Music Factory Project

Brief Description

The Music Factory Project took place in Cold Lake, Stoney Nation, and Calgary. It was designed to enrich the lives of vulnerable, at-risk youth so that they may experience success, improve self-esteem, build confidence, develop team work and other job related skills, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty, unemployment, and dysfunctional behaviour. Programming was offered through many schools, service agencies and the Calgary Young Offenders Centre.


The main goals of the Calgary Music Factory Project are to:

  • Increase school completion rates;
  • Decrease the level of criminal, violent and/or gang related activity in Calgary children and youth;
  • Provide individual music lessons, music instruments and music workshop involvement for youth showing promise and not engaging in criminal activities; and
  • Generate musical experiences in existing community facilities and in partnership with like-minded individuals and organizations.


The appropriate clientele for the Calgary Music Factory Project are youth  between the ages of 9 and 20 years, living in poverty, living with inconsistent parenting, suffering from physical/sexual/emotional abuse, at high risk and vulnerable of being drawn into criminal activity, and/or vulnerable of being victims of violent crimes. The primary groups of concern were local children and youth, immigrant and Aboriginal children that have recently moved to Calgary, and children and youth who live on reserve.

Youth were identified through referrals from Calgary Police Services' Yard (Youth At Risk Development) Program, MASST (Multi Agency School Support Team), School Police Resource Officers and School Personnel, Community Based Children's Services Programs and families concerned about their child's 'acting out' behavior.

Core Components

The project had four distinct elements including:

  • The provision of musical instruments;
  • Weekly individualized music lessons;
  • Workshops that address a range of music related topics like song writing, recording, sound engineering and performing; and
  • Potentially the most important element, long-term mentoring -with a number of youth still with the same instructor after 3-4 years.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The Legacy Children’s Foundation, through their Gift of Music (GOM) programs, provides music programming throughout many diverse communities of Alberta.
  • Partnerships: Legacy Children’s Foundation; Calgary Police Services' Yard (Youth At Risk Detail) Program; MASST (Multi Agency School Support Team); School Police Resource Officers and School Personnel; Community Based Children's Services Programs.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Music Factory Project took place in Cold Lake, Stoney Nation, and Calgary. Programming was offered through many schools, service agencies and the Calgary Young Offenders Centre. These facilities are where lessons and workshops occurred - working in 17 ‘high-risk’ communities in Calgary. There were approximately 100 participants from the city of Calgary, Alberta.

The Calgary Music Factory Project received funding from 2011 to 2014 from the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the various Music Factory Projects. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • For every dollar invested in the each project, the 3 year averages of $10.32, $13.83, and $8.86 in social value was created for Cold Lake, Calgary and Stoney Nation respectively; and
  • The value is created through reduction in: school counseling and teacher aids; behavioural and special education; addictions counseling; property crime; police call outs and investigations; youth court process; child and youth services costs; high school drop-out; long-term involvement with the adult criminal justice system.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Music Factory Project. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

Legacy Children’s Foundation
Darryl Wernham
Telephone: 403-244-3074

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-01
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: