In today’s day-and-age, it’s extremely difficult for any of us to go for too long without hearing music. Take a step outside and walk around your neighborhood, how long did it take for you to hear a tune blaring off a car radio? Or through the open doors of a café? For you to recognize a song from a passerby’s whistle?
Music is an integral part of life, there’s no doubt about it. Its influence on our brains - how it contributes to the development of creativity, speech, and intellect - has been scientifically proven and internationally hyped about. Anybody recall babies and the Mozart Effect?
Not to mention how therapeutic both hearing and playing music can be, a tool of which both Miracles of Music and Muziekcentrum Eiwerk are taking full advantage of. These two organizations in Amsterdam share the values of music: the former being a music program on behalf of Stichting Happy Motion, and the latter a foundation that organizes musical activities and workshops. Both teaching, spreading knowledge, and sharing the experience of music—the power behind it—with those who are vulnerable.
Inspired, we as Made By People Lab (an extension of the A City Made By People network) hosted a living-room concert at Sonos Home Amsterdam to bask in the sounds of our city. We gathered to discuss and discover, to sing and dance, to understand how music can empower people to break free and take chances.
Working together with Miracles of Music and Muziekcentrum Eiwerk, we hosted a Music x Freedom experience near the canals of Amsterdam (Singel). We heard the songs and stories of three duos: Louisa & Derek, Suzi & Guido, and Según & Mathijs. They shared with us stories of the intimate relationships that didn’t work out, of hardships from growing up away from your roots, and in-and-out of foster homes. With every pain they shared, they healed through the empowerment of music.
Louisa & Derek
“What’s really important for me about writing lyrics and playing music is that I can collect my own thoughts, which are sometimes a mess in my head. I can learn something about myself, and of course this process like it was tonight: of standing on a stage, sharing my music with people and seeing them contributing in your own story is always, again and again, really emotional and very rewarding.” - Louisa
Suzi & Guido
“You come together in a room full of people you don’t know, and by the means of music, you actually communicate with a universal language. Love is definitely the frequency of music and since creativity is a faucet, once you turn it on, it keeps on coming.” - Suzi
Según & Mathijs
“It [music] empowers me when I’m playing, just like Según I am a team player. It’s giving and taking, and I don’t know how it works chemically but it works! There’s not much needed for music to empower you. It just happens.” - Mathijs
“For me, it’s actually the same. By playing and playing with others, and just creating. That really empowers me because when I create stuff, I feel really good about it.” - Segun
Each duo had a different story to tell through their performance, and us attendees sat cross-legged on the floor, gazing at the performers with recognition in our eyes. Although each performance had a different sound and story, we all found something to relate to.
We connected with the performers because the performers prepared to connect with us. In a cosy space like Sonos Home Amsterdam, it was fairly easy to achieve: picture an inviting couch, an open kitchen with a fridge stocked with beverages, vinyl records to sort through, and a whole lot of happy faces through the polaroids plastered on the wall. It was easy to feel at home.
Instead of picturing, take a look instead at the aftermovie Jan Arsenović and I created to end off this experience.
With our partners at Miracles of Music, Muziekcentrum Eiwerk, and Sonos Home Amsterdam, we’d like to thank you for sharing this experience, and jammin’ (jammin’ jammin’!) with our three duos. Watch, enjoy, and don’t be shy to ask yourself: how did music help you break free and lead you on the path you needed to take?
Enjoyed this captivating read about our Music x Freedom experience & interested in similar stories? Read all about our other experiences below & take a look at our print journals. #acitymadebypeople