The Special Sauce
Allied Voices combines conversation with music to support discussions around race, gender, folklore, and oppression. Music is a universal language and loved by all! Students will explore how different cultures use music as a tool for expression and solidarity. How do students find meaning in today’s music and how does it represent their unique perspectives? Students will share their own stories through songwriting mini-sessions facilitated by a multi-platinum music producer, song-writer and engineer. The end of our program culminates in a professionally produced album featuring student-written songs.
WEEK 1 - INTRODUCTION, GOALS, RULES
Opening Ice-Breaker activity – (object, person, place exercise) Students and facilitators will work collaboratively to establish group norms, rules of engagement and confidentiality. Objective: Students will understand the mission behind Allied Voices, complete the pre-survey, and agree on group rules to build trust.
WEEK 2 - WHO AM I: IDENTITY WHEEL
Opening Exercise – (grounding activity -sight, sense, smell) Students will complete the identity wheel, looking at personal and social identity as well as intersectionality. Objective: To increase self-awareness, building on the idea that the better you know yourself, the better you’re able to express yourself and share who you are.
WEEK 3 - WHO ARE YOU: UNPACKING BIAS
Opening Exercise – (optical illusions) Students will learn about implicit bias and complete the circle of trust to explore why we gravitate towards the familiar and make assumptions about other people. Objective: Students will reflect on their own biases and learn ways to overcome biased thinking.
WEEK 4 - WHO ARE WE: SYSTEMIC RACISM
Opening Exercise – (label activity) Students will be shown examples of systemic racism (video clips), and process emotional triggers and responses. Objective: Students will practice empathic listening as they share personal experiences and reactions to systemic racism.
WEEK 5 - ALLYSHIP IN ACTION
Opening Exercise – (I stand for activity) Students will learn key terms around allyship such as Equality, Equity, Privilege, White Supremacy Culture, Microaggression, Advocacy, Saviorism, and Intergenerational Trauma. Objective: Students will identify one issue that they feel passionate about and one action step they can take as an ally for change.
WEEK 6 - FREEDOM SONGS
Opening Exercise – (Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around) Students will learn about three significant freedom songs from around the world and their shared characteristics. Students can change the message of the song by altering one word. Objective: Students will learn to write their own freedom song, delivering their own message of importance.
WEEK 7 - HIP HOP WITH SOUL SCIENCE LAB
Opening Exercise – (Hip Hop Hooray) Students will learn the hook to Hip Hop Hooray and learn about the elements to hip hop music – the lyrics and core message. Objective: Students will understand the cultural impact of hip hop music and how to create their own hip hop song.
WEEK 8 - SONGWRITING 101
Opening Exercise – (partnered song writing) Students will learn song-writing concepts (verse, hook, chorus, melody) and apply this knowledge to writing their own songs. Students will be partnered and work together to come up with lyrics and song title. Objective: Students will build collaborative working skills and use song-writing as a healthy form of expression.
WEEK 9 - MUSIC PRODUCTION DEMO
Opening Exercise – (studio tour) Students will get a virtual tour of a music studio, learning about the basic tools of sound engineering and what goes into a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Objective: Students will gain knowledge about music production and tools for creating their own at-home sound design experience.
WEEK 10 - CLOSING CEREMONY
Opening Exercise – (Allied Voices Song Release) Students will participate in an all-group presentation combining Elementary, Middle and High School groups for the debut of their songs. Students will share feedback and reflect on their growth. Facilitators will present participant certificates and administer the post-survey.
CULMINATING PROJECT - ALLIED VOICES ALBUM
The Allied Voices album is a collection of student-written songs that reflect their personal growth and insights over the course of the program. Students use their voices to celebrate cultural diversity and acceptance. The album is mixed and produced by industry favorite Greg Ogan who has worked with top artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna.
Workshop leaders use a multi-modality approach to cover weekly topics. This includes use of video clips, vignettes, articles, books, and guest speakers. Groups are 60-minutes long, with 30 minutes designated for all-group discussion and 30-minutes for breakout discussions. Every group will start with a grounding exercise and check-in. Facilitators “go first” when appropriate, to model vulnerability and build group trust.