Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year to All

"Children are our hope for the future and it is up to us to pave the way so that their future is bright. Come one, come all and join together to make this world a better place for us and the generations to follow...Children and music bring us hope for a better future." (Playing for Change)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On Children

Your children are not your children. 
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. 
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts. 
You may house their bodies but not their souls, 
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you. 
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 
You are the bows from which your children 
as living arrows are sent forth. 
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might 
that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; 
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

(The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran)

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Better Place

"No matter who you are - what religion, race, cast or gender - no matter where you live, each one of us has the right to live in freedom, dignity and peace"
Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. True change for the good of everyone always comes from the hearts of the people, and PFC believes that with music we can unite together to make the world A Better Place.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Pale Blue Dot

“The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.” ― Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan gives an inspiring speech about humanity and how foolish we behave. Pale Blue Dot is one of the most important and reflective speeches about the human condition and our place in the Universe. The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


What is it that makes us human ? Is it that we love, that we fight ? That we laugh ? Cry ? Our curiosity ? The quest for discovery ? Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.
- Human volume 1 deals with love, women, work and poverty.
- Human volume 2 deals with war, forgiving, homosexuality, family and life after death.
- Human volume 3 deals with happiness, education, disability, immigration, corruption and the meaning of life.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December 10 - Human Rights Day 2015

Fifty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted two international treaties that would forever shape international human rights: The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Created in the aftermath of WWII, the two Covenants along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became the International Bill of Human Rights setting out the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings. Since that time a fundamental sea change has occurred across the world, with many countries recognizing human rights and the rule of law as the basis for truly resilient and stable societies. To promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary, the UN Human Rights Office is launching on Human Rights Day “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always." a year-long campaign to shine a light on the inalienable and inherent rights of global citizens -- now, and always. “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” revolves around the timeless themes of rights and freedom and the relevance of the work that continues in securing and ensuring them. At its core, FREEDOM, underpins the International Bill of Human Rights – freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from want. (from: United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner website)

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Music that has changed the world

"Music is a universal language that we all understand. By appealing to our emotions, it has the ability to break down complex issues into things we can all relate to like love, friendship, fear, or loss. In this way music expands our horizons and opens our minds to new ideas. In my opinion, using music as a tool to build movement is one of the most important aspects to Global Citizen and is something that I believe makes the organization unique. That said, we are hardly the first or the last to use music to inspire and empower. Music can change the world, and here are 16 examples that prove it..." -- READ FULL ARTICLE ON GC
(by Christina Nuñez on Global Citizen - July 27, 2015)

Friday, December 04, 2015

The World’s Largest Lesson

World Leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people. If the Goals are going to work, everyone needs to know about them. TELL EVERYONE.
If every school in the world teaches children about these goals, we will help them become the generation that changed the world. The Global Goals Campaign has partnered with UNICEF (and a host of children’s heroes such as Serena Williams, Neymar, Dani Alves, Kolo Touré and Nancy Ajram!) to come together to create the World’s Largest Lesson (Written by Sir Ken Robinson)
-- Read about it on ONE, an international campaigning and advocacy organization cofounded by Bono

The Worlds Largest Lesson from World's Largest Lesson on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Future of Education is Global

Since its 2009 launch, Skype in the Classroom has given students the ability to circle the globe, visiting places they once could only read about in books, and allowing them to connect with people of all ages and cultures around the world – without having to leave their classrooms. Over 400,000 teachers from 265 countries and regions have joined our mission to bring real life learning to over 6 million students – enabling them to talk to marine biologists, zoo keepers and authors, visit Kenya, Kiribati and the top of Mount Everest, and learn about how to be better global citizens. This December 3rd and 4th, teachers are invited to celebrate learning without borders during Microsoft’s first-ever Global Skype-a-Thon. Over the course of this two-day event, teachers will conduct Skype calls in their schools with one of hundreds of guest speakers, virtual field trip partners, or other classrooms around the world in an attempt to travel one million virtual miles.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Engaging young people

Philly Youth Poetry Movement's (PYPM) Gregory Corbin and Denice Frohman ask: How do we engage young people? How do we create safe spaces for expression, empowerment and transformation? What does self-sustainable education look like and how can we help young adults become the leaders of tomorrow? PYPM, a volunteer-driven youth poetry organization, works with young people to help them discover their voices through spoken word. Young poets find value in their voices, explore how they fit and don't fit in the world, expose themselves to diverse stories and listen to one another. Corbin explains: "Their stories are classrooms. Their lessons are life experiences. Both are abundant, beautiful chances to change the world."

In Bermuda Break The Chains (BTC) is a creative writing and performance program offered by Chewstick Foundation using spoken word and poetry to develop literacy, confidence, identity, creativity and collaborative skills.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Starting from Empathy

Start Empathy, an initiative of Ashoka, is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. The main idea is to see  young people as changemakers and help them develop the skills they need to be empathetic, ethical actors who will positively impact their own lives, their communities, their schools, their companies, their countries and the world, now and throughout their lives. In order to make empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving as valued in education as traditional academic skills, Ashoka created the Changemaker Schools Network, a national community of leading elementary schools that serve as models for cultivating these skills in students.
Start Empathy has also launched Think It Up, a national education campaign that supports student-powered learning projects and prioritizes empathy and changemaking in our schools.

