Celebrating 35 years of success in children’s music, BC’s own, Charlotte Diamond, is a multi-award-winning musician, songwriter, and respected educator. Her songs are known world-wide and she has toured internationally.
In 2016, Charlotte was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor-General of Canada for her contribution to children’s music and education in English, French, and Spanish. The presentation was held in Ottawa, August 2017.
Born and raised in Vancouver, she graduated from the University of BC with a Bachelor of Secondary Education in 1969, majoring in Zoology and French. She took further studies at Laval University, Quebec, and taught French, Music, and Choral at New Westminster Secondary School for 10 years. She is a classically trained singer.
Her life-long interest in music became a focus while studying at UBC. She sang with local folk groups, including performing an intro set for Pete Seeger at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in the early 1980s. Singing and writing songs for her own children, she developed music programs in Richmond. This led to local performances and workshops which mushroomed into requests for conferences, educational and family concerts around Vancouver, throughout BC, across Canada, and internationally.
Charlotte is the President of her company, Hug Bug Music. In 1985, she proceeded with the independent production and release of her debut album, “10 Carrot Diamond”, which won the Canadian Juno Award (1986).Charlotte presently has fourteen recordings, a string of awards, including five Parents’ Choice Awards and three American Library Association Awards, two nationally televised videos and two Award-winning Music / Resource Books.
The BC Music Educators Association presented Charlotte with a “Special Distinguished Service Award” in 2019.
Charlotte is trilingual and she was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal “in recognition of her exemplary support of UNICEF”, as well as being named a “Paul Harris Fellow” by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, “in appreciation of significant assistance given to the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”
Charlotte continues to present workshops for conferences on the topic, “The Joy of Singing Inspires a Love of Language, Creativity, and Self-expression”.
Please visit Charlotte’s Web site: www.charlottediamond.com
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
I transferred from Biological Sciences into Second year Elementary Education at UBC and realized immediately that I was in the right place! I was very divided in my interests between Arts and Science as well as my studies in Music. The Education Dept. Two-year program allowed me to follow all of my talents. After my final practicum, I was offered a job in Abbotsford School District and was teaching Grade 7 at the age of 20. I did return to UBC to complete my BEd Secondary degree, teaching again for a year of High School French, between years of studies before graduating in 1969.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
I was very inspired by my studies in Education, as I was eager to teach. I combined all of my skills in my teaching: writing plays and songs with my French students, using all of the Arts in my classes to develop a love of speaking, singing and movement while learning a language. I integrated dance, props, puppets and costumes to bring the languages alive. All of these techniques are used in my musical work and performances with young children. Teachers are often excellent performers! I graduated from the classroom to the bigger stage. It is all education, just a bigger platform. Now, via Zoom, my workshops with teachers are reaching from my studio to their homes and schools as far away as Northern BC and beyond.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
My song-writing and recordings express a multi-cultural and diverse approach. When children sing in different languages, they experience new cultures and rhythms. When themes of kindness, acceptance, cooperation and appreciation of others are valued and discussed in the classroom, inclusion and a welcoming environment are encouraged. Hand to Heart to Head. What we do influences how we feel and what we remember.
I have worked with children of special needs and challenges; and I discovered that we all have talents beyond our challenges that need to be recognized and nurtured. Children on the Autism Spectrum often love music, patterns and singing. Well into adulthood, they can remember songs of childhood joy and be comforted by hearing them again. I often receive emails from young adults that struggle with interpersonal relationships. My song, “Each of us is a Flower” is often mentioned as a touchstone for tapping into good memories. Raising my sons, I was very aware of their feelings of inadequacy and doubt in their teens. Music can lift us up and allow us to move forward and fulfill our dreams.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Never underestimate the power of One. A good idea will attract others and soon you will have a team to support your innovation. Education is a very innovative field of study and work. Teaching brings a connection to the future as we help to shape the talents and wisdom of our students. Look at the challenges that we have all faced this past year 2020, as schools were disrupted and educators had to quickly develop new tools to continue their necessary work. Teachers are truly essential workers. Every day they create small miracles with their children. We need to remind ourselves to Sing, Play, Move and Create every day. I was always amazed by the progress of my Grade 8, 9 and 10 students when every lesson had some element of imagination, discovery and play. My concerts and workshops number in the thousands and I have wonderful memories of them all. Adults still come up to me on the street and ask me to sing, “Je suis une pizza” or “Four Hugs a Day”. What a treat and a blessing!
Make your mark, your contribution and always share what you love to do. The world is waiting!