Megan Frederick: Music is a Way of Life

Some footage used in this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and may not depict social distancing measures.

Transcription – Megan Frederick- 2021 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence

[Close up of a woman in an interview setting. Music playing.]

"I have a pretty high standard for what I expect my students to be able to perform at, and so I expect them to rise to that. But we also have a lot of fun doing it."

[Fade to white with a medium shot of woman, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left: Megan Frederick, Okanagan Mission Secondary School, Kelowna, British Columbia. Cut to close-up of Megan in the interview setting. Music playing.]

"For me personally as a music teacher, the majority – the most important thing that we do is share our art and perform for people. So not being able to perform has been really challenging. Keeping the motivation up for students when they don't have that sort of external reward of being able to showcase what they've been working towards is challenging. We found a way around it but I can't wait to get back on a stage playing for a live audience again."

[Fade to black and then up to Megan in the interview setting.]

"I'm always asking students to look for more than just, like, the technicality of learning their instruments. Like, what more is there to what we're doing? I think it's so important that we can use music as a tool to give back to the community and to do good and to connect within the world. So I'm always looking for ways to – projects that get our music out into the world, that give back, that fundraise, that show them that a small act of performing for someone can have a big impact on their day."

[Fade to black and then up to Megan in the interview setting.]

"The biggest thing for me that I'm most proud of is the project we worked on last year. We were very disheartened to watch the challenges that long-term care homes were going through when the pandemic was first starting, and knew we wanted to give back to that somehow. So we partnered with three homes here in BC and partnered with the families and the workers and created some really amazing virtual music performances where we took messages from the family members that couldn't get in to see the residents and shared those through a video. And the way the students responded to that and the experience they got from it is – I'm very proud of."

[Fade to black and then up to Megan in the interview setting.]

"So if someone is thinking of nominating a teacher for the Prime Minister's Award I say do it. There are so many great educators out there and it's wonderful to be able to highlight the good work that is going on in those schools all across the country. I've been very humbled by this experience, and would love to be able to do it for somebody in the future. So don't hold back and let's highlight all the amazingness that's going on within our schools."

[Music ends. Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Year: 2021 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Okanagan Mission Secondary School
Grades 9 to 12 - music
Kelowna, British Columbia


“Megan’s focus is not only on improving students’ skills as musicians, but also on their love of music, their positive mental health, their creativity, and their connection to the school and to one another.”


Teaching Approach

Megan’s philosophy is based on mobilisation. Her website says it all “We move students towards music's magical, powerful, engaging, and transcendent powers that arise when we make music that resonates with deeper meaning and personal growth”.

Megan starts with the premise that music is integral to the well-being of her students. While her energy and her approach yield amazing results in the classroom, she also takes her mission to the community, bringing people together around music.

In the Classroom

Megan is at the forefront of digital and creative literacy in the classroom. COVID has only underscored the unique skills that she brings as a leader and innovator in education. As a music director, it would have been easy for her to continue teaching in a traditional manner. However, she has always looked forward and has embraced 21st century learning with digital didactic methods. Needless to say that she was ready for COVID.

Megan’s priority is to engage her students, whether in her music selection, students participating in festivals and concerts, having special guest teachers, partnering with other schools, and promoting music appreciation amongst her students and in the community.

Outstanding achievements

Indigenous music and teachings have always been important to Megan. Growing up in Northern BC, she understands the importance of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and how it must start in the classroom. She has dedicated some of her professional development days to focus on how to incorporate Indigenous culture into her curriculum. In the spirit of respect, she collaborated with the Indigenous community to properly incorporate these teachings and practices.

Core competencies are now a mandatory focus for all teachers in all subjects in the British Columbia curriculum. Megan has been a leader in this area. She devotes particular attention to students acquiring skills in critical thinking, communication, and social competencies. To achieve this, she has students work together, travel together, learn about different cultures, and allows choice in what music students play and how they learn.

Megan’s work is much broader than teaching and playing music. She develops wider interests in music by making it relevant to more and more students. She has cultivated a large music program where students can choose from many music options including choir, concert band, jazz, and commercial music. She also supports students to create their own bands or set up as DJs. The outcome is a richer musical experience where students develop with their own skills and interests.

Megan’s classes have won praise – and numerous awards – for their performances in competitions and music festivals. Many of her students go on to pursue music in post-secondary institutions and take it up as a career. This is the ultimate accolade.

Get in touch!

Okanagan Mission Secondary School
4544 Gordon Drive
Kelowna, BC  V1W 1T4
Twitter: @OKMmedia