Explore the extraordinary journeys of three young changemakers who are leading their own movements for social change and promoting the core skills of empathy, teamwork, fluid leadership and change making.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Music for Peace

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, protects and assists people fleeing conflict or persecution. Established in 1951, it now has a staff of more than 8,000 working in 126 countries. It has twice been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The TRACKS website was created to share some extraordinary stories of survival, hope and home. Alaa's story has been featured here.
In 2011 Alaa, now 29, fled the war in Syria to Lebanon carrying only his violin and a few belongings. Little did he know his musical talent would become his lifeline. He was offered a summer music scholarship by Fabrica Communication Research Group in Italy. Over the last few months he has performed live concerts and even recorded his own album. Despite missing his family, who are split between Syria and Lebanon, Alaa decided to stay in Europe and seek asylum. Alaa’s family had an art gallery and music space in Syria, but they have been destroyed in the conflict. His dream is to rebuild this space in Europe, to reunite with his family and to relive their happy memories.

Fabrica Musica and Alaa Arsheed from Fabrica on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Enlivening Education

Field trips are a great way for teachers to engage students and give them a first hand understanding of a subject — but they're not always practical or even possible. Expeditions allows teachers to make their curriculum come alive by taking their students on field trips to almost anywhere they can imagine. Around the globe, on the surface of Mars, on a dive to coral reefs or back in time — abstract concepts come to life in Expeditions, giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom (from Google Expeditions)
-- Read Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education on the New York Times
-- Visit Google Apps for Education

Saturday, November 07, 2015

We Are What We Art

The National Guild for Community Arts Education supports and advances lifelong learning opportunities in the arts. They foster the creation and development of community arts education organizations by providing research and information resources, professional development, networking opportunities, funding, and advocacy on behalf of the field. They believe that involvement in the arts is essential to individual fulfillment and community life and that arts education enriches individual lives and improves communities.
The video featured below speaks not only to the benefit of providing and enhancing arts education opportunities for all, but also — as a youth-led media piece (produced and edited by the young artist, César Martinez, during the National Guild's 2012 Conference for Community Arts Education in Dallas, TX) — illustrates what is possible when you engage the unique creativity of young people.

Friday, November 06, 2015


Urban Arts Partnership advances the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.
UAP serves over 15,000 students and 500 teachers in 100 under served schools across New York City and Los Angeles.
-- UAP blog

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Stand for the Arts

Stand For The Arts, a project of Ovation, is an American initiative to raise awareness, protect access, and encourage action on behalf of the arts. They believe that the arts and arts education are not a luxury and that we can’t afford to live in a world without ART. The arts aren’t just for artists.
-- Read Happier Students, Higher Scores: The Role of Arts Integration

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The arts are not a flower

Arts education isn’t something we add on after we’ve achieved other priorities like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It’s actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place. That’s what the Turnaround Arts program is all about.” — First Lady Michelle Obama
Why do US schools continue to suffer from declines in arts education budgets and instructional time even though a 2005 Harris Poll found that 93% of Americans believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education? In this thoughtful TED talk, Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, persuasively argues that the arts are not a bouquet of daisies we give our children when we (or they) can afford it; they are also a tool (a wrench) that can be used to address some of the most intractable problems our young people face.
Rachel Goslins was appointed by President Obama to manage the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2009. Under her management, the Committee launched 3 new national initiatives, including Turnaround Arts, the first federally-led public/private partnership to bring arts education to a group of the country’s lowest-performing elementary schools.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling

"Embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life."
What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, if you're not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you're not alone. In this inspiring TED talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls "multipotentialites" — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one?
Great talk, worth watching.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Inspiring children through music

Apollo Music Projects is in the eleventh year of its music education programme in primary and special schools, having so far reached over 5400 children in 35 primary, secondary and special schools and over 20,000 children in assemblies and schools concerts. AMP brings live classical music to children, taking them on a journey from a first experience of live performance in the classroom to the thrilling spectacle of a full orchestra in concert. This program was featured in an episode of BBC2′s Artsnight last March, presented by Armando Iannucci. The episode explored “high culture” art forms, including classical music – asking why some people feel excluded from it, and why classical music matters so much.

Apollo Music Projects on BBC Artsnight with Armando Iannucci from David Chernaik on Vimeo.

Kids Interview Film from David Chernaik on Vimeo.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Music for Equality

Musequality’s mission was to support communal music-making for disadvantaged boys and girls in developing countries, giving them the skills, confidence and experience they need to turn their lives around. Unfortunately Musequality has ceased its operation starting the end of January 2015. However, their websites (Musequality + Musequality World Busk) remain up so that visitors can see how music projects can change young lives, and among other take inspiration from the many imaginative busks and fundraising events held by Musequality supporters.
David Juritz is a world renowned violinish, who, in 2007, busked around the world to raise funds and awareness for the charity Musequality. Hie is a member of the 'Quartet of Peace', and his recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is widely recognised as among the best of its kind.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Today we feel like focusing on this...
UNITY is a new documentary from the writer and director of EARTHLINGS, and features an unprecedented cast of 100 celebrity narrators. Seven years in the making, UNITY explores humanity’s hopeful transformation from living by killing into living by loving. It is a unique film about compassion for all beings, or all “expressions of life,” and going beyond all “separation based on form,” and beyond perceiving opposites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Music Education Hubs

