A group of friends in Vancouver has been organizing a series of seminars with youth to learn how music and lyrics can promote uplifting concepts that foster a desire to contribute to the betterment of the world.
This project’s name is Media for Transformation and it takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The group has organized five seminars to date. In each seminar they meet for two consecutive weekends where they carry out sessions to study text, write lyrics and music, and produce original songs aimed at adolescent and youth populations.
On the first weekend of a seminar, the group studies together a number of texts, including those used in the Junior Youth Empowerment Program, a Baha’i-inspired initiative that helps adolescents to support each other along a path of service to their communities. The group reflects on the use of language in the texts and how narratives can be built from some of the core concepts. On the following weekend, participants join a writing and recording process, where they spend a lot of time reflecting in small and big groups.
Marie-Celeste Kennedy, an elementary school teacher and participant, reflected after attending the seminars: “The team of facilitators have taken the learning generated in each seminar and applied it to the next. They have been very conscious of creating an environment that could contribute to the most unified approach, especially because of the small amount of time the group has together.”
When a song is written, it is shared with a group of youth for their feedback. They ask the youth: “what do you remember from the song?”, and “what do you understand from this song?”. With that feedback, they make all the necessary modifications to reach the final version of the song, which then is recorded and later on produced and disseminated.
Ms. Kennedy continued, “everybody’s voices were very valued, even with the younger youth… everybody was just rejoicing in each other’s progress”.
The group strives to invite new faces to each seminar in order to provide this opportunity to develop this capacity to more animators. They are also starting to think about producing music for children.
Since the pandemic, they have been creating tutorial videos on how to learn the songs and sharing them on their Instagram page and Youtube channel. The hope is to continue finding creative ways to advance the project, despite current restrictions.
“Everyone had a part to play in it, as it serves a greater purpose… beyond us”, shared Shadi Toloui-Wallace, one of the facilitators. “I have never been in such an inspiring creative process”.