Well it has been a while! We're back into full swing here at Lyrical Lines so I felt it due to write a blog post. Here are some musings by our Communication Coordinator about her transition into different aspects of community music and how it relates to the evolution that Lyrical Lines has undergone.
Since I last chatted with the Community Music web I know I have transformed a long way. I now have a Bachelor's Degree in Music. I got accepted to and am currently in a Master of Arts in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier. In less than a year I already feel a change in the winds. I have found my place as a Community Musician and I feel that is going to be imparted on the way Lyrical Lines is going to go.
My professor and friend of Lyrical Lines, Dr. Lee Willingham provided an opportunity to submit papers to the International Society for Music Education (IMSE) for their 2016 Conference in Scotland. There was to be a special commission on Community Music Activity with a theme of Innovation and Change in Community Music. At first I was apprehensive about sending anything in. First of all, I haven't even finished a term of my Masters, let alone written a paper for a international conference. Lee encouraged me to send in an abstract anyway. The seminar for Community Music was to be structured on three themes, and one of them struck me as relevant to what I was doing. I did some research, looked at the questions and themes and came up with a draft. I was surprised with what I came up with. I realized the unique situation that we are at Lyrical Lines, you can see what I mean from my first draft.
In a case study of Lyrical Lines Education Network, a non-profit community music charity based in Waterloo, Canada, it was found that Lyrical Lines operates on a unique model. Community Music charities are not a rarity, while less common in Canada, they are seen in Community Music Schools and other performance-art-based community development. Lyrical Lines is unique among these charities as it facilitates music in the community by serving as an umbrella organization, providing support and facilitation to grassroots groups and provides a structure to deliver their programming. These grassroots organizations approach Lyrical Lines with a desire to expand, sustain and grow their programming, and Lyrical Lines adopts the groups into the family. With Lyrical Lines as the formal charitable entity, they provide security, support and facilitation that these groups might not be able to attain, while allow them the freedom to continue at the grassroots level.
Lyrical Lines, not unlike the programs under their umbrella, originated as a grassroots organization itself before becoming a corporate charity. From its beginnings, Lyrical Lines has forged a unique relationship and niche within the community. Beginning in the early 2000s, Lyrical Lines began as what the founders called a Music Education charity. Over the past twelve years, Lyrical Lines has found itself, evolving and becoming more centered over the idea of education through community music. Lyrical Lines, like many other studies, found the weakness of the school music education, extending the arm of community to initiate lifelong learning. Lyrical Lines, after a needs based origins, evolved into the unique community music charity and has found itself in within an evolution similar to that which the community musician is facing in the 21st century. This looks at its unique position, evolution, and changes as it faces the new community music.
I feel that says it all. We are unique, we are ever changing and evolving like a person. We are coming of age, finding ourselves, new adventures, new relationships, new paths... There is something in that, that I can really relate to. It is so similar to my own experience. I began as a performer, and decided to be a music educator. Halfway through my undergrad I wanted to be an educator, but I didn't want to be in the classroom, I felt it too restraining. I wanted to make people better for and through music, and I wanted a musical experience for people that could be lifelong and transformative. I didn't want to stop at high school, I wanted to educator beyond all barriers, borders. That was how I got into community music. And I think from my quick bit of research, thought and writing, that was how Lyrical Lines came to community music, and came to be educational in the community.
So we're basically the same people on the same life journey. Very appropriate that I'm here then!