me because it actually allows to clearly show racialized college students that there are definitely alternatives in tunes education, and in the audio business, in general.
“In this arena, currently being a racialized tunes instructor or musician is anything that I feel is so critical for our racialized students to be capable to see themselves represented, in terms of myself as a audio educator, remaining in the classroom room, teaching them songs, and then also becoming equipped to see them selves represented in conditions of what is really getting taught in the curriculum, the place the curriculum is various and they have accessibility to explore songs from various cultural backgrounds.”