About Us

Themes & Variations
the Creators of Musicplay

At Themes & Variations
, our mission is to provide a quality music education to all children by providing excellent curriculum materials that schools can afford. Since the beginnings of this company in 1995 in Denise Gagne's family room, we have been innovators in music education - the first Canadian curriculum with CD recordings, the first North American publisher to include PowerPoints or Projectable PDFs with products, and the first Canadian online curriculum resource. We've been nominated for a Western Canadian music award, won the Telus Business challenge in 2014, and won the Canadian College of Teacher's award for project of the year. We continue to innovate with the creation of the MusicplayOnline.com curriculum, that is used worldwide by more than 6,000 schools!

The company was founded by music teacher Denise Gagne. Denise has taught band, choir and classroom music from pre-school to college since 1978 and holds degrees in music and education as well as certification in Kodaly and Orff training. Her choirs and bands have won many awards at music festivals and have performed for local and national sporting events, on national radio and even for the Queen. Denise has authored many of the Themes & Variations publications and is now the managing editor of the company. 

Themes & Variations was created as a sole proprietorship in 1994 and was incorporated in 1997. We have an excellent staff led by Leanne Holloway, Business Manager, and Carey-Lyn Holt, Content and Development Manager. Our team provides exceptional service to schools filling orders quickly and efficiently. Support is provided to teachers through workshops, newsletters, website links and e-mail. We have more than 18,000 teachers on our email newsletter list and we send our brochures annually to all English speaking schools in Canada.

Our company provides materials that are written by practicing teachers – these materials are very practical and are successful when used in the classroom. Teachers like the affordability of the materials, especially when compared to similar products. The majority of products that Themes & Variations sells are its own publications and recordings.

The publication of the Musicplay textbook for teaching music in the schools marked a milestone in Canada. This was the first Canadian music curriculum published since 1989. We have continually updated the program with many new recordings and in 2010 released a digital edition of the student guides that included the new recordings. An important part of our success has been providing workshops to teachers. We give between 25-50 workshops each year at conferences, school district professional development days, provincial, state, national and international conferences. Denise Gagne has been the primary clinician for workshops but more presenters are now available.

Denise’s resume includes presentations at:
ISME 2006 – International Society of Music Educators Conference;
– Music Educators National Conference in the USA;
AOSA – American Orff Shulwerk Assocation National Conference;
45 state conferences and provincial conferences in every province of Canada.