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Musicking for Community Resilience

This evening, we went to see the movie Tomorrowland and were really moved.  The basic plot of the movie is that the world is going to end in 59 days and robots as well as humans ban together to try to save the earth from certain destruction.  A teenage girls optimistic outlook changes the course of the future.  After they successfully save the earth from apocalypse, they go into the world and recruit other dreamers to continue to make advances for a better world.  The first new recruit was a musician, then scientists, mathematicians, engineers, etc., etc.  Okay, this is a really poor synopsis of the movie… But it was really great and I would highly recommend it!  I especially love the message that anyone with a dream can change the world.  In the movie, a pin with a T on it is featured as a kind of portal into another world where dreamers and inventors can pursue their higher calling.


I was thinking about teaching and how meaningful the words “You’re Special” can be to a student.  I think I am going to buy a ton of these pins and hand them out to students who share their dream with others, who have the desire and passion to make the world a better place.  I will say to them, “You are the key to Tomorrow’s Success.” Or something similarly cheesy!  Something meaningful that they will remember.

I know that education is one of the best ways to change the world, and I was thinking what role I might be able to play as a music teacher.  I realize that my influence can be great in spite of the role of “elective” teacher, students are emotionally invested when they are in my classroom, and I think this is key to making powerful change.

Tonight, my husband was talking about a project that they are working on at his job where they are trying to help communities bounce back after shocking events (Nepal after the earthquake perhaps).  They are thinking about hiring an artist to promote community resilience.  Which is an interesting idea, but I thought… what the people really need (besides the essentials of water, food, shelter) is perhaps some kind of therapy.  A way to work through their fears, emotions, and issues from the event.  I thought it would be incredible to send out music and art teachers to encourage community gatherings around expression.  And then I thought, perhaps this is what I need to have my students work on on a small scale.

This year, I am going to try to get them to go into nursing homes and hospitals, and encourage the patients to make music.  Bring shakers, guitars, small drums, and practice our own kind of small-town music therapy.  To make a real difference within our own community.  I would also love to see my students more involved with music making and spreading in our local community.  I will continue to think of other opportunities to help others this summer and will create a more specific Making a Difference with Music campaign.  Perhaps I will even turn it into a qualitative study to see what difference this campaign really makes. Change is exciting!

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