AR Kaufman School getting new instruments
​through MusiCounts program

Dance Agapieva-Vasileska plays a xylophone that AR Kaufman received through a grant from the Waterloo Teachers’ Choir last year. The school is receiving more instruments this year through a grant from MusiCounts Canada. Photo by Carrie Debrone
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by Helen Hall
Kitchener Citizen
May 11, 2021

​​​Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all teachers, but particularly for those who teach music.

​Safety procedures are very stringent in the music room.

​“I did lots of cleaning last year,” says Dance Agapieva-Vasileska, who teaches music from grades one to eight at AR Kaufman School in Kitchener. “But the kids were so happy. It was worth it,” she says.

​​Those students will be even happier in September when they return to school to find that, through Agapieva-Vasileska’s efforts, AR Kaufman has received $8,000 worth of new instruments from MusiCounts Canada.

​​The music education charity recently announced that it has donated $1-million worth of instruments, equipment, and resources to 95 schools across Canada through its MusiCounts Band Aid Program. The MusiCounts Band Aid Program grants up to $15,000 for high-need schools to furnish or refurbish their music programming.

​​AR Kaufman is one of the 21 schools in Ontario that received money from MusiCounts, and the only one in Waterloo Region.

​​This was Agapieva-Vasileska’s second application to the MusiCount’s program, her first one being unsuccessful. She is a classically trained pianist who began teaching at AR Kaufman two years ago.

​​Agapieva-Vasileska said that music is her “passion” and she was disappointed when she arrived at the school to find that many of its instruments were “old or broken.” She learned about the MusiCounts program from a Child and Youth Worker at the school, Stacey Kuenzler, who encouraged her to apply.

​​After her first attempt was unsuccessful, she attended a Coalition for Music Education workshop, which works with the MusiCounts organization, to learn more about it before applying a second time. In her second application, she pitched buying Orff instruments for the school.

​​For many of AR Kaufman’s students, English is not their first language. Orff instruments are used in music, movement, dance, and speech. They include small percussion instruments, as well as soprano, alto, and bass xylophones and metallophones, and soprano and alto glockenspiels.

​​“This is why I thought Orff instruments would be the best approach for this school,” she said. This application was successful and the school should have all the instruments by the end of May.

​​“It’s unbelievable,” Agapieva-Vasileska said. “We are so excited.” Her purchases include Boom-whackers (handheld percussion instruments that are easy to clean) and glockenspiels, xylophones and metallophones.

​​ Her long range plan is to also get traditional band instruments as the children use the Orff instruments to learn music theory.

​​Agapieva-Vasileska said she is grateful to the Long and McQuade music store for its support in helping her find the Orff instruments at an affordable price.

​​MusiCounts is only able to support 25 percent of schools that seek support from the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. To learn about the program, visit