How to prepare songs

“Singing is another important connective practice. Songs unify us in ways that can feel mysterious, magical and sometimes even spiritual. Songs help us stay calm and resolute during a demonstration; channel anger, sadness or grief; raise each other’s spirits; and share history, heritage, and culture with one another.” - Sara Blazevic and Aru Shiney-Ajay (p. 166 in Winning the Green New Deal)

“We are striving to take back and nourish a culture of creating beauty and color and vibrance and genuine expression. It’s exciting! And sometimes hard. But it’s worth it!! When we sing together, we connect to each other and our purpose. So if you are bringing song to your group, do it with the knowledge and intention that music provides something that we desperately need because of the harsh context we live in. So bring that medicine. Sing to open meetings. Sing after a break. Sing to open a rally. Sing to close a vigil. Sing as an act of love. Bring that music and let it elevate us all.”

Lu Aya, Co-Founder and Artist Educator of thepeacepoets.com

WHY SONG?

  • Make your public actions more impactful
  • Deepen the relationships within and beyond your community
  • Ground your community in its purpose
  • Express key points of the group’s messaging in a beautiful, accessible way
  • Unveil the deep human emotion of the group’s struggle to the world
  • Bring vibrancy to all your gatherings

This is a list from Lu Aya of the Peace Poets on all the ways that music can be a part of the movement: Gathering, Grounding, Focus, Energizing, De-escalation, Grieving, Bonding, Moving, Transitioning, Escalating, Accompanying, Channeling, Messaging, Transforming, Beauty, Rage, Love, Connectedness, Purpose, Closing

 

WHEN TO BRING IN SONG

  • Opening or closing a meeting
  • At Town Hall Meetings
  • At public events, actions, or rallies
  • Anywhere else that you want!

WHERE TO FIND SONGS

There are many amazing writers who have created movements songs. 

  • You can look online for ‘climate justice songs’ and often find videos of them being performed as well. 
  • You can write your own lyrics to a common tune. 

 

TIPS FOR SONG LEADING

  • Before – practice alone and leading others.
  • Share – lead your friends, family and others in the song.
  • Brainstorm – the words you can add to the song to improvise with.
  • Know content – of the event before and after song so you know the tone.
  • Build it in – plan song into the program and schedule.
  • Story – learn and reflect on the testimonies of struggle your song speaks to.
  • Connect – feel the song connect you to history, purpose and comrades.
  • Window – find the specific parts of your song where you can interject phrases like “sing it loud”, “for your neighbors”, “dance with it”, etc. (sometimes this will need to be over the singing).
  • Tempo – make a chill song energizing or vice versa.
  • Volume – utilize volume to manage the tone and vibe of the group
    (“let’s get loud!” vs. “sing it gently now”).

 

As a final note, remember to bring a megaphone or have a sound system set up if you need to, to make sure that the song leader can be heard. Depending on the event or location you can project lyrics or hand out printed sheets with lyrics to help people learn the song or join in!

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