Birgit Giesser won a provincial award for her music therapy program during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Community Living B.C./Special to The News)

Birgit Giesser won a provincial award for her music therapy program during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Community Living B.C./Special to The News)

MusiCounts grants thousands in instruments for Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows non-profit

Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living is one of 33 organizations to benefit

Musical therapy program at a local not-for-profit agency will be receiving a myriad of new musical instruments thanks to a national charity devoted to music education.

Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living – that provides services and supports for more than 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities, and children at risk of developmental disability or delay, and their families – is one of 33 organizations across the country that will benefit from a grant of $500,000 from MusiCounts through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program.

The announcement was made by Juno Award winner JP Saxe on Monday, Sept. 27.

Each organization will receive a grant of up to $25,000 to be used to purchase instruments, equipment, and resources to help deliver music programs at community centres, after-school programs, and at other community non-profits.

Birgit Giesser, a music therapist at Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living, already picked out the instruments for the program.

She said the new instruments will enable groups of participants to have the same or similar instruments that will provide a much richer sound. There will be electronic instruments that will appeal to youth. She also chose instruments that will enable people with physical limitations, for whom they have to adapt things, to be able to participate.

“So people with sensory processing difficulties for whom we have to be sensitive to certain sound, textures, size, loudness, you name it,” said Giesser.

Giesser is also planning to develop a loaner library so participants will be able to take some instruments home.

“It provides a low or no barrier to participation for families who wouldn’t be able to afford instruments,” noted Giesser, adding that if they have to go virtual again, she will be able to do music therapy with participants because they can have an instrument at home.

“And because it’s a music education granting organization, it will enable me as a music therapist and as a music educator to combine more skills-based musical educational approaches, which is very attractive for children and youth, but also for our adults and lifelong learners,” she said.

READ MORE: Mobile musical therapy earns provincial award for Maple Ridge music therapist

To date, the program has supported 247 community organizations across Canada and thousands of youth participants with over $3.6 million in musical instruments, resources, and equipment.

This year more than 60 per cent of the organizations receiving instrument grants support significant populations of youth who are black, Indigenous, and people of colour and more than 40 per cent of the organizations receiving grants did not have any existing musical instruments.

ALSO: Meadowridge class finalists in nationwide music competition

“The unprecedented volume of requests MusiCounts received for the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program this year demonstrates just how important it is for youth to make music within their communities,” explained MusiCounts executive director, Kristy Fletcher.

“It’s a way for young people to connect to their culture, to each other, and ultimately to themselves. On behalf of MusiCounts, congratulations to all of the community organizations receiving MusiCounts TD Community Music Program instrument grants this year, and thank you to TD for supporting this critical initiative,” Fletcher said.

MusiCounts is a Canadian music education charity associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards with a goal to ensure that all youth in Canada have access to music education through their schools and communities.

For more information go to musicounts.ca.


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Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living music therapist Birgit Giesser with one of her students during a pandemic drive-by session. (Contributed)

Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living music therapist Birgit Giesser with one of her students during a pandemic drive-by session. (Contributed)