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Brayden Friesen Celebrates His Mother’s Prize at the Juno Awards

Brayden Friesen Celebrates His Mother’s Prize at the Juno Awards

Published on March 18, 2019

For Brayden Friesen, a trombone student of The Glenn Gould School, the 2019 Juno Awards were a family celebration. He travelled to the ceremony to celebrate his mother, Kim Hastings, who was named Canada’s top music teacher.

Hastings received the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented annually to an educator who strives to preserve music education in their community.
Brayden Friesen and family
Brayden Friesen, Mark Friesen, Kim Hastings, and Carter Friesen at the 2019 Juno Awards Gala.

“It’s very humbling,” says Hastings, who has spent 27 years teaching music at Pioneer Middle School in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. “I feel blessed to share my passion with young people.”

Friesen feels a huge amount of pride in his mother’s achievement. “I know first-hand how hard she has worked over the years—believe me, it's hard work.”

He credits his mother for introducing him to the trombone, a decision he recognizes as life-changing. “I first picked up the trombone in her band room, and it was under her baton that I had my first positive experiences with the instrument.” 

“She showed us how fun it could be to make music with your friends, and, most importantly, she showed all of us kids what it felt like to work hard at something and to be proud of the product. She was the first to introduce me to that indescribable feeling, which I keep chasing and using as inspiration to this day.”

“Music students have the opportunity to feel the joy and satisfaction of achieving something beautiful,” Hastings adds. “They work hard and then they experience joy.”

Given Hastings’ dedication to music education, she is understandably proud to see both Brayden and her younger son Carter pursue careers in music. It was Brayden’s experience as a music student in Toronto – including his time at The Glenn Gould School – that ultimately inspired him to pursue performance as his calling.

“The Glenn Gould School has provided me with so many great musical experiences and opportunities to grow and improve as a musician,” says Friesen. “Being able to work with so many great musicians over my time here has been extremely beneficial to my artistic development. We also get to work with world-renowned conductors, and every day is spent in a beautiful facility.” 

Friesen reserves special praise for Gordon Wolfe, Principal Trombone with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and his primary teacher at The Glenn Gould School. “His energy and passion keep music fresh and interesting, and he has been a very close mentor to me.”

“Absolutely, Gord has had a significant impact on Brayden,” affirms Hastings. “He chose to study at The Glenn Gould School specifically to work with Gord. Brayden has been very grateful for the many amazing opportunities he has had as a result.”

Among those achievements was the opportunity to perform with the TSO – his debut – when Wolfe was unexpectedly unable to play.

Hastings is undeniably proud of her son’s successes as a musician, though she never loses sight of the impact music education has on individuals regardless of the career they pursue.

“Music is what makes us human. It brings joy to our lives. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn an instrument.”

To find a music teacher near you, visit The Royal Conservatory’s National Music Teacher Directory

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The Glenn Gould School is supported by funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Arts Training Fund, and from the Ontario Arts Council.