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Brendan E. Hagan: passion, class, excellence

Year: 2019 – Province: Alberta

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Brendan E. Hagan

Instrumental music 10, 20, 30, Band 15, 25, 35
Western Canada High School, Calgary, Alberta

"In addition to his students' musical development, Mr. Hagan prioritizes the development of his students as people first and foremost. Always making himself available and being willing to talk with students about their challenges and problems is characteristic of Mr. Hagan."  — Parent

Students (325 at last count) flock to Brendan Hagan's unique and complex band program at Calgary's largest inner-city school and, then they can't stay away. Each June, hundreds of alumni return for the school's year-end concert, held at a Calgary concert hall.

Teaching approach

Brendan's primary goal for his band program is to communicate three messages to students: he cares; there are no limits to what they can accomplish; he will support them all the way. He never turns anyone away, working constantly to support students' well-being, goals and overall direction.

In the classroom

  • Integrates technology into all aspects of band program: scanned and uploaded enlarged scores to a computer to enabled a legally blind student to participate; grads prepare 10-minute video reflecting on their musical development over their three years in band.
  • Instils respect for the band as a team involved in a highly cooperative effort that requires dedication and punctuality (even for 7 a.m. practices) but that rewards them for their work ethic and commitment to a community of peers who share in their musical development.
  • Prioritizes unique formative learning opportunities over striving for awards: students work with teaching faculty from several universities; through partnership with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, professional musicians coach students individually and in small groups.
  • Expands music instruction beyond playing instruments: students from across the city create electronic music with state-of-the-art hardware and software; others learn the principles of composing traditional orchestral music; school bands have played three student-written pieces.

Outstanding achievements

  • Founded Band Leadership Executive to place the work, success and ownership of the band program in student hands: this group of Grade 11s and 12s takes care of room organization, fundraising, social events, merchandise design and sales, and social media.
  • Arranged a partnership with broadcasting company to raise more than $75,000 for specialized instrumental music instruction.
  • Has led five international tours for a total of 850 students to attend workshops with faculty at university and college music schools, hear world-famous orchestra and tour cultural institutions.

Get in touch!

Western Canada High School
641-17 Avenue, SW
Calgary AB T2S 0B5
Twitter: @WesternRedhawks

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