Learning that he’d been named as one of six national winners of the NUFSICISUM Award came as a big surprise to Jordan Middleton. He found out alongside his Grade 8 classmates, when his music teacher revealed that there was a winner in the class, and played the video of the official NUFSICISUM announcement from the Music Monday celebration at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. 

“It feels awesome to have caring people around me who nominated me without my knowledge,” Jordan said in reaction to this announcement. Among those caring people, whom Jordan credits for supporting and nurturing his musical endeavours, are his grandparents, his music teachers, and his piano instructor. 

Jordan has been interested in music all his life, and describes being “fascinated by the different keys on the piano and the sounds they made” from as young as age one. It was seven years later, when his grandparents gave him an electric piano for Christmas at the age of eight, that Jordan began formal lessons. And while he continues to study the piano (he starts his day by practicing for 45 minutes before school), Jordan has more recently discovered a passion for woodwinds. Inspired by one of his cousins, Jordan decided to learn the clarinet when he began in Grade 6 band, but later switched to saxophone. He began to hit his stride with saxophone in Grade 7, and that year he received an alto sax for Christmas.

Since then, Jordan has remained an active and dedicated member of his school’s music program, playing in several ensembles, and forming a music leadership club with classmates in order to keep the community informed about the school’s upcoming music events. Jordan also formed his own sax quartet, and had the opportunity to work with the Proteus Quartet through the Gift of Music’s outreach program linking professional musicians with young students. He counts this has his most memorable experience in his school’s music program, especially working with the soprano sax player. “He really inspired me to the point where I busked all summer” to raise money for a soprano sax of his own. 

Jordan is a firm believer in the importance of music education, seeing benefits for students such as developing critical thinking, problem solving, and listening skills. Plus, it’s fun! Jordan says that music is his passion and his ultimate dream is to attend Juilliard. In the meantime, he plans to continue playing in as many ensembles as possible in high school, and busking in town. He also encourages other youth to find what they are passionate about and to lead by example, through inspiring others with the love of what they do. “Passion is the most important part of leadership.”