Participative Creative Music Hub

We are looking for a fantastic bilingual name for this resourceplease contact Louise Campbell with any ideas!


Participatory Creative Music is a rapidly growing field with amazing projects happening from coast to coast to coast across Canada. These projects often hold great meaning for participants, and yet neither the project nor the processes used are shared beyond the scope of the project itself. The Participatory Creative Music Hub is a multi-year initiative to research, create, implement and disseminate an on-line resource for Participatory Creative Music with the goals of sharing resources and building connectivity. In the spirit of participatory practices, we will be asking for your input and help throughout the course of this project in order to build a useful and inspiring resource that reflects current practices across Canada. Stay tuned! 

For the moment, let’s address the nuts and bolts of Participatory Creative Music:

What is Participatory Creative Music?

Who is involved? How is it done? Where does it take place? 

What approaches or processes are used? What materials are available/accessible ….

And the questions go on! Those of us involved in Participatory Creative Music know the practice is as wide and varied as the people participating, the spaces and locations in which it takes place, and the means used to make music. Projects often transform radically over the course of their development. Truly grassroots in nature, Participatory Creative Music as a practice is in continuous evolution.

Keeping this multiplicity in mind, the key feature that brings together Participatory Creative Music practices is participation, ‘the act of taking part’ (Oxford). In the case of Participatory Creative Music, everyone takes part in the creative process. A facilitator may guide and participate in the process, and decision-making and authorship is shared. Everyone involved – whether they are 4, 40 or 94 years of age, an experienced musician or making music for the first time – has active input in the creative process. 

Everyone involved has active input in the creative process.

Using active participation in the creative process as a yardstick, here are some examples of Participatory Creative Music activities:

  • An all-ages community choir that uses a collaboration process to create soundscapes based on a significant local event
  • At-risk youth taking part in a drop-in jam session that welcomes instruments from acoustic instruments to laptops, hosted by a youth centre
  • Adults and older adults experiencing social isolation, anxiety and depression attending breathing and listening workshops hosted by a community health centre
  • People involved in or affected by the justice system making  music based on their life experiences using the instruments/technology/genre of their choice, hosted by a rehabilitation centre 
  • Community members of all ages learning field recording and music production software, hosted by a public library
  • Elementary school children building instruments from found objects and subsequently uses them for free improvisation
  • High school band students creating mash-ups of their favourite songs using their instruments and digital devices

Why create a Participatory Creative Music Hub?

Our goals are to:

Share resources

  • provide opportunities for shared learning within the CNMN community and beyond, including those working in fields such as health care, social work, education and corrections
  • build and maintain an online directory of practitioners and repository of ideas, templates and scores for use by current practitioners and newcomers to the field
  • highlight stories and projects to inspire new projects, approaches and opportunities

Build connectivity

  • showcase current projects, works, practitioners and groups
  • provide a platform through which to discover like-minded people, particularly for those living in under-served regions and communities 
  • promote visibility and understanding between current and potential stakeholders, including current practitioners and participants, newcomers, professional organizations within related fields and funding bodies

Who is the Hub for? 

Anyone who is interested! Potential users include: 

  • experienced practitioners and participants as resources for submissions and a platform through which to enrich their current practices
  • new-comers to music making from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields including health-care, social services, education, corrections, leadership and more 

CNMN members have a long-standing interest in encouraging participatory music-making of all kinds (Creative Music Education Resource Listing, FORUM 2009, FORUM 2018, Music Education Committee, 2008-2010; Public Engagement Committee, 2010- present). Our hope is that you find ideas and resources in the Hub that will inspire you to make your own music. For more information or to express your interest, please email project leader Louise Campbell.