Play it LOUD! is inspired by the LOUD! project in Norway. LOUD is an annual summer camp for girls, trans and non-binary youth, as well as different workshops and day camps throughout the year.
NORM CRITICAL PEDAGOGY
Safety is both the precondition and the result of the norm critical pedagogy. It is important to feel safe to be able to try new things, get to know new people, and be yourself. When we are safe, it is easier to express our opinions, ideas and needs, and to challenge ourselves. Safe(r) spaces can equip youth with the necessary confidence to challenge themselves, and also challenge the norms they face in society.
Safety can be described as the opportunity to:
Express one's needs, meanings, and feelings
Participate, on one’s own terms
Be met with respect, and show respect towards others
Feel that your surroundings wish you well
If I told you to write a song right now you might hesitate, but if I asked you to write two lines about your favourite weekend activity it might be more manageable. In the next step you might add two more lines, and after that perhaps a couple of chords?
To work strictly towards one big end goal can be overwhelming and demotivating in any new venture. It is therefore helpful to divide the process into many small steps, to facilitate a sense of accomplishment at many points along the way. This process focus gives participants space to try out their own ideas without letting concerns about the end result restrain them, and it gives the space to take on small, manageable challenges rather than a huge task.
By building the process step by step like a little staircase, the participant reaches their goal without realising it might be a little climb. All of a sudden they’re on stage, and have totally forgotten the pressure and expectations connected to performing. This can be a contrast to the result and achievement- driven activities in their day-to-day life.
Learning by doing
If your first meeting with a piano is trying out all the sounds and tones it can make, you are totally free to judge exactly what sounds and combinations of sounds you enjoy. However, if you first had to memorise what combinations of sounds are “allowed”, you’ll probably just stick to that information. In norm critical pedagogy we believe that learning what you enjoy and what you want to express is just as important as learning what is “correct”, and makes the participant better equipped to use music as a means of expression. It can help remove some of the stress and limitations that young people put on themselves, constantly measuring themselves up to the expectations they meet from the world around them.
When we focus on action - trying something out, expressing yourself - rather than talking, music can become available for everyone, regardless of previous experience and knowledge. This doesn’t mean there is no room for theory and technique, just that it doesn’t need to overshadow everything else. A process of playful expression can run alongside the studying of theory and technique.
Good role models
Many of us were lacking good role models growing up. We did not see many instrumentalists that were not CIS-men. This influenced our dreams and expectations. We want to show youth what we did not see, by highlighting good role models. Highlighting good role models can be done in many ways. First of all through workshop holders and volunteers. All adults involved in your projects are role models. The attitudes and behaviours we demonstrate in all situations communicate what we value as a community. We have to demonstrate those values clearly by being willing to try something new, make mistakes, be inclusive, challenge norms and beconscious of our own privileges.
Highlighting women, underrepresented genders and other minorities, can be done in everything from the music examples we choose, in our promo-material, our websites and so on.
See Good role models (When organising) for tips on recruiting a more diverse pool of role models in your projects, and how to increase representation.
D.I.T: Do it together
D.I.T. is short for “do it together”. The term is inspired by D.I.Y., a term historically used by punk musicians, and non-commercial artists. D.I.Y. refers to achieving something independently, such as producing music, distributing music, making fanzines, etc. without the support or expertise of professionals. The term incorporates a norm-critical attitude towards quality: not only can you create something without being a professional, but you are just as equipped to judge the quality of what you produce!
In this context D.I.T. means that we have the ability and freedom to create something together that we might not have been able to do on our own. Skills, background or experience do not matter - we can Do It Together! In order to enable D.I.T. we need to work a lot with team building and collaboration among the participants, staff and between participants AND staff. During teenage years, and throughout life, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Building a team feeling, making everyone responsible for each other and the process together can therefore be important, and very liberating.
The Bumble Bee Effect
The bumble bee has such small wings that it shouldn’t be able to fly. But because it doesn’t know that, it flies anyway. And if you’ve only touched a guitar for the first time this morning, you’re not able to play a concert tonight, right?
The Bumble Bee Effect reminds us to not let established structures and expectations decide what is considered possible. For those of us with a
music education it can be difficult to put aside what we’ve been told about the challenges of making and performing music. Through motivation, highlighting possibilities, and the value of trying – not focusing on how scary it can be up on stage or how difficult it is to write a song – we believe everyone will be able to fly.