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Songs for rights training of trainers: an approach to children’s rights education Via SongwritiNg

(The video just got released you find it at the bottom of this blogpost)

My journey to the "Songs for Rights" training was an unexpected adventure filled with delays, challenges, and inspiring moments. It all started with a five-minute delay in my train to Berlin, a seemingly insignificant hiccup that would set the stage for an unforgettable experience.

Due to that minor train delay, my entire itinerary was thrown off balance. What was meant to be a timely arrival in Berlin turned into an extended, seven-hour journey, with my new schedule indicating a midnight arrival on Thursday. Instead, I found myself at the hotel at seven in the morning, after a restless night of travel. I was sleep-deprived and worried about my energy levels. The training was set to begin at 9 AM, just two hours after my arrival in Berlin.

The team members of "Songs for Rights" expressed their concerns that I might be too tired to fully engage in the training. However, I reassured them that while I was indeed tired, my enthusiasm and determination were unwavering. I was ready to give my best, regardless of the fatigue.

A pleasant surprise awaited me when I ran into a participant I had met during another seminar week. We walked together through a forest that led us to the Landesmusikakademie in Berlin, setting a positive tone for the upcoming days.

As everyone gathered, I kicked off the training with a session on music and movement. It was a deliberate effort to create an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere, in stark contrast to the seriousness that often pervades such events. The underlying goal of the training was to build a solid foundation for understanding how to educate children in human rights through songwriting. We delved into the global landscape of children's rights education, exploring the implementation of these rights worldwide and discovering ways to inspire children to express their rights through songwriting.

Throughout the day, my colleague Jonas explored children's rights theory and practice. We encouraged participants to reflect on their connections to human rights and express their thoughts.

In a creative exercise, each of us designed a poster to represent different aspects of our personalities. Later in the day, we introduced participants to games commonly used in our workshops with children, offering insights into our teaching methods through play.

The day also included a comprehensive overview of the status of children's rights implementation in different countries. We contemplated our collective global progress in protecting and promoting children's rights.

The day concluded with an emotional activity centered on music and emotions. Participants used personal stories related to human and children's rights, distilling their beliefs into a single phrase or word. These expressions would later form the chorus of a song we would create during the training.

Day two began with a beautiful exercise where we connected emotionally to images and discussed the emotions different cards evoked. We learned actionable tools for promoting children's rights in participatory environments.

The second part of the session focused on helping children and individuals without prior music experience feel comfortable in their bodies, using their voices, bodies, and instruments to create music intimately.

Later on, we explored the building blocks of songs without getting lost in complex music theory. We used our personal stories connected to human rights to create different parts of a song.

To our amazement, the group was already collaborating on the second day to create the song we would record on day three. We listened to all the creations and felt incredibly empowered. This demonstrated that it's possible to create a song collectively, one that is heartfelt, honest, and hopeful.

Later, we engaged in a thought experiment to consider how we could translate our learning from the first two days into activities for children.

Reflecting on the training, it became evident that professionals in the social sector, who use creative arts, need more support than ever. They carry the heavy emotional weight of our evolving world, society, and social structures. They often lack actionable tools to process this emotional load. Part of our mission is to provide them with these tools, as the new generations rely on their well-being.

Day three began with a session on DIY recording and producing of songs, an endeavor that tested our flexibility, cooperation, and care for one another.

The recording process commenced with the chorus, which immediately showed its strength. I couldn't wait to share the final result once our video and song were mixed.

While some groups were in the recording studio, others rehearsed in different rooms, and some facilitated mini activities or workshops based on their expertise. This empowering approach encouraged participants to teach and share knowledge with each other, departing from traditional seminar structures.

Challenges arose during the recording process, but we encouraged participants to take the lead, navigate through confusion, and bring ideas to light. Their decisive and constructive contributions greatly facilitated the recording and production.

Suddenly, the song was ready. With the assistance of the recording studio staff at Landesmusikakademie in Berlin, we listened to our finished song at the end of the day, experiencing immense joy and a sense of accomplishment. Our participants looked like children whose eyes sparkled with happiness after achieving something incredible. They felt strong, empowered, creative, and part of a collective, mirroring the children we help in our workshops as they materialize their ideas, creativity, and music into recorded songs.

Day four commenced with a creative session on video production, exploring the power of visualizing emotions conveyed through our song's lyrics.

Participants divided into smaller groups to design activities that would engage children with no prior music experience in different aspects of the songwriting process related to children's rights.

Later in the day, the small groups led their activities, demonstrating exceptional creativity by combining ideas learned throughout the four days. They crafted fantastic activities involving aliens, spaceships, and musical storytelling, highlighting the power of group collaboration to condense ideas into powerful educational activities.

I can't wait to hear about the ways our participants implement these activities, applying the knowledge they gained throughout the training in their unique contexts and with their groups.

At the end of the day, we had an insightful and emotional session to reflect on the week, celebrate our accomplishments, and sing our amazing song once more. Every participant received a certificate, acknowledging their completion of the "Songs for Rights" training on children's rights education through songwriting.

In retrospect, these four days were transformative. We entered as individuals and emerged as a community of professionals committed to making a positive impact on the world. The training was a harmonious journey into children's rights education through music and songwriting, a reminder of the power of music to inspire change and touch hearts.

I'm so thankful for being part of this organization and for having such an amazing, caring and supportive team. Thanks Linn, Jochen, Jonas and Joao!

And here it is! Plug-in your headsets, put up the volume and just enjoy!



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