Music Practice As a Tool For Social Integration

Interesting workshops at Université de Montréal.

The project “Music practice as a tool for social integration” focusses on intergenerational, amateur music making in recently immigrated communities as a means of social integration and development. The main goal of this workshop is to build a research and knowledge mobilization program articulated on three axes: 1) bring knowledge together in the fields of psychology, sociomusicology, and pedagogy regarding the impact of amateur music practice on a sense of belonging and social integration; 2) create an interdisciplinary synthesis of the scientific underpinnings of the creation of devices that promote amateur musical practice; and 3) apply these principles to the development of one or more prototypes of musical practice in partnership with the music and community and school associations.

In this framework, and supported by the vice-rectorat à la recherche, l’innovation et la création de l’Université de Montréal, BRAMS and OICRM, the researchers Isabelle Peretz (neurocognition of music) and Michel Duchesneau (sociomusicology) who initiated the project, are organizing two workshops on October 9th and November 6th 2019.

Based on the questions that drive the project, invited professionals and researchers will present a summary of their achievements and work in order to stimulate discussion with participants.

The workshop on October 9th will conclude with a conference by Bill Thompson (Macquarie University, Sydney), titled “Music and Intercultural Understanding.” The workshop on November 6th will conclude with a conference by Frank Russo (Ryerson University, Toronto), titled “Sing well Canada: Understanding Group Singing in Older Adults from a Biopsychosocial Perspective.” These conferences are open to the public.

More information at the Brams website

Make Music Day

It is just a couple days since I have learned about this unique event called Make Music Day and I hope we will find out how to organize it here in Markham.

It all started 35 years ago in France.

In 1982, Jack Lang and his staff at the Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. They imagined a day where free music would be everywhere, all around the city: street corners, parks, rooftops, gardens, and store fronts.

And, unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join and play music, or host performances. The event would take place on the summer solstice, June 21, and would be called Fête De La Musique. (In French, the name means both “festival of music” and “make music”.)

Amazingly enough, this dream has come true. The Fête has turned into a true national holiday: Paris shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique, and 64% of the country (43 million people) comes out each year to listen.
Three decades later, the holiday has spread throughout the world and is now celebrated in more than 800 cities in 120 different countries.

Let us know if you would like to participate at Make Music Day in Markham, on June 21st 2018.

We are branching out!

Great news! We are branching out.

After getting familiar with services Artistic Interventions Inc. offers to corporate clients, my wife insisted, that I have to focus also on individual clients.

It has taken me a while to figure it out. I didn’t want to confuse individual private customers with the corporate world. So after a lot of reading and researching and thinking, the idea was born. And it is not that complicated, although I don’t expect anything to be easy.

The whole idea came to me as I have been experiencing again and again, how many adult people in the corporate world are literally terrified when offered an opportunity to express themselves musically. Even those who had some previous music education became very hesitant, when asked for example, to sing their favourite tune, or to try a simple music instrument like harmonica.

This is when I realized, that although we have almost all recorded music available at our fingertips through services like Spotify. And that music has really become ubiquitous like water, as David Bowie predicted in 2002, and as David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard further described in their book/manifesto The Future of Music. But all of this is only passive music consumption. Music is like water and many consumers have learned to treat it the same way – as it didn’t have any real value.

So what is the idea I have been working on, you are asking? We are going to offer Mindful Music Making to individual clients. Instead of passive listening, our goal is to inspire and empower everyone who is interested, to actively start playing music. To receive all the benefits playing and instrument, or singing a song offers to a musician, without the pressure of building a stardom, or making a living. We want to attract everyone to do what our ancestors had done for thousands of years – to enjoy while participating on music making. To start musicking instead of using music only as a sound barrier – as a background noise.

We will do it online and offline, with a single person or in a group session. Our new venture is called MUSICABLY. A new website will come soon with all the additional information. Looking forward to meet you there.

The Mastering of a Music City – by Music Canada

Recently, Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson introduced a research report The Mastering of a Music City, which summarizes steps recommended for cities over the world, to help develop their music economies. It is an interesting reading and definitely and important document, if it finds open ears in the places where decisions can be made.
What surprises me on the reports approach, is how commercial music is presented here as the most important and almost the only piece of the whole music ecosystem. This is the view of the music from the some decades ago, when everything was measured by sales of sound carriers. I remember those times as I had been part of the system as a musician and publisher, including a member of the national IFPI board. But music world has changed since then and there are more changes coming. Therefore I wonder, why to base such an important document on the mindset of yesteryear?

CNAL 2015 National Cenference

CNAL 2015 Ben HeppnerLast week I attended the Canadian Network for Arts & Learning (CNAL) National Conference, which took place on March 25, 2015 at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. It was a day packed with very interesting panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities.
What really impressed me was the amount of like-minded people who dedicate their lives to the arts and to enriching young generations through the arts. My three takeaways from the event are following:

1. I was overwhelmed by the number of creative people on the artistic as well as on the organizational and educational side of the arts. Canada is flourishing artistically – only if everyone got a chance to look more closely “under the cover”. Unfortunately, this artistic abundance is by far not that perceptible in the Canadian media. As one presenter mentioned, Canadians highly value arts, but mostly enjoy consuming arts at home, so if media don’t follow, a large number of great artistic endeavors stay unrecognized by general public.

2. Money is an issue for practically everyone – whether large or small organization, for- or non-profit. Interestingly, fast growing importance in the arts funding play private donors and organization.

3. Canadian governments (federal or provincial) don’t keep up with the private sector, which is a sad fact. Years back, when I was studying and researching development of popular music, I was impressed by the role the Canadian government played in the growth and support of the local popular music in the sixtieth and seventies of the last century. The outcomes of those efforts are clearly palpable up until now, when Canada has a number of global stars on the stage and on the media. Similarly, if the government ceases its support now, results of that could show even decades later, what would be an unfortunate situation, given the much larger market south of the border.

(Photo – Ben Heppner as an MC of the CNAL National Conference)

Leadership Workshop

Address Current Challenges in Organizations

There are a number of possibilities available to businesses and agencies for stimulating organizational development in response to changes in society and in the face of economic pressures. Why should you give special consideration to an “artistic intervention”?

This is an unconventional approach where people from the arts bring their talents, skills and tools into an organizations with the purpose of triggering or supporting change for the individual, group, or whole organization.

We partner with a number of highly professional Canadian orchestras and musicians and so, we can offer different qualities of music and rhythm to our clients.

Bringing people, processes, and products from an unfamiliar culture like that of the arts helps to stimulate personal or collective development in the workplace. It breaks routines and challenges established mindsets. This works for any type of organization, whether it be for-profit, non-profit, government or education.

Our workshops also help participating orchestras and local music charities. They are sponsored and financially supported either directly by our clients or by our own company.