Director, Humber Community Music School
Director, Youth Jazz Canada
Director, Intro to Commercial/Jazz Music program, Humber College
“I believe in music. I believe in education. And I believe in the individual. Jazz embraces all three.” Catherine Mitro is profoundly inspired by the power of music and passionate about paving the way for gifted youth to develop their talent and achieve success.
In 1980, Mitro started the Humber Community Music School (CMS), the first music education program in Canada to use jazz as a vehicle for teaching music to young children. The CMS provides a unique experience for the budding recreational musician from as young as age 3 up through to the highest levels of performance training.
Building on her deep connections with the international jazz community, Mitro makes it possible for top-level students to be mentored by some of the finest musicians in jazz.
Graduates of the program have gone on to great success, receiving more than 200 gold awards at MusicFest Canada (where Mitro is now a member of the Hall of Fame) and more than $2 million in scholarship offers from schools across North America. They have been nominated for Juno Awards, signed record deals, travelled the world and built careers as musicians and teachers.
The success and achievements of CMS paved the way for the establishment of a national training program called Youth Jazz Canada. This initiative provides Canada’s most talented youth, from age 14 to postsecondary, with the highest level of pre-professional training in jazz performance available in the country.
Mitro emphasizes that it was her early experience as a student at Humber that provided the skills and knowledge to make CMS a reality. “Humber introduced me to jazz and opened my eyes, my ears and my mind to a new way of understanding music,” she says. “I believed that elements of this music were to be shared with every student, from the very beginning of their training.”