"Music unlocks creativity. It develops children's social skills and their self-confidence"
- Carolyn Baxendale, Head of Bolton Music Service and the GM Music Hub
Arts Council England think that all children and young people across England should have access to the highest quality music education. Their network of 123 Music Education Hubs are working hard to achieve this aim - in partnership with schools and further education institutions, they run all kinds of projects to inspire young people through music. The film below records just a few of these projects, as well as the effect on the young people who take part.
Music hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education. In their first year the hubs gave nearly half a million children the opportunity to learn an instrument for the first time as well as working with almost 15,000 school choirs, orchestras and bands.
-- Read "Hug a hub: music education heralds a new era of partnership"on the Guardian
-- Read "Good news for music education... but the fight must go on"on the Guardian
-- Read "Don’t stop the music – children need a proper arts education" on the Guardian

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


"I’ve performed on a thousand stages and shared dressing rooms and curtain calls with legendary ensembles and superstars alike. But nowhere have I received the kind of grace and elation I did onstage with the actors, dancers, and musicians of LIVE ART" - Jason Mraz
LIVE ART is a groundbreaking, inclusive arts education program for students of all abilities. Having witnessed the powerful benefits of performing arts education in both typically developing students and students with special needs, SPARC allows students of ALL abilities to have performance training that is designed to build performing arts skills, deepen the ability to connect with peers and strengthen the personal foundation of each individual and unique child – just as they are – all at the same time. Students participate in a series of cross-pollinated arts classes that include training in dance, singing, visual art, American Sign Language, mime work, playing musical instruments, visual technologies, spoken word and more. The culminating event of the program is a life-changing performance in one of Richmond’s largest and most prominent theaters, the Altria Theater. During this performance, world-renowned musicians join the students in a major music concert during which the students perform acts of live art. All students participate in LIVE ART tuition-free, thanks to major project funding by the Stanley and Kim Markel Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. LIVE ART has also been supported by the Jason Mraz Foundation -- THIS IS TRULY WONDERFUL, PLEASE WATCH.
-- Watch the LIVE ART story
-- Watch Jason Mraz + SPARC Students: "Winter Wonderland"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creating Your Own Path

What is education for? Mozilla Foundation's Mark Surman shares his perspective and why they are using Open Badges to re-imagine learning. This is a new online standard to recognize and verify learning. A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned. Open Badges take that concept one step further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations. You can display your badges wherever you want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.
-- Watch TEDxKids@Brussels - Mark Surman - Hackasaurus
-- Watch Digital literacy: an interview with Mark Surman
-- Watch 'The Web is the 4th Literacy' - WISE 2013 Focus

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fostering Youth Innovation

"What is education for?" That's the central question Ashoka Canada is posing to education innovators in Canada for this The Globe and Mail's series. In the video below they invite Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, to share his perspective on the role of education in fostering innovators. Interesting.
-- explore the Digital Media Zone

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Exploring Possibilities

Ashoka Fellow Gabriel Bran Lopez argues for a model of learning that is primarily about personal discovery. It's the basis for his organization, Youth Fusion, which recruits university students to help high school students explore possibilities of who they can become.
Youth Fusion is an award-winning charity that lowers school dropout rates by creating continuous ties between the school system and the community, in order to involve at-risk youth in innovative and meaningful educational projects that contribute to their learning, their qualifications, and their social integration.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Engaging Students in Learning

What is education for? In this section of the Globe and Mail series, Quest University's David Helfand argues for a radical re-thinking of university education and explains why the current approach of knowledge transfer is no longer good enough.
David Helfand joined Quest University Canada in 2005 as an advisor to the University. He was a visiting tutor during the University's inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and, in September 2008, was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor. He has spent 38 years as a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University where he served as Department Chair and co-Director of the Astrophysics Laboratory for more than half that time.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Art Walk Bermuda is an annual festival celebrating the unique expression of Bermudian Artists, taking place in the Olde Towne of St. Georges. Join the Masquerade and support the Arts on October 25, 2015 \ St. George's \ 2 - 8.30pm --- FREE EVENT
-- Read "Music and puppets among highlights of Art Walk" on the Royal Gazette
-- Watch more on the Carnival of Light (LDS Multimedia)
-- Read "Chewstick project puts a spring in your step" on the Royal Gazette

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Do Schools Ignore Talents?

“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent not a singular conception of ability”
Learning World producer, Aurora Vélez, met Sir Ken Robinson, one of today's most prominent voices in the world of education, in Paris to talk about talent, innovation and educational challenges as part of Learning World on "XXI Century Education"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Teaching the Life of Music

Teaching the Life of Music is the story of El Sistema, a Venezuelan program which has helped thousands of children in underprivileged areas of Venezuela to acquire instruments, receive music training and experience the joy of playing and singing with others in orchestras and choirs. The program was founded in 1977 by Dr José Antonio Abreu. Today El Sistema involves over 400,000 children and young people and it has inspired programs all over the world. The film documents El Sistema’s ability to transform poverty and violence into healthy living through the passion and discipline inherit in music education. Ottawa’s OrKidstramusic initiative is the oldest of such programs outside of South America.
-- Visit "Teaching the Life of Music" website

