Community and Health

By Kalani • November 25th, 2011

Most of us love to participate in community events. They give us a chance to share something we're passionate about, help us understand each other, celebrate our similarities and differences, and help us feel connected to each other.

Community music making has a long tradition in visually all cultures. Throughout history, music has been, and continues to be, at the core of community gatherings at all stages of life. From birthday parties to celebrations of life, from the most personal milestones to events of national scale, music is with us–our ever-present partner.

There are as many forms of community music making as there as people. From sing-a-longs in local taverns to corporate drumming events, to blue-grass jams and community orchestras. from jazz-oritented 'open-mic' nights and drum circles on the beach, music binds us and helps form bonds that words alone cannot.

Working to nurture personal and interpersonal growth is at the core of the community music leader/facilitator/guide. No matter the particular form, whether it be drumming, singing, or even laughter, the basic principles of community music facilitation are universal. The goal is to improve the quality of both the individual and group experience.

A skilled guide can help produce profound outcomes that no one would have expected. Using basic strategies that help include people in the creative process, encourage full cooperation and participation in an equitable environment, and guide participants towards feelings of appreciation is what we do as facilitators and leaders.

The musical content may change. The instrumentation may vary. The demographic may change, but the principles of inclusion, cooperation and appreciation are ever-present and universal in application. We can provide the guidance and support people need without being overly controlling, taking a strong leader role, or disempowering the group. We can shine the light forward from the rear, illuminating the path while allowing people to effectively lead themselves–and we can do it in a way that maintains everyones sense of self-determination.

As community music leaders, we share values of respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion that parallel those of caregivers. We help provide nurturing experiences that allow participants to gain insights, realize their full creative potential and celebrate each individual through a shared community process.

Our work helps reduce anxiety, improve self-concept, boost self-esteem, strengthen community bonds, bring forward issues to be resolve, reduces conflict, and promotes an understanding between participates–even when they speak different languages.

Music making is something that we can all do, regardless of age, gender, culture, socio-economic status, and life circumstance. Where there is a desire, there can be music. It doesn't matter if instruments are available or not. It doesn't matter how much time we have. It doesn't matter if we are trained or not. We will always find a way to create from whatever is available–and we will make the most basic music as profound as the most elaborate symphonic works.

Community music making is a wonderful way to share, grow and celebrate life and each other. If you have a special way that you create community music making opportunities for people, please share it below. Tell us about your work and why you believe in the power of music.

Aloha!

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