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Dawson City student awarded music scholarship

Riley Elliott looks toward music career
Dawson City resident Riley Elliott has been awarded a MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship. (MusiCounts/Submitted)

For Dawson resident Riley Elliott, a $3,500 scholarship means she will be able to purchase the equipment needed to work on recording and producing her own musical pieces as she also learns from those working in the music industry.

In early October, MusiCounts, a charity focused on music education, announced the winners of its 2022 Amplify Scholarship, which aims to “amplify the aspirations of 15 – 18 year olds with an interest in pursuing a career path in music”.

Elliott is among 11 youth across the country to receive the 2022 scholarship.

In an Oct. 11 interview, Elliott said she was pleased when she learned she would receive the funding, that she plans to put towards equipment, along with the mentorship opportunities available through the scholarship.

“It makes life easier,” the 17-year-old Robert Service School student said.

She noted that while she’s been able to access the music room at her school during lunch hours to play and record music, the funding will allow her to purchase her own laptop and microphone, giving her more time to produce, play and record from the comfort of home.

The mentorships bring a lot of opportunities to learn from those in the business, she added.

Elliott said she’s always enjoyed music as a hobby, performing at little venues around Dawson and wanted to look at career options in the field.

It was at a girls rock camp she attended where she discovered her love for production, performance and stage tech work, returning to later sessions of the camp as a teen mentor. In that role she also found a love of teaching and helping others with their performances and song writing.

“Similar to most teenage girls, my aspirations tend to change almost daily,” she said. “One of the few dreams that has always had a place in my career plans is working in the music industry. I am well aware of the fact that it is an industry that many people don’t succeed in so I know that if I want to make my dream a reality I have to take every opportunity I am presented with and use it to learn and take steps towards a successful career in the music industry.”

Exactly what route Elliott might take in pursuing her music career isn’t known just yet. As she explained, she’s considering post-secondary schools with good music programs and courses, along with other studies, but she hasn’t reached a decision on where she might apply.

She’s looking forward to learning from those in the industry through the scholarship as she considers her options.

Nick Godsoe, MusiCounts manager of programs and education, said that providing opportunities for youth to learn how they can pursue careers in the field is exactly what the scholarship, and many of MusiCounts programs, aim to do.

In Elliott’s case, it was her ambition that made her stand out when officials were reviewing scholarship applications.

“We want to celebrate that,” he said, noting the organization also works to create opportunities for those in communities across the country.

MusiCounts is currently working on developing the mentorship opportunities that will best suite scholarship winners like Elliott in each of their particular interests.

Nominations for the next Amplify scholarships are anticipated to be accepted again in 2023.

MusiCounts also has a number of other programs including its annual Accelerate scholarship for those studying music at the post-secondary level, its teacher of the year award, inspired minds ambassador award, along with funding and resource programs for school and non-profit music programs.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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