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Listen for Life Foundation

Submitted by: Robert Anderson
Oakland, CA

www.listenforlife.org


Artistic Disciplines:
Performance


Artist Statement:

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During various Listen for Life (LfL) outreach projects both nationally and internationally, we have become convinced that the music and lyrics our young people hear profoundly affect their cultural attitudes about themselves and others, which has an impact their behavior and therefore their communities.  Far too many present day music lyrics send negative messages to youth which all too often results in antisocial behavior.

 

Listen for Life musicians and educators reasoned 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 view (and use) music deliberately as a positive unifying force.  So, we developed a new LFL program we called "MusicMessage Campaign" that could help turn this situation around in a positive, cross-cultural and creative way, to create a new generation of young citizens.

 

LfL, using master musicians from different musical cultures, presents a school in which students first learn about the musicians and their music, then about the power of lyrics - both  positive and negative - and then they (with help from the master musicians) create their own positive music messages.

There are many goals LfL hopes to achieve.  The most important are 1) to give youth the knowledge that music lyrics are powerful tools for shaping attitudes and behavior, both negatively and positively, 2) that they do not have to rely on present media and its negative messages to shape their attitudes, but that they can masters of their own destiny, 3) that they gain cultural understanding through working with others and 4) that they can create their own positive messages;

Since Oakland is an extremely diverse city, and because LfL headquarters are located there, the project is being carried out first in Oakland with the plan then to use the model for other cities.  For purposes of this application, all work will be done in and around Oakland, California.

LfL piloted this program in five Oakland elementary schools  in 2010 and will continue with more schools in the 2010-2011 school year.

 



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