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Passion with a Purpose

Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007 at the age of 19, after completing a Master’s degree in Music from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s in biology from Marist College. Gupta is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the presence of music in ostracized communities. He founded and serves as Artistic Director for Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing free, live music to men, women and youth living in homelessness and incarceration.
In the TED talk below Gupta talks about his experience playing for audiences in the most unlikely of places and how he has encountered remarkable experiences of people being healed by music. The project demonstrates that people still have the capacity to experience something beautiful and that beauty and spark exists within them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Liberal Arts: A Universal Education Model

"The arts bring kids together across lines of class, race, and religion in an atmosphere of mutual reliance and trust, and in this way do more than the typical academic classroom to break down social barriers. They also promote a sense of discipline and accountability to others. And they show kids from a minority culture that all world cultures are open to them"
The interview featured below with Prof. Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago Law School takes a look at the essential elements of education for the 21st century. It examines how capabilities relate to a country's development and the importance of educating people in order to help them become active responsible citizens. Martha Craven Nussbaum is an American philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, a chair that includes appointments in the philosophy department and the law school.
-- Read "Not for Profit: Six Questions for Martha Nussbaum" on Harper's Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Making the Case for the Arts

CapeUK is an independent not-for-profit organisation committed to improving the lives of children and young people – preparing them to face the future with creativity and self-belief. Their team works with schools, youth and community organisations, universities, the cultural and creative sector and other agencies which share our aims. Pupils and teachers from three South Yorkshire schools have helped CapeUK “make the case for the arts” in education, thanks to three short films. Barnsley’s Barugh Green Primary and Sheffield’s High Storrs secondary and St Marie’s Academy have worked with filmmaker Jon Harrison to make films which show how using arts, culture and creativity has helped develop the young people’s skills and meet school priorities across the curriculum.

Ideas from Australia

The Song Room is a national not-for-profit organisation that brightens the futures of Australia’s most disadvantaged children with tailored, high-quality music and arts programs, delivered in partnership with schools across the country. Its vision is that all Australian children have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts to enhance their education, personal development and community involvement, giving them the best possible start in life. The Song Room's aim is to bridge the education equity gap for all Australian children by facilitating learning through the arts, starting with our most vulnerable groups and reaching all communities that lack specialist music and arts education. They want every child to benefit from long-term school music and arts programs.
The Song Room has worked in partnership with leading arts organisations and arts education specialists to produce ARTS:LIVE, an engaging, interactive teaching and learning platform for the arts curriculum.
-- Watch "The role of creativity in learning and development" (WISE 2014)
-- Watch "Australia: The Song Room improves academic performance" (Learning World)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why is Drawing Important?

Campaign video for The Campaign for Drawing. A national arts education charity which champions the importance of drawing. Drawing is a fundamental tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. From the people behind The World's Biggest Drawing Festival - The Big Draw.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Don't Stop the Music

"If you get an instrument into the hands of a kid who wants to learn it, and you provide a place and the means for them to learn it, you will see an undeniable impact in every other area of their life."
In 2011, the UK government had declared in the National Plan for Music Education that "children from all backgrounds and every part of England should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument". But on the ground, James discovered a different picture. He found teachers with tiny music budgets - or none at all. Schools where music education was only for those who could afford it. Children struggling to get their hands on a proper instrument to learn. James wanted to show the power of music to transform children's lives.
Don't Stop The Music is concert pianist James Rhodes' heartfelt campaign to improve music education in primary schools across the UK. Unused instruments donated by the public (from their attics and cupboards) were given a new lease of life and distributed to schools nationwide that really need them. A two-part TV series, featuring James’s efforts, produced by Fresh One Productions Limited, was aired on Channel 4...READ FULL STORY
-- Read "Don’t stop the music – children need a proper arts education" on the Guardian
-- Read "Forget the mad genius composer myth: music is good for the mind" on the Guardian
-- Go to "Don't Stop the Music" documentary

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Why We Teach Art In Schools

Campaign for Drawing and NSEAD patron Bob and Roberta Smith RA on why all schools should be art schools. Art is a fundamental tool for expression and empowerment. Everything that is made has been designed and constructed by creative people. Bob points out that the camera, the building and even the 'lunatic' that made his shirt, were all created by drawing, designing and making art.
-- Watch Bob's TED talk "Art gives a voice to the voiceless"
-- Read Bob's interview on the Guardian
-- Read "Put arts at the heart of Britain" on the Guardian

Monday, October 05, 2015

More on mindfulness

The video below features youth and young adults discussing their experiences practicing mindfulness, and how mindfulness has benefited different aspects of their lives. It also features youth practicing mindfulness, and includes insights from a health professional and mindfulness teacher.

