Every musician has a unique story to tell when it comes to how they fell in love with the art. For Christina Beharry, it was a toy piano that initially sparked her interest in music. That toy piano ultimately led to real piano lessons and from there Christina had the opportunity to learn a number of different instruments including trumpet, trombone, baritone euphonium and french horn throughout school. Her interest in music has opened up a world of performance opportunities and collaborations with the Coalition for Music Education as well as with Lynn Tucker in the Arts, Culture and Media department at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Just one year ago, Christina was invited by some friends to attend the Coalition for Music Education’s first symposium in Toronto. A passion was ignited and there began a long and rewarding partnership. Music, what began as a hobby, quickly became a focus in Christina’s life. Now one year later, Christina has assumed the role of Co-Chair with the newly established Youth4Music Toronto Hub. She recently helped to plan and co-host the second Youth4Music Toronto Leadership Symposium, which took place at Ryerson University on November 26, 2016. Christina’s long term vision for the Hub is to see more students at the high school level engaged in music advocacy and leadership.

The impact of that first symposium did not end there. Christina is currently pursuing a project called ‘For the Love of Music’ stemming from her experience at the symposium. She has recently applied for the Youth Opportunities Fund and intends to establish a group in the Scarborough area where students will have the opportunity to learn skills and express themselves through music. Inspired by the Coalition for Music Education, Christina has reached out to the staff to be her mentors for the project.

Christina is serving as an active community leader all while pursuing studies as a full time student. She has recently completed a degree in psychology focusing on mental health studies at the University of Toronto in Scarborough and is continuing her studies at the graduate level in behavioural science at Seneca college. Christina reflects on what music means to her saying, “Arts are what keep me going, honestly. Music specifically is just such a huge part of my life.” Not a day goes by where she doesn’t listen to music and explore new genres. Planning to pursue a masters in development psychology, Christina sees so much opportunity to combine music with her studies and explore how it affects our mental health and well being. The ultimate goal for Christina is to advocate for the healing power of music and use it as a tool through which to reach people.

So how did Christina find a way to pursue her passion for music while also maintaining her science studies? She attributes that to networking and always finding opportunities to meet new people. You never know who you may be able to help or who may lead you in the right direction. She encourages youth to never underestimate the power of reaching out to others.

**If you are interested in learning more about ‘For the Love of Music,’ contact Christina Beharry at cdbeharry@gmail.com