The Kindness Campaign wants to teach the world to write a song through new Kind Music
We've been through some things these past 18 months. How do you process all of that?
Write a song.
That's the concept behind the new Kind Music program from Austin-based the Kindness Campaign, which brings social emotional learning to kids in classrooms.
Kind Music mixes "a beginner friendly songwriting platform" and "an emotional health journey" for anyone, says Andra Liemandt, who founded the Kindness Campaign in 2015 and is part of the Austin band the Mrs.
"It's given so much to me," she says of music. "Why not let others experience that?"
A family, an organization, a business, a classroom or an individual can sign up for a one-hour session at kindmusic.org. During that session, they are given an intro to songwriting as well as a lesson on how to turn their emotions into the words of the song. Together with the Kind Music leader, they come up with a band name and write a song. The song is then recorded and hosted on Spotify.
The base price is $500, and you can add on things such as recording sessions and music videos. Each song created will be unique, Liemandt says, because it's the participants' words in a music genre they like.
"We never want to create the same thing over and over again," she says. "We make sure they are getting something special."
There are discounts for nonprofit organizations, and Liemandt is hoping that businesses and individuals will gift sessions to schools.
All of the money raised goes into funding the Kind Campaign's programs in schools.
So far Kind Music has done sessions with the National Charity League, All ATX Leadership, and the Austin Police Department's summer camp for kids.
In creating Kind Music, Liemandt was thinking both of the emotional healing she's gotten through music and the need to help keep local musicians employed when they haven't been able to tour or perform in clubs regularly or at all during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Anything I can do for artists, I want to do that," she says.
Kind Music allows artists to pick up a paying gig to help craft and then record a song, she says.
Liemandt has noticed a few patterns in writing songs with groups of adults vs. groups of kids. The kids hold back at first. Often, there's been a lot of trauma in their lives and they get emotional, she says.
"This is the first time anyone ever asked them to think about how to unpack emotions in this way," she says.
Once they open the door and tap into their emotions, "they are all in and they are excited," she says. They hit the stage to sing and want to go into a studio and record.
Adults are much more diligent about getting the song written and they don't hold back, but when it's time for someone to sing it, "no one is raising their hand," Liemandt says.
Groups leave being able to tap into their emotions a little more easily. "It's very addicting, songwriting," she says, but Kind Music goes beyond that and talks about emotional health and why that's important.
She sees this program as one way families or teachers can deliver that lesson.
"Some students are working with a lot of pain over the last year, and they hadn't been asked in a long time about their family and their siblings and why they felt the way they felt," Liemandt says about the timing of Kind Music. "It's an important time to have them open up and release, and be free to do that."
More is coming from the Kindness Campaign, which already has had a big year with the launch of Kind Music and the Kind Mural at the Amy's Ice Creams store on South Congress Avenue.
The program is developing an online game for kids called Kind House. It's a treehouse that kids play their way through, with rooms for music art, for example. The Kind House can be used by schools for kids who are struggling with their behavior. It has a reward system for making good choices and helps support finding the ways to feel good about yourself and solving difficult problems.
Inside the Kind Mural:The Kindness Campaign turns Amy's Ice Creams on South Congress into mural of kindness
The Kindness Campaign is also working on an app called the Kind Gym to create social emotional learning for college-level athletes. They're working on a pilot project for that with the University of Texas basketball team.
"Everything we do, we infuse the arts into it somehow," Liemandt says. "Art is such a great place to bring things together, to help each other thrive and grow and learn. It makes it fun."
Learn more about Kind Music
Details about the program at tkckindness.org/kind-music.