Healthy Habits of Mind shows how kindergarteners at Oxford Elementary School in Berkeley, California are introduced to mindfulness during their school day. The students are taught mindful listening, mindful eating, mindful movement, and yoga by their classroom teacher. The film peeks into this course, taught by Mindful Schools Program Directors Megan Cowan and Chris McKenna. The movie also features leading neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson explaining how mindfulness affects brain function, and Megan explaining how mindfulness helps in schools. Mindful Schools offers courses for educators, psychologists, and parents to learn mindfulness and use it with children and adolescents. Learn more at

Room to Breathe is the first mainstream documentary about bringing mindfulness into education. It is an authentic representation of what it’s like to teach mindfulness in a truly challenging environment. By providing a raw and realistic look at the process, it shows how even the most difficult classrooms can be turned around with patience, teaching skill, and partnership with school staff.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Everything I need to know, I learned in school music class

“Music education demonstrably improves academic achievement, behaviour and attitude. Through music, kids learn how to have constructive relationships with other people, how focus counts, how application produces results, how to dream and most of all, how to feel true joy.”— Canadian record producer Bob Ezrin, who worked with Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper and Kiss
As the Toronto School Board votes on major cuts to music education, the Toronto Star reconnects three successful musicians to their instructors to talk about music's impact...
-- Read article on the Star

Life and Music

“Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”
Alan Wilson Watts (1915 – 1973) was a British-born American philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Social and emotional learning

The Hawn's foundation mission is to help young minds by nurturing resilience, hope, and optimism. The foundation's goal is to transforms children’s lives by providing vital social and emotional learning programs to reduce stress and aggressive behavior, improve focus and academic performance and increase resiliency for success in school and in life.
MindUP™ is a research-based training program for educators and children based in neuroscience, mindfulness and positive psychology.  This program promotes optimism and happiness in the classroom, helps eliminate bullying and aggression, increases empathy and compassion, while resolving peer conflicts in schools.
-- Watch the The MindUp Program
-- Watch "Neuroscience + Mindful Awareness Training = Thriving Children with Goldie Hawn"

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Healing Power of Art #2

This first video by UNICEF highlights the role of art in the healing process for children affected by war and displacement. In Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, children paint a mural to express their feelings and emotions. There are more than 300,000 Syrian children in need of psychosocial support in Jordan.

Hamed comes from Homs, Syria. He is 17-years old and now lives in Mafraq, northern Jordan. Hamed hasn't been to school for 5-years, since the war started in Syria. He attends a UNICEF and IMC run youth center where Hamed has been active in the drama classes performing plays that highlight issues in the community. Providing alternative learning, life skills and psychosocial support for young people affected by war and displacement is critical.

"I didn't choose my name. Or the colour of my eyes, or the way I look," sing Syrian and Jordanian children at a 'Child and Family Protective Place' in Irbid, northern Jordan. It's their morning music session with Firas from Dera'a, Syria. Since fleeing the war in his home country 3-years ago, Firas has been providing an outlet for vulnerable children to express themselves through music. This is their story.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Healing Power of Art

CHAP (Children’s Healing Art Project) brings the healing power of art to children in crisis through a mobile team of teaching artists working in a partnership with hospitals, community organizations and schools. At CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity—not by their disease, diagnosis or disability. CHAP's innovative healing arts programs reach critically ill, chronically ill and disabled children (and their loved ones) with programs that strengthen encourage and inspire.
-- Watch "The Power of Art: Can creativity cure the sick?" on BBC
-- Learn about CHAP on Comcast Newsmakers

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The difference that art makes

Can Art make a difference in children? Can adults learn anything from art?
Shai Dahan is an an artist and muralist, philantropist, and entrepreneur. Born in Israel and raised in the USA, his passion for visual art became well known throughout the region. His most notable works include the Dala Horses, an ambitious street-art campaign. He was praised with a variety of awards and has been featured in multiple publications and exhibitions internationally.
With the TEDx keynote featured below, Shai gives a unique talk about his public-art projects and how art helps make a difference for children from South Africa to Palestine to Sweden. With his work in the township of Langa for Project Playground, to curating one of Sweden's first large-scale Street-Art "No Limit Festival", he has worked hard at trying to change public spaces and the lives of youth around the world.  Here he explores how important art education can be and gives us an insightful look into our own individual ability to making a difference.

In May 2012, Shai has traveled to a conflict-driven region of Israel to take part of a creative collaboration and an art journey. As he became part of this journey, Shai realized that this project was more than just drawing a painting on a wall. It became a journey for finding hope in a land where optimism seemed to have vacated long ago.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Reflection, Relationships and Resilience

"Reflection is an opportunity to realize that relationships are our life's blood. This is what gives us resilience not only as individuals, but as a collective community"
Daniel Siegel is currently clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center.
He believes that by focusing just on the 3 R's - reading, writing, and arithmetic which are the neural circuits of the physical world we are depriving kids of the power of mindsight. He suggests that the curriculum should be based on the other more important 3 R's - Reflection, Relationships and Resilience - the neural circuits of the world of the mind. When we are interconnected with others, in tune with them, have insight into ourselves/others and have empathy with them, we have mindsight...Traditional teaching and the way behavior is managed promotes separateness and looking at the world as only a physical entity. We should rather than ' working with children' to help them build relationships and be reflective - Read more on  Parenting is Learning
The second talk examines in particular how relationships and reflection support the development of resilience in children and serve as the basic '3 R's" of a new internal education of the mind.
 -- Watch "Time In: Reflection, Relationships and Resilience at the Heart of Internal Education"

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Music Makes Me

What does MUSIC make you do or feel? Music Heals asked that question of famous musicians, music therapists, and music fans. Here is what they had to say.

Music Makes Me (Music Heals) from Music Heals on Vimeo.

