As we approached the end of 2021, most of us felt a sense of relief, as the New Year peaking over the horizon gave us all a feeling of hope and excitement for all the new challenges and experiences to come.
This feeling of excitement toward the new experiences and opportunities resonated deeply with me, as at the start of the month of December, my journey with Soundcastle officially began.
As I made my way up to the Paradox community centre for my first official day/workshop, I felt slightly anxious and nervous- as these feelings are natural for me when entering a new environment. However, as soon as I arrived at the Centre, those feelings were replaced with comfort and excitement. As I had already met Gail and Wallis at my interview, seeing them as I walked in that morning made me feel at ease. On top of that, my new peers whom I had not yet met, were all very welcoming, polite and warm, making me feel at home from the get-go.
As time went by and I got to meet the families that came in to partake in the workshops, I was really taken back by how eager these kids and parents were to interact and get involved in the activities – singing, jamming or just playing along and getting stuck in.
What really amazed me was that I instantly learnt something at the very start of the session. Something that I wasn’t necessarily considering prior to the workshop. Something that I could only observe and learn in very few places other than at the workshop with Soundcastle.
As the kids and parents walked in, I realised there was a difference in age, which meant that some of the kids expressed themselves and communicated verbally, while others found amazing ways of communicating nonverbally with ease and style! These methods ranged from copying each other’s moves to hitting xylophones, playing with shakers and building interesting structures with books or other materials throughout the room.
The freedom and ease with which these kids communicated resembled the ease and freedom most musicians strive to possess when soloing or jamming. This reinforced this idea in my head that kids have this innate ability to express themselves beautifully and honestly even at a very young age, and therefore need to be nurtured and guided so as to never lose that ability to express themselves so confidently.
The lesson I learnt there was that there are many nonverbal ways of successfully communicating/expressing emotion. However, whoever is on the receiving end of that, needs to have an open-enough-mind to be able to understand your form of expression or what your message is. Meaning: at times when we find ourselves upset or hurt due to someone’s lack of communication, it could mean that we were partially to blame, for not being open-minded (considerate) enough to understand their message entirely.
It was also here that I realised that Soundcastle was playing that role of nurturing expression. Being part of this process of experimentation, encouraging artistic freedom and expression of kids/teenagers/adults. After having such an insightful and positive experience on my first day, I knew I was in for a good ride. In the following days I got to meet some of the rest of the team through online group meetings and had lots of fun doing part taking in different online activities