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Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

SECTIONS:

SECTIONS: Music for Sustainable Community Development Music for Mental and Physical Health COUNTRIES: Multi-National: Canada, Switzerland, United States of America PROJECT: EMPOWERING INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES THROUGH GROUP IMPROVISATION: MUSIC FOR PEOPLE DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1986, Music for People (MFP) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a humanistic approach to the way music is taught, performed and appreciated, using free improvisation as its medium. Music for People programs throughout the world are open to anyone at all levels of musical experience. MFP creates safe environments where people can play instruments and sing with no prerequisites to read notes or know a common musical vocabulary. MFP‘s philosophy is embodied in a ―musical bill of rights‖ (http://www.musicforpeople.org/rights.html) that profoundly respects the creative impulse in every person. It differs from music schooling in two key ways: one, it uses free improvisation as the starting place for musical interactions, and most importantly, its work takes place in an atmosphere dedicated to encouragement and positive feedback. Music for People‘s training programs provide candidates with a curriculum in the fundamentals of music improvisation across musical styles that span ethnic cultures and time periods, and in the key elements of humanistic workshop facilitation. The goal is to empower individuals to spread music making as an activity everyone can take part in, starting with the communities in which they reside. Its four-year training programs meet quarterly and place equal emphasis on musicianship development and workshop facilitation in small and large educational or therapeutic groups. The workshops are hosted in the USA and in Switzerland. The basic activities of Music for People are summarized in the book Return to Child. Any combination of people can make music together. Listening is the most important of all musical skills. In a social context, listening is mindfulness; it is sensitivity and awareness to what is around us. Listening is not just a perceptual skill to identify notes and rhythms, it is a key element of nonverbal social intelligence. Deep listening inspires authentic response, which is the key to making social connections with others. Imitation allows interaction through which players connect in sound, learning to blend, harmonize, contrast, support, stand out, be heard and be silent. These musical skills foster and amplify the social awareness and mindfulness one needs to react appropriately in non-musical contexts. The combination of musicianship training and leadership training, conducted in an atmosphere of deep respect for every person makes Music for People unique in its ability to inspire pedagogical and therapeutic approaches. Leaders with Music for People training can be found in music education classrooms, music therapy sessions, recreational music making, drum circles, rituals, and other forums where the power of music is used to focus group attention, provide transcendent meaning, and create a sense of community through bonding and fellowship. CURRENT STATUS: Music for People has graduated over 100 teachers who represent Music for People‘s principles and techniques. Certified MFP teachers complete a four-year program of musicianship and leadership emphasizing the role of free improvisation in both contexts. The workshops take place mainly in the eastern United States (New York and Pennsylvania), with a sister program in 68

Kiental, Switzerland. In addition, Music for People staff and graduates hold workshops throughout the USA and in several European countries. Its work expands through contributions from gifted educators, composers, therapists, and organizers. Music for People is funded through individual payment for workshops and through private donations. Continued financial support is sought to sustain the growth of both the organization and its work, including its workshops, teacher certification program, and expanded member services. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: The laudatory testimonial information about Music for People is anecdotal rather than researchbased. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: www.musicforpeople.org www.returntochild.com www.darlingconversations.com Publications: James Oshinsky (2008). Return to Child: Music for People’s Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Group Leadership. Return to Child describes Music for People‘s improvisational techniques and its teaching philosophies for musicianship and leadership. This publication can be ordered from: http://www.returntochild.com/ All proceeds benefit Music for People. The Darling Conversations (Producer, Clint Goss). The Darling Conversations comprise a 3-CD audio mini-class in Music for People philosophies and activities with cellist David Darling, Music for People co-founder and educator Julie Weber. Published by: Manifest Spirit Records, 6 Fieldcrest Road, Westport, CT 06880-2628. A portion of the sale supports the MFP organization. Miller, Eric (2011). Bio-Guided Music Therapy: A Practitioner's Guide to the Clinical Integration of Music and Biofeedback. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Dr. Miller‘s book summarizes brain research involving the participation of clients in improvisational and rhythmic entrainment activities, among other music therapy interventions. CONTACT INFORMATION: Organization: Music for People Address: P.O. Box 397, Goshen, CT 06756 Phone: 860-491-3763 Contact Person: Bonnie Darling, Office Manager Email: mfp@musicforpeople.org 69

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