Music Heals

Does music heal? 
Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development. — Canadian Association for Music Therapy
Music therapists tell Music Heals about their important work and help describe music therapy.

An introduction to Music Therapy (Music Heals) from Music Heals on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


“When I was growing up, we had music in our schools. It was a given. These days many of these programs are not available. I don’t know what I would have done without music in my life when I was growing up. I was unpopular and picked on, but for me, music was my refuge and solace the one thing I knew I was good at; it fed me and kept me going.” - Sarah McLachlan
KidScoop Media reporters Shelby and Alexis speak with musician Sarah McLachlan about her childhood and the tuition-free music school she founded to teach and inspire kids in Vancouver.
The Sarah McLachlan School of Music provides music education to underserved and at-risk youth at no cost. The school is dedicated to helping young people build community and find their voice. All children should be provided with the opportunity to realize their full potential. Music education provides this opportunity.
-- Watch more inspiring videos here
-- Read "Sarah McLachlan wants to open school of music in Surrey, B.C." on CBC News
-- Watch "A Musical Legacy: Sarah McLachlan's school of music"on Global News

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Quiet Time program

In low-income urban schools, traumatic stress is a reality for millions of children who grow up in an oppressive climate of poverty, violence, and fear. This stress impedes learning and undermines physical and mental health. High stress levels also damage teachers and educators, resulting in extremely high burnout rates.The Quiet Time program is a practical, evidence-based approach to reduce stress and dramatically improve academic performance, student wellness and the school environment. Quiet Time provides students with two 15-minute periods of Transcendental Meditation each day to help balance their lives and improve their readiness to learn. This schoolwide program complements existing educational strategies by improving the physiological underpinnings of learning and behaviour. Transcendental Meditation, the core intervention of the Quiet Time Program, is a simple, easily learned technique, practiced by students and teachers while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It does not involve any religion, philosophy, or change in lifestyle. Over 340 published scientific studies document its effectiveness for improving health and learning. This approach has been adopted by hundreds of public, private and charter schools worldwide—with strong support from students, parents and educators (source: David Lynch Foundation)
-- Watch "Violence Rate Down 50% and Grades Up with TM in AZ School"
-- Watch "A Success Story: Transcendental Meditation in a New England High School"
-- Watch "Opening the Door to Self-Esteem at New Village Charter High School"
-- Read "Daily Meditation: A Bold Approach to Reducing Student Stress" on Edutopia

Monday, September 21, 2015

International Day of Peace 2015

"I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace."
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September - today. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace. The work of the United Nations would not be possible without the initial partnerships that were active in its creation and the thousands of partnerships each year between governments, civil society, the private sector, faith-based groups and other non-governmental organizations that are needed to support the Organization in achieving its future goals.
Listen to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon video message

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reflections on Peace

"Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker recites Martin Luther King Jr's powerful speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop", as well as answering questions as to what is peace to him. Very powerful.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Empowering the Next Generation

Peace Day (September 21) is a day to empower the next generation of peace makers, inspiring them to become the driving force behind the vision of a united and sustainable world, using Peace Day as a catalyst for individual and collective action. Peace One Day Education aims to inspire young people to become the driving force behind the vision of a united, and sustainable world by advancing active learning in the areas of reconciliation, intercultural cooperation, and global citizenship – using Peace Day 21 September as its focus.
-- go to Peace One Day education resources

South African band FreshlyGround calls out to young people around the world to be the peace makers of the future through Peace One Day Education.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Artists for Peace and Justice

Paul Haggis is an Oscar-winning film director and screenwriter. In this ONE ON ONE interview, Paul states his belief that fame must be used to bring attention to worthy causes. Paul first went to Haiti in 2008 (long before the devastating earthquake of 2010) to try and find a man he had heard about who had been working in Haiti's slums for over 20 years. After finding the man and observing his work, Paul saw he was able "to do so much with so little." The experience compelled him to start Artists for Peace and Justice, a charity organization that supports communities in Haiti through programs in education. "We decided that we weren't going to solve Haiti's problems, the Haitians were," he says. Paul decided that the best way to empower the Haitian people was through EDUCATION. After learning that Haiti had never had a high school for kids of the slums, Artists for Peace and Justice founded, just a few months after the quake in a temporary structure, the first middle and high school. The school now has grades 7 to 10, and will soon have grades 11 to 13. "Good intentions mean nothing at all," he says of his charity work. "It's actions. It's only actions."
Please take the time to watch the story of William below and listen to the song he wrote with his brother at the end of the video clip ("Together We Will Go Far")
-- View One on One series Trailer
-- Browse APJ's video clips

Together We Will Go Far - Vhernier from APJ Now on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

All Kids Should Dream

This is why the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development are important: a moving yet positive short film focused on the life of Mekfah, who lives in the innercity slums of Bangkok. Featuring Liverpool Football Club - Directed by: Ananda Everingham
This is beautiful.

