Sing Out! International’s Movement

Sing Out! International is an organization that wants to create a positive, long-term impact. The organization is responding to an international need for communities to process and cope with traumatic experiences. Music is shared and created in communities around the world, which makes the medium of Sing Out! International accessible to everyone. Our goal is to not only provide a medium for expression in communities around the world, but to train members of the community to continue the music programs that we introduce.

Through Sing Out! International, Ashley-Drake and Haden, two board-certified music therapists, are striving to create an organization that inspires a movement to use music to heal communities around the world. A quick search brought up some different definitions of a ‘movement,’ such as “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas,” or “a group of people with a particular set of aims.” Synonyms for ‘movement’ include ‘development,’ ‘progression,’ ‘dynamism,’ and ‘undertaking.’ 

Sing Out! International’s first project will take place at Hope North in Uganda, a vocational and secondary school for former child soldiers, founded by former child soldier, Okello Sam. We will lead a six-week music therapy program to foster connection within the community and increase positive coping skills, improve quality of life, and increase expression through music therapy techniques such as songwriting, improvisation, and drumming (read more details about our project at Hope North in Uganda).

Sing Out! International is about making a lasting, positive impact for communities. For Hope North, we will purchase a variety of cultural instruments, and will then donate them to the school at the conclusion of the program. Part of the program also includes time for us to train the educators at the school in some of the techniques in order for the program to continue after we return home to prepare for their next project.

There is a great need to reach out and provide a vehicle for expression for communities that have experienced traumatic events. Sing Out! International can offer the accessibility of music to help individuals find a safe and therapeutic outlet to process their experience(s). 

Music Therapy and Soldiers with PTSD

Check out the following Drexel News Blog article, “Can Music Therapy Help Soldiers with PTSD?” by Rachel Ewing reporting on the efficacy of music therapy.

Ewing reports on a study being conducted this year by Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, and a board-certified music therapist. Many soldiers (both current and former) often experience the inability to regulate negative emotions, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bradt is interested in examining the effects of music listening on emotion regulation.

Bradt acknowledges that PTSD cannot be cured by music therapy alone, but the inability to manage emotions may be alleviated by using music to regulate breathing and using music as a source of distraction from unwanted stimuli.

Community Music Therapy (CoMT)

Sing Out! International utilizes a community music therapy (CoMT) approach, which can be thought of as a way of working with individuals in social and cultural contexts.¹Brynjulf Stige, a music therapy professor at the University of Bergen, Norway, is a respected contributor to the CoMT literature. He provides a way for us to visualize the beginnings of CoMT by relating the “roots” of CoMT to the Ficus benghalensis, a banyan tree in Asia, known for its roots that grow from its branches. The Ficus benghalensis continues to grow by developing multiple trunks, thereby constantly establishing new roots.¹ This metaphor describes the continuous growth of ways in which music therapists can work with people in different contexts.

¹Stige, B. (2002). The relentless roots of community music therapy. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 2(3). Retrieved from https://voices.no/index.php.voices/rt/printerFriendly/98/75Ficus benghalensis (1) Ficus benghalensis (2)

(photos retrieved from google.com)