Creating Music and Sharing Songs
Several years ago, URI members were trained by Dr. Herm Weaver to become more effective peacemakers through music and singing. Sharing songs bridges chasms of difference and builds bonds of mutual respect, friendship and care. Creating music together helps people heal and live into new and brighter visions.
Invite your Cooperation Circle group to share each other’s songs. Persons from different backgrounds are asked to teach a favorite song from their culture, family or faith tradition. Write the words of the song on a flip chart for all to read together. First, the lead singers sing the song. Then, people mimic the lead singer, learning words, gestures, and often foreign-sounding melodies. A few drums and rhythm instruments can be used as the spirit moves. Patiently, people get comfortable and warm to each song. Timid beginnings start to give way to uproarious, “home-made” music and fun.
Songs can be simple, sacred, fun, and rooted in the story of a particular culture. Feelings of respect, joy and appreciation are effortlessly shared.
Herm Weaver is described by his friend John Paul Lederach in the book The Moral Imagination, The Art and Soul of Building Peace this way: “[For his PhD thesis], he (Herm) embarked on a journey to take his music as seriously as he took his intellectual studies and to focus more on music in the process of healing and reconciliation. In essence, he wrote songs and paid attention to how the creative process might be related to the process of healing.”
Herm offers six elements that music can offer in opening pathways between art and reconciliation. In setting the context for creating music and sharing songs as a regular Cooperation Circle activity, feel free to keep in mind Herm’s insights:
- Music is to be guided by an internal standard rather than external.
- Music is to be honest.
- Value simplicity.
- Make space for the listener to participate.
- Create music that arises from the heart as much as from the head.
- Be committed to having fun!
About this series:
Each year, hundreds of URI Cooperation Circles participate in the International Day of Peace (IDP). As a global community, we put organized global spirit and energy into action! Here are some beloved ideas and inspirations for peacebuilding. You can expect two issues of this series each week until September 21. Hope you love them too and find them useful!
See more posts in this series for more ideas about how to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
May Peace Prevail,