The Global Goals

On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders will commit to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.
-- visit Global Goals website
-- Read about how to teach our children the World's largest lesson

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The surprising power of your brain on music

Jarrod Haning is the principal violist for the South Carolina Philharmonic. With performing experience in 14 professional orchestras and over 20,000 hours of practice he is able to deliver some powerful secrets on mental and physical performance. As an award-winning speaker, Jarrod trains companies in the psychology of music. When you know how music creates inspiration in you, then you are able to create inspiration in other people. By revealing the subconscious mechanism that drives our emotional response to music and language, he is able to engage his audience at a much deeper level.
-- Read "Audiation, the Door to Musical Creativity" by Edwin Gordon
Music is unique to humans. Like the other arts, music is as basic as language to human development and existence. Through music a child gains insights into herself, into others, and into life itself. Perhaps most important, she is better able to develop and sustain her imagination. Without music, life would be bleak. Because a day does not pass without a child’s hearing or participating in some music, it is to a child’s advantage to understand music as thoroughly as she can. As a result, as she becomes older she will learn to appreciate, to listen to, and to partake in music that she herself believes to be good. Because of such cultural awareness, her life will have more meaning for her. (From Gordon, Edwin E. A Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1990, pp. 2-3.)
-- Listen to "Music as a language" by Victor Wooten
-- Read "Musical training 'can improve language and reading'" on BBC News
-- Read "Are musicians better language learners?" on the Guardian

The Effects of Music on the Brain

How does learning to play a musical instrument change the brain? Can music be instrumental in helping people recovering from strokes? These are just two questions being answered by researchers at McGill university and the Montreal Neurological Institute. Neurologist Robert Zatorre (BRAMS – International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) and his PhD Student Melanie Segado worked with Prof. Marcelo Wanderley and his student Avrum Hollinger in creating a cello that could be played in an MRI scanner to see how the brain changes as a result of playing a musical instrument.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

International Day of Peace - September 21

In this video, Dr. Goodall encourages individuals around the globe to participate in the United Nations International Day of Peace which is celebrated on September 21 each year. This year, an especially auspicious one with the UN's celebration its 70th anniversary, will have the theme of, "Partnerships for Peace - Dignity for All." Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace.
- go to Peace One Day

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Music unites

"No hate. No color. Just the love of music shared amongst complete strangers" (youtube comment)
-- See them on Jimmy Kimmel

Engaging Boys in the Arts

Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) is a non-profit organization that supports the ever-changing needs of learners. CSC is not only recognized as the Pan-Canadian standards and evaluation agency, but also for developing a wide spectrum of customized learning resources for academic and organizational environments. "Learning through the Arts" is a series of 57 videos featuring classrooms from Grades 1 to 12, including northern, southern, urban, rural, public and Catholic schools, demonstrates the revised Arts curriculum in action.
In the video below students become re-engaged in school through participating in a student-driven visual arts program.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Music in Schools

Music in Schools Today is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that supports and develops music education programs that increase student achievement. They believe that music nurtures the human spirit, promotes personal development, and is central to learning and the creative process. Music and the arts are as essential to a well-rounded education as literacy, math and science. Music, both in and out of the classroom, promotes physical well-being and social understanding and helps build bridges within local and global communities (read more here)
There is a growing amount of scientific research that shows that music can inspire us at many levels other than affecting our mood or inspiring social change. Listening to music, and especially playing a music instrument, affects the brain unlike anything else. And learning to play music or incorporating music into lessons at school can have a multiplier effect on education overall. In fact, studies show that music education can help improve grades. It can help with standardized test scores. And attendance. And behavior. Music inspires education (read more here)
[Music Inspires is an ongoing project by Music In Schools Today]
“It’s what we do. We call and respond in life. We’re always stepping forward and stepping back, and sharing the microphone and supporting another person when it’s their time to shine…I’m constantly asking my students to assess the situation with this question: ‘Is it time for me to stick out and solo, or is time for me to blend in and accompany?” - Zach Pitt-Smith (teacher)
-- Music Inspires Collaboration
-- Music Inspires Language
-- Music Inspires Confidence

Music Inspires Community from musicinspires on Vimeo.

Music Inspires Education from musicinspires on Vimeo.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Music, Memory and Emotion

Music and art can enrich the lives of people with Alzheimer's disease. Both allow for self-expression and engagement, even after dementia has progressed. MUSIC can be powerful. Studies have shown music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle-stages of the disease. Even in the late-stages of Alzheimer's, a person may be able to tap a beat or sing lyrics to a song from childhood. Music provides a way to connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult. ART PROJECTS can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They can provide the person with dementia — as well as caregivers — an opportunity for self-expression (from
Oliver Sacks, M.D., noted neurologist and best-selling author of Musicophilia, discusses below the impact of personalized music on people suffering from Alzheimer’s and severe memory loss.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How Playing Music Affects The Developing Brain

Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and the author of “Music, Language, and the Brain,” says “there’s now a growing body of work that suggests that actually learning to play a musical instrument does have impacts on other abilities.” These include speech perception, the ability to understand emotions in the voice and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Patel also says music neuroscience research has important implications about the role of music in the lives of young children.“If we know how and why music changes the brain in ways that affect other cognitive abilities, this could have a real impact on the value we put on it as an activity in the schools, not to mention all the impact it has on emotional development, emotional maturity, social skills, stick-to-itiveness, things we typically don’t measure in school but which are hugely important in a child’s ultimate success.
-- Read full article on DailyGood

Monday, July 20, 2015

Creating Music. Transforming Futures.

