Finding Peace of Mind Through Music

2013Sept_Arts_Outreach[1]

Intersections is an international group dedicated to building positive relationships between individuals and their communities. They recently approached Liz Henderson, the Director of our First Step Job Training Program for homeless and low income women, about doing a workshop for our students. The workshop would focus on self-esteem building, stress management, communication and collaboration – all through the use of musical instruments.

We thought this would be perfect for our 119th class, as they were just finishing up the internship phase of the program and were gearing up for graduation and looking for jobs with their newly learned skills and training. This is a time when many of the women in Frist Step begin to feel anxious and unsure of the future, so some new, creative techniques that could help them manage these feelings would be a welcome addition to the curriculum.

Last month, Intersection completed the workshop, led by three music professionals: a cellist and composer; an ethnomusicologist, conductor and percussionist; and the leader, Fred Johnson, a musician, composer and vocalist.

According to Fred:

“We spent time with our group creating and laughing and also exploring the truth that each of us has a unique gift to give to the world, and that while we will inevitably face some challenges along the way, we must hold on to the desire to forge ahead.” “Afterwards the participants were inspired, envisioning tangible ways to apply what they learned in the program to their daily lives.”

Our students certainly found the musical experience to be useful to their daily lives.

As one of our soon-to-be graduates, Katrina, noted after the session, “They taught me breath is life. I learned not to take the little things for granted.”

This enthusiasm was echoed by Jolanda: “I learned a lot during the Intersections workshop. I learned to focus on simple things – such as paying attention to the things near you, colors, your senses – to calm yourself and change your mood in a positive way.”

We are so grateful to have forged a new partnership with Intersections and hope that they will continue to be a part of the First Step family and offer these truly unique, creative and empowering workshops.