For youth falling between the cracks, studying music can give them the confidence they need to pull themselves out and contribute to our community in a positive way.
Through the Change UR Tune music program, inner-city youth trained with musicians, artists, music teachers and vocal coaches to learn new instruments and discover different genres of music.
The goal was to use music as a healthy expression of emotion, a means to prevent criminal behavior, and a way to build leadership capacity and improve quality of life for young people who face a variety of challenges.
“[I] saw them gain a sense of self-worth by being a part of something special,” says Barry Indian, an Instructor and Mentor with Change UR Tune. “Learning music, then actually doing it, empowers them; like a rock thrown in the water, the ripples touch so many.”
An initiative of Empowering Indigenous Youth in Governance and Leadership, a youth-led charitable organization, Change UR Tune ran twice a week from January to August 2014 at the West End Cultural Centre and Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre. About 20 youth attended each session.
Youth participants worked with a variety of indigenous musicians including Buffy St. Marie and J. Süss. Together, they explored all types of music, such as country, hip-hop, traditional Aboriginal, fiddle, blues, folk and rock.
The program culminated with participants performing in two concerts – sharing new-found skills and putting self-esteem in the spotlight.