"Through music we bring into the grim reality of the prison regime hope for life inside and for a future life outside" - Sarah Price, former Chair
The Irene Taylor Trust was set up in 1995 in memory of Irene Taylor, the wife of the late Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor, who had a personal interest in both penal reform and music. They believe that creating original music collaboratively can make a powerful impact on people’s lives, bringing them new confidence, important transferrable social skills and raised aspirations for the future. Music can break down barriers and help people who have found themselves pushed to the fringes of society to become celebrated and valued members at the heart of the community. Their projects (Music in Prisons, Making Tracks and Sounding Out) support NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) young people, ex-prisoners and people of all ages in prisons and light a spark that can be the catalyst in supporting them to change their lives for the better.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Motivating students to fight against hardships

Andrés Godoy is a gifted guitarist, and against all odds, continued to be one after he had lost his right arm in an accident when he was only 15. Through passion, imagination, perseverance, Andrés was able to cope with adversity and today, he inspires many - foremost younger generations - to pursue their dreams in music and beyond and to fight hardships of life.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finding a sense of higher purpose

"Above all things as teachers and educators we need to remember that our job is to change the way our students see their world so that they can live it to their potential, not to the potential that the policy-makers have for them or people in control or people with the silver bullets. As educators our job is to ensure that each and every one of our individual students see their world and see that possibility"
Richard Gerver has been described as one of the most inspirational leaders of his generation. He argues that great leadership is about serving the needs of the people that work for you and rely upon you. The three core principles that underpin Richard's philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact. Richard's insights into change, leadership and education are unique thanks to his own extraordinary journey, which has seen him go from struggling actor, copywriter and estate agent, to becoming an award winning teacher and school principal, whose ground breaking work in education was celebrated by the British National Teaching awards and UNESCO amongst others. Gerver works closely with Sir Ken Robinson who cites Richard as one of the world's most exceptional educators; he features in Robinson's best-selling book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up

"Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education" is the latest book by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. The book focuses how to transform US troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century.
-- Watch CBS News interview here

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Schools Need More Friction, Less Fractions

"When we truly teach young people how to think, we teach them how to be themselves with so much authenticity and confidence they will never need transformation or reinvention or rebranding because they have already become all of themselves"
The real problem with education is that we've forgotten what it means to "think." Connecting familiar ideas in unexpected ways, Jordan Shapiro explains why learning needs to be irrational. Learn what transformation, gratitude, noticing, relationships, yoga, and muscle articulation have to do with the future of school. Jordan Shapiro’s academic work and publishing blend psychology, philosophy, and business in surprising ways. His internationally celebrated writing on education, parenting, and game-based learning can be found on He teaches in Temple University's Intellectual Heritage Department where he’s also the Digital Learning Coordinator.
-- Read "5 Rarely Considered Obstacles To 21st Century Education"on Forbes

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Let Love Rule

Peace Day is not that far away - don't forget September 21st!!!

"Love is gentle as a rose
And love can conquer any war
It's time to take a stand
Brothers and sisters join hands
We got to let love rule / Let love rule / We got to let love rule / Let love rule 
Love transcends all space and time
And love can make a little child smile
Oh can't you see
This won't go wrong
But we got to be strong
We can't do it alone"

-- Go to Lenny Kravitz website
-- Go to Peace One Day website

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nurturing creative intelligence through music

"If our society is to solve the immense challenges that faces, I believe a new model of education has to emerge, in which imagining becomes more important than accumulating and creating is valued more than consuming. And I think the best way to do this is through music. With the kind of innovation performance technology that is available today we can make exciting music programs for all kids, and in doing so we can change the world"
Learning how to dream, to imagine, unlocks our creativity, driving and nurturing the learning process through the arts. Dr Ed Bilous shares his insight on how creative thinking has always been a critical part of being human since our earliest ancestors first walked the Earth. Bilous began his career in education in 1978 as a member of the original group of teaching-artists at the newly created Lincoln Center Institute. Together with colleagues in drama and dance he helped to define the basic cannon of aesthetic education practices that continue to inspire students and teachers around the world. He has been on the faculty of the Juilliard School since 1984 and has developed many of the institutions most innovative programs including the Arts and Education Program, the Center for Innovation in the Arts and Beyond the Machine -- A Festival of Multimedia and Interdisciplinary Art. In 2015, with support from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Dr. Bilous will launch the Miracle of Music, a series of multimedia concert events, innovative curriculum and interactive media designed to use the power of digital technology to advance music education and nurture creative intelligence in young children. VERY INTERESTING TALK.
-- Listen to his lecture "Reimagining Arts Education"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Music Education And The Brain

Inspired by a young teacher at a music educators conference, Dr Anita Collins commissioned a short film to be made to help music educators, parents and students understand the benefits of music education. The film includes interviews with a prominent neuroscientists, innovative music educators and students. The basis for the film is Anita's research into the benefits of music education for academic performance, social skills and well-being, literacy and numeracy skills, improved life outcomes and brain and physical health in later life. Anita has worked as a primary and secondary school music educator in both Australia and England. Her broad experience encompasses classroom and instrumental teaching, curriculum design and musical conducting of concert band, orchestral and choral groups and specialist and generalist teacher education. She is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Education at the University of Canberra.
- Watch Anita's TED talk "What if every child had access to music education from birth?"