Kind Music is one of our newest workshops from The Kindness Campaign! We are so excited to share Kind Music with kids in the Austin community.
In Kind Music, we teach emotional health skills through song writing technique. Kind Music also helps put musicians back to work: lyrics generated in each Kind Music session are turned into a real, recorded song by independent artists.
A Summer Youth Leadership Program was offered through APD (Austin Police Department) this past summer, focusing on underserved youth: middle school and high school. It was held at Dobie Middle School and College Prep Academy, and a variety of workshops were offered by various partners: UT School of Nursing, a financial literacy group, Austin Humane Society, Families in Nature, Austin Office of Civil Rights were all in attendance, providing hands-on workshops to program students.
The Kindness Campaign was there as well, and Kind Music was led by three of our team members: Gavin Jasper, Toi Johnson and Andra Liemandt. We led it on a TV for attendees to follow along, and watch program modules. We also printed out worksheets for everyone to participate and write their own song lyrics.
Often, these workshops start out at a super surface level: we can start out with something incredibly simple, like a pen. What does this pen remind you of? “Well, it reminds me of going to school…and that makes me nervous…because I’m not doing well in school, and my mom is mad about it.” That’s when we tell them: yes! We can take those emotions, and create music lyrics out of our real, authentic experience.
We could initially feel that the kids were a little nervous and hesitant: they felt like they didn’t know how to write a song. However, by the end when they were invited to come up and share – their song lyrics, their band names, etc. – EVERYONE raised their hand, wanting to come up and engage! They were secure in what they had done!
The final song that resulted was AMAZING, creative and engaging. Gavin put it all together and tracked / recorded lyrics, to make the final product: a song, written by the kids! That is what Kind Music is aiming to do; help kids share their experiences and feelings through music and artistic expression.
There was tons of laughter in the room, and so much excitement because the kids felt like they were one big band. A lot of learning happened that day: lots of the kids wanted to take their song lyrics with them, and all were eager to hear what the song would sound like once it was finished.
We get so much out of engaging with the kids in the community…learning what they were, feeling and what they’re experiencing. Our hope is that when they walk away, they have a feeling of: “this is just scratching the surface of what I’m capable of, and what I can do.”
When we experience joy, it opens the door to possibilities in our life, and we hope the kids realized that after leaving their experience with Kind Music. Because during these one-hour sessions, we found joy together.