Friday, February 26, 2010

Planning Meeting This Sunday (Feb 28th) in Oakland, California!

Meeting *OPEN TO ALL* to plan Oakland's participation in UN-sponsored International Day of Peace.

St Paschal Baylon church
3700 Dorisa Ave, Oakland, CA 94605
(Golf Links Road exit off hwy 580)
[map & directions here]

For more details, see Listen for Life "Peace Day 2010" page.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Campaign volunteers and musicians sought for life-changing opportunity

There is an exciting new campaign about to be launched worldwide. Starting with our elementary school children, it can definitely make a permanent difference in the lives (and communities!) of the next generation. This program is called the MusicMessage Campaign and it needs the help of every single one of you to make it effective!

Here's the scoop:
During our various LfL outreach projects both nationally and internationally, we have become convinced that the music and lyrics our young people listen to, profoundly affect their cultural attitudes about themselves and others, and consequently impact their behavior and therefore the communities where they grow up. Three powerful reminders of this fact, recently, have been:

1) in media interviews with the youth being tried in the Richmond, CA gang rape, newspaper articles quoted them as saying that their music taught them cultural attitudes that females had no value and were not "human", and that rape was a positive action, etc...
2) at the Oakland International Film Festival a few months back, there was a film called "Through the Walls" - this groundbreaking documentary video was created inside San Quentin Prison by the inmates themselves, and in their own "language" and style of rap music, several inmates acknowledge that the lyrics and music that their gang cultures had adopted, had absolutely been the single largest influence upon the negative thinking and violent actions that landed them in prison.

Our Listen for Life music listeners, volunteers, musicians and educators all concluded that if music can be used as a powerful weapon for inciting violence and negativity, then it has equal, if not greater, power for good – but that power and potential will remain largely untapped (at the conscious level) until we demonstrate the possibilities, and inspire the next generation to deliberately view (and use) music as a positive unifying force.

So, we're inaugurating a new LFL program we've called "Musicmessages" that could help turn this situation around in a positive, concrete, cross-cultural and creative way, starting with the youth - our next generation - who are most vulnerable and easily influenced by the music listening choices of their older siblings and relatives surrounding them.
To make this happen, we need volunteer organizers, admin assistants, teacher training assistants, educators, youth, parents, presenters, and positive, inspiring musicians of all ages, cultures, languages and every single location, large or small, on the planet!
We also need virtual volunteers to help us get the word out via social networks and start a grassroots fundraising campaign so that we can bring the MusicMessage program to more schools.
If each music listener around the world donated $1 (or the equivalent) on the Listen for Life website for the MusicMessage project, we could influence the hearts, minds, and music listening choices of the entire next generation within a much shorter time frame - and that would prevent a LOT of potential violence in our communities!

Since LfL ( is based in Oakland California, which has real challenges with gangs and youth violence, we are starting the campaign there - so if you happen to live in the Bay Area and can help in any way, we need to hear from you NOW because we are bringing the program to the Oakland schools in the most at-risk neighborhoods in a few weeks' time! Contact us -

Do you like more detail?
Then read on.......
and if not, please still read the very bottom bits in BOLD!

There are five segments to the MusicMessage campaign, starting with a simple 45-minute assembly (combining multimedia and live performance)in each participating school, given at no cost to the school through Listen for Life volunteer musicians, presenters and organizers. Sponsored small-group follow-up sessions in the school then help each individual child to create his/her own positive music message (ie a melody or drum beat or lyric) and those messages of peace will be sent via mobile phone technology to individual students in another city or country. This will help each child to know that they do not have to have popular but negative musicians/groups to "speak for them' as they will have discovered the power of their own voice - and their own choice, in what music will influence their lives and their communities in the future.

The goal is to eventually help every child (and adult!) throughout the world to discover his/her own voice and positive message for others. Listen for Life is starting with the elementary schools in Oakland California, where our headquarters are, but we have an exciting, simple and successful template for this program that can be adopted by any group of volunteers, teachers, parents, and musicians in any country or culture.

The program can be carried out during class times or through after-school programs and community centers.
The MusicMessage project is designed to have five principal components:
a) through LFL-led school-wide assemblies that combine media examples (our interactive, cross-cultural Travels with Music series, and age-appropriate segments from a few films) and live interaction with visiting master-musicians of all genres, we raise the students’ awareness of music’s effect on their thoughts/behavior, and its potential for both negative and positive consequences in the community
b) as a LFL “mini-residency”, in follow-up small-group sessions (either during school time or in after-school programs, depending on the wishes of each particular school) we facilitate/encourage EACH of the students to create their own music (with or without lyrics) that they feel will deliver a positive message of peace to their peers; and then
c) we help the students to send their music messages to other students in another school/state/country via mobile phone technology
d) we combine all of the schools' musicmessages into an actual composed piece, and teach the kids to perform this piece that they helped compose, to be shared in their community as a city-wide celebration of UN Peace Day (September 21st each year worldwide).
e) At least one copy of the cross-cultural interactive education resource Travels with Music will be licensed to each school as part of this program, for subsequent use by all teachers (as desired), using multicultural music to integrate their lessons in social studies, geography, history, ESL, literacy, computer skills, and (where provided in the curriculum) music and arts.

Based on previous research, experience and successes, we are convinced that youth can be helped to discover that the music and lyrics they hear repeatedly will have a profound impact on their thoughts, their outlook, and their cultural assumptions. And they can be inspired to believe in the power of their own voice, to deliver messages (through music) that can uplift others and change the world.

Personally I cannot think of any one single campaign that could be more important in our present world, or for future generations......which is why my every waking moment has been rather consumed with developing and launching this newest project, and I haven't exactly kept up my promise to post on this blog on a more regular basis! (But that shouldn't stop all of you from commenting and adding to it, please!)

Also please remember - we need to encourage all of our youth to listen.....for LIFE!
And to do that we need YOU - not just your friends and the musicians you recommend and the music listeners in your social networks and the wonderful donors who could hopefully contribute $1 each to the campaign - yes, we need all of them too, but we ALSO need YOU!

Spread the (music)message..... THANKS!