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a long day swimming

Chilean Bagpipes end the day

Posted in: by Pete Moser on 16 July 2014
Tagged with: ISME 2014

Early morning waking and off to the beach for a swim. My weeks of regular pool swimming in the UK pay off as I swim back and forth in the swell. Fantastic start to what turns out to be a day of mixed moods. I have my workshop to prepare for 4pm and as usual it worries me. I feel I am representing the young people we work with and I want to make sure that I say the right things - give the right message - and at the same run an engaging workshop session that throws some ideas into the mix. A triple agenda.
The themes for today are all very diverse for me. My old friend Lee Higgins presents a very academic line of thought around "Community Music Therapy" - a new concept for me. As he shares his thoughts about how scholarship develops practice I keep trying to work out - HOW! The answers are not obvious - or maybe it is about a length of time for research to come down to the people doing work in the communities.

Then another great friend Phil Mullen explains the Youth Music Mentoring project - explains the process, the report, the learning - and again I wonder how it has fed down to our work in the North West. It was a limited funding scheme and although the big report has been shared widely - how are we using it ? What mentoring are we doing ? A great thought from his session is that through the mentoring young people learn STRATEGIC THINKING.  

Hmmmm we could all use a bit more of that learning !

The third session of the day (before 10.30 am !!) is by Alicia and describes the Action Research she is carrying out in the rich classical music loving city of Munich. It is gathering practice, academia and policy into a room to think about the future of CM in that specific context. What do I learn ? That if we are serious about strategic development we must spend more time in the room of policy development (not my favourite place!)
We are AGENTS OF CHANGE - and then I write ANGELS OF CHANGE and think of the great people in our communities who work like Angels!
The afternoon sessions are all in Portuguese with great simultaneous translation. They talk about Collective String teaching, DJ and music tech projects and finally a presentation from an MA student that ends up sharing work by this band : have a listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdsNpORDJjI.
The themes of the afternoon for me are all about outcomes and expectation. Are we looking for musical, educative or socio political changes?
There is much talk about how we are aiming work towards young people in challenging circumstances yet how much of the work we do actually challenges the policy makers and politicians (local and national) to change the circumstances that are make these lives challenging. It can be about individual and community resilience and confidence - and we know how that really works. It can be about the advocacy that attempts to sustain and develop the life changing work.
Can it also be about direct political action that changes the STATUS QUO - one of my thoughts for the day.

This is a long day and continues for me with my workshop on Youth Leadership in Action in Brazil and the UK. The session is active - works well - shares the concepts and is creative in a number of ways. Hooray! We sing, make a list of reasons to give power to our groups (see the gallery) and end up doing a version of the Hothouse young peoples song - Building Bridges.

The evening is another story - suffice it to say it includes an inspiring conversation about HARLEM SAMBA, an abortive trip to a major football match between Bahia and Sao Paulo and a couple of beers at an open mike session which featured amazing south american folk on accordion, fiddle, guitar and pandeiro and also a solo spot for a Chilean bagpipe!