Essay Competitions

CMEA/Acme National Student Essay Competitions

The Canadian Music Educators’ Association/L’Association canadienne des musiciens éducateurs invites the next generation of music educators to participate in the following upcoming essay competitions:

Past Winners

July 2019


July 2018


July 2017


July 2016


August 2014


July 2013


July 2012


1994 - 2011


2022-2023 National Student Essay Competitions

    • Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Essay CompetitionANDDr. Franklin Churchley Graduate Essay Competition 2023
    •  COMPETITION SUBMISSION DEADLINE – MAY 1, 2023ELIGIBILITY: The competition is open to all Canadian undergraduate and graduate students studying worldwide and to foreign students studying at Canadian universities. Competitors may submit only one essay. TOPIC: The topic will the student’s choice, but it must be relevant to contemporary or evolving music education practices and/or issues. 

      STYLE: Essays are accepted in either English or French. Essays must be typed, double-spaced. APA 7th guidelines for formatting, citations, and reference list must be applied.

      Essays will be reviewed based upon the following:

      • 4000-word limit, including abstract and references 
      • 50–100-word abstract summarizing content
      • Introduction to the topic and thesis position
      • Literature and content
      • Context related to music education
      • Understanding of the issues and/or practices
      • Originality
      • Summary ands Conclusion(s)
      • Writing clarity
      • APA 7th edition formatting, citations, and referencing

      REVIEW PROCESS: The competitions will be judged using a blind review process by nationally recognized scholars in the field of music education. To avoid conflicts, reviewers will be selected after the entries have been received. Reviewers will be announced with the winners. 

      SUBMISSIONS:  For the 2023 competition, submissions must be received electronically on or before MAY 1, 2023. No late submissions will be accepted. To facilitate the blind review process, applicants are required to include three electronic attachments saved as Word files – cover page, abstract and essay, letter from faculty member.

      File #1 is a cover page including:

      1. the name of the author
      2. name and year of the competition to which you are applying (e.g., Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Competition 2023, Dr. Franklin Churchley Graduate Competition 2023)
      3. institutional affiliation
      4. permanent home address
      5. permanent email address

      File name format: (Last name) Cover Page

      File #2 is an abstract followed by the essay:

      Page 1: 50–100-word abstract summarizing the essay content

      Page 2: begin the essay

      File name format: (Last Name) Undergraduate (or Graduate) Essay 2023

      File #3 is a letter from a faculty member:

      1. Verify university affiliation and current student status

      File name format: (Last Name) Faculty Letter


      Please note: 

      No identifying content within the body of the text is allowed with respect to either author or institution. Essays must be the student’s own work but may be vetted through faculty at the request of the author. 

      Winning essays may be published by the CMEA/ACME in the Canadian Music Educator. Winners in each competition will receive a cash award. 


      Dr. Andrea Rose
      Professor Emerita and Honorary Research Professor
      Memorial University (Music Education)

      Director of Higher Learning, Canadian Music Educators’ Association

      Chair, CMEA/ACME National Student Essay Competitions


      Phone: by appointment via email


Pat Shand

Pat Shand National Essay Competitions

Long time educator, researcher, and advocate for Canadian Music in Education, Dr. Patricia Shand, is the  sponsor for this national essay competition. This competition is aimed at practitioners in the field, college and university professors, researchers, composers, studio teachers, and students from all levels—K-12 and beyond.

Patricia Shand Prize for Essays on Canadian Music in Education


Essays may be on any aspect of Canadian music in education.


Essays are accepted in either English or French. Essays must be typed, double spaced, and conform to standard APA 6th edition style. Essay word limit: 5000 words. All charts, diagrams, and photos must be supplied camera-ready.


This essay competition is open to practitioners in the field, college and university professors, researchers, composers and studio teachers, and students from all levels—K-12 and beyond. Submissions must not have been previously published. Entrants may submit only one essay.


Essays will be assessed by nationally recognized scholars in the field of music education who will be selected after the entries have been received to avoid conflicts. Jurors will be announced with the results of the competition.


Submissions must be submitted on or before December 31, 2022. Late submissions will not be accepted.  In order to facilitate a blind review process, contestants are required to include two components in one electronic submission (rich text format).

  1. A separate cover sheet including the name of the author, institutional affiliation, permanent home address, and email address.
  2. A file containing a 100-150 word abstract and the Essay.

No identifying content within the body of the text is allowed with respect to either author of institution. Winning essays may be published in The Canadian Music Educator. First prize winner will receive a cash award.

Send submissions electronically to:

Dr. Francine Morin, Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs
Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
Office Phone: (204) 474-9015

Past Winners

2018 Pat Shand Essay Competition Winner

Dr. Jody Stark, University of Manitoba & Ms. Jennifer Arcand for their essay Exploring an Imagined Canadian Identity

2016 Pat Shand Essay Competition Winner

Sandie Heckel of Western University for her essay titled Soundscapes: Using Informal Learning Pedagogy to Create a Canadian strand of Musical Futures.

2015 Pat Shand Essay Competition Winner

Ms. Jennifer Skidmore, Master of Music Candidate at the University of Western Ontario for her essay titled, From Discord to Harmony: How Canadian Music Educators can support young Syrian refugees through Culturally Responsive Teaching.

2021 Essay Competition Winners

The Canadian Music Educators’ Association/L’Association canadienne des musiciens éducateurs is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 National Undergraduate and Graduate Student Essay Competitions. The jurors reviewed 20 undergraduate entries and five graduate entries for a total of 25 submissions.


The winners of the 2021 competitions are:



1st PLACE: Ryan Henwood, Memorial University

Essay Title: How Can I Keep Them Singing? Exploring ‘Tumult and Strife’ in Adolescent Voice Change

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrea Rose


1st PLACE: Fiona Evison, Western University

Essay Title: Discovering Habitus and Doxa through Unison Composition

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ruth Wright


All essay submissions were blind reviewed by two jurors, Jurors are experienced music education scholars with strong credentials. They devote substantial time reading and scoring the submissions, as well as providing constructive feedback to participants.


2020 Undergraduate Essay Jurors

  • Julia Brook, Queen’s University
  • Glen Gillis, University of Saskatchewan
  • Bina John, University of Toronto
  • Anita Prest, University of Victoria
  • John Vitale, Nipissing University
  • Tracy Wong, McMaster University


2020 Graduate Essay Jurors

  • Carol Beynon, Western University
  • Peter Gouzouasis, University of British Columbia


Special thanks are offered to all who participated in the competition, including students, faculty advisors, and jurors. Together, we can make a difference by promoting dialogue about Canadian music education.


Dr. Francine Morin, Chair

Canadian Music Educators’ Association/
L’Association canadienne des musiciens éducateurs (CMEA/ACME)

National Student Undergraduate and Graduate Essay Competitions