Aaron Burnett has a wealth of experience in early years education. Throughout his teaching career, Aaron always used his acoustic guitar and his love of music to enrich the learning of the students in his care. He has performed across Canada with some of Manitoba's best known bluegrass musicians from the Slavek Hanzlik Band to The Ain't No Mountain Boys, The Keystone Bluegrass Quartet, the Dry River Boys and most recently Spring Thaw.
In an effort to promote bluegrass to a young audience, Aaron decided to create an "album". Taking advantage of his teaching experience, he used the high interest topic of animals native to Canada as his theme for his first children's recording. With a deep love for outdoor activities and wildlife, this seemed a natural place to begin. Having a 'captive' audience to try the songs on proved to be very advantageous as well as educational.
In March of 2001, Aaron began to record the songs he had written opting for traditional bluegrass instrumentation and vocal harmony. He wanted to expose the kids to the rhythmic melodies of bluegrass music as experience had taught him that kids truly enjoyed this genre of music once they heard it. The self-produced recording project was completed in June 2001. The result ...13 wonderful songs and the CD entitled, 'Call of the Wild'..
In February 2002, 'Call of the Wild' was nominated for a Juno Award as Best Children's Recording in Canada. Aaron was honoured to attend the Juno's in St. John's, Newfoundland. Upon his return from the Junos, he played a variety of events around Manitoba including the Winnipeg International Children's Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. In September '02, 'Call of the Wild' received further recognition being nominated for a Prairie Music Award as outstanding children's recording.
In 2003, Aaron extended his "home range" to include Alberta and British Columbia. Because of Call of the Wild's "ecological integrity", he was highly sought after by the national parks and he was honoured to play in Yoho, Banff, Jasper and Riding Mountain. In this "western tour", he was the featured children's performer at western Canada's largest bluegrass festival in Stony Plain, AB.
In 2004, Aaron released his second children's recording, "Get Off the Couch". This wonderful CD is a collection of music with Aaron backed by the musically talented bluegrass musicians, "The Dry River Boys" with Clint Dutiuame guesting on fiddle. Two of Manitoba's finest singers: then 17 year old, Katherine Penfold along with two time Juno Award winner, Steve Bell harmonize beautifully with Aaron on several cuts.
After receiving some 'homework' requests from the national parks, Aaron recorded 'Canadian Critters' in 2006 with 13 more original songs about Canadian animals. He began to receive many requests to do song writing workshops with elementary students.... a great fit for his teaching background. Over the next few years he continued to be a popular performer at libraries, schools, summer fairs, children's festivals and some prestigious folk festivals including Canmore and Winnipeg. Aaron's performances include his wife, Kim leading audiences with some fun actions and American Sign Language to the chorus of many songs. Because of it's popularity and promoting the idea of inclusiveness, the Winnipeg Folk Festival began to have ASL signers for all performers on the children's stage.
In 2011 Aaron was hired to play the grand opening of the Northern Studies Research Centre in Churchill, MB.... an event which featured scientists from all over the world. As a result he was asked to take his music on a week long tour of schools in Nunavut in 2014... a tour Aaron considers a hi-lite of his musical career. Inuit children and elders reinforced the idea of respect for our land and combining that with the concept of sustainability prevalent in song writing workshops in Manitoba schools.... a new album was born. 'Think Green' has 13 original songs pertaining to sustainability with most of the ideas coming from elementary students. Carl Strempler provides some great guitar work and Katherine Penfold returns after 10 years to add some lovely harmony vocals.
In 2016-17 Aaron made two trips to Brazil to tutor teachers at English private schools. During both month long stays he used his Canadian animal songs to aid in the teaching of English. Aaron says it is so heart warming to see grade one students singing his songs with such enthusiasm and 'mimicing' his Canadian accent. The power of music is world wide and ageless.
...Colour-blue; Song-that's tough! It could be anything by Elvis, the Beatles or a Marty Robbins' tune; Animal-grizzly bear; Food-apple pie; Drink-apple juice; Sport to watch-hockey; Sport to play-football; Type of music-bluegrass; Subject at school-social studies; Teacher-Mrs. Fullerton. She was my grade 7 teacher and she turned me on to singing; Thing to do in spare time alone-play mandolin and read; Thing to do in spare time with a friend-go camping
Cool Things Aaron has done...
...Run nine marathons in Canada and the United States... been the Manitoba Chuckwagon Champion...hiked the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska and nearly walked into a grizzly... (photo above)...snorkelled with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef... visited the Grand Palace in Thailand...rang the Peace Bell in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan... cycled the Kettle Valley Railway in BC... worked (we use the term loosely!) on a sheep station in New Zealand...had a sip of water from the Fountain of Youth at Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy... heard some awesome music at the Grand Ol' Opry and Station Inn in Nashville....performed for students in Nunavut on a week long tour.... watched wild polar bears in Churchill, MB....walked on the Great Wall in China.... worked at two schools in Brazil demonstrating the power of music in learning.... visited the site of the first Olympic Games in Greece.