Recreational Music Making

What is Recreational Music Making?

Recreational Music Making is the act of playing music for the shear joy of it. Music is often thought of as a performance-oriented activity, learning and practicing a piece of music with a view to playing for an audience. Perhaps the easiest way to think of Recreational Music making is to think of a group of people making music in a living room, a park, or at a restaurant, with no goal except to enjoy each other's company and have some fun playing their instruments. Recreational Music can be educational! Learning to play an instrument and working to develop skills is helps people feel a sense of accomplishment and can build self-esteem and community.

People have always played music as a recreational activity. The Recreational Music Making movement is aimed at promoting this practice, which has largely been replaced with performance-oriented and competitive music making. One way this is accomplished is through the training of music making facilitators, people who learn how to make music-making an accessible, fun, and socially-satisfying activity.

Recreational Music is:

  • done for personal satisfaction.
  • not performance-oriented.
  • not competitive or comparative.
  • often geared towards armature musicians.
  • a way of creating positive social experiences.

What does a Facilitator Do?

A Music Facilitator is someone who helps people play music for the fun of it. They use specific techniques to help people access instruments, contribute to the music making, and develop peer-to-peer connections. Facilitators who are trained in the DCM approach learn how to help participants feel included and important to the musical process. They learn how to create a safe and supportive environment for self-expression, risk-taking, learning, and sharing. A DCM Facilitator also learns how to create a wide variety of session formats to meet difference needs, from a birthday party for children to a spiritual retreat for older adults. Facilitators learn how to communicate effectively and respectfully with their participants, making the experience positive, productive, and memorable.

What are some forms of Recreational Music Making?

  • Group drumming, including drum circles and drum ensembles.
  • Community choirs, spiritual singing, and Kirtan (devotional singing)
  • Ukulele and guitar clubs.
  • Jam nights, including various styles; Jazz, Rock, Blue Grass, etc.
  • Community bands, including Rock, Jazz, Classical, etc.
  • Piano/Organ-based Sing-a-longs.

How Does DCM Support Recreational Music Making?

DCM helps Recreational Music Facilitators by providing:

  • tools and strategies to make music fun and accessible.
  • a wide variety of music-based games and activities.
  • interpersonal skills training to promote community and confidence.
  • musical skills training to support group music making.
  • leadership skills to provide guidance and personal support.
  • session plan outlines for a variety of populations.

What is Supportive Music Making?

Supportive Music Making is a service-oriented use of music to provide comfort and companionship to others. Sometimes called "bed-side music making," Supportive Music can be provided to people who are shut-in or unable to participate in Recreational Music Making. A Supportive Music provider is someone who might play, hum, and/or sing, and who otherwise shares a musical experience with another person.

Supportive Music Activities can take the form of:

  • Listening to recorded music with someone else.
  • Playing an instrument for someone.
  • Singing or humming along with someone.
  • Moving or dancing with someone.
  • Sharing any music-based activity.