We all hope our children meet that unique teacher that will spark and inspire their passion, but what if, the teacher is actually within. What if students were able to inspire, motivate, and spark their passion by trusting, loving, listening, and understanding themselves.
Music Unlimited's program takes tools and practices from play-based and self-directed schools, networks, and communities and focuses on fostering these skills towards building a music practice. At Music Unlimited (MU), learning music and becoming a self-directed learner go hand-in-hand, enabling each other into constant growth.
At MU we have Facilitators and mentors, instead of teachers, and all students and staff are encouraged to use tools and practices from the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) to communicate, problem-solve, and receive and provide feedback.
To learn more about our tools and practices visit our resources page.
"Think about the first language you learn as a child, more importantly, think about how you learned it. You were a baby when you first started speaking it and even though you spoke the language incorrectly, you were allowed to make mistakes, and the more you made mistakes the more your parents smiled.
Learning to speak was not something you were sent to do only a few times a week and the majority of the people you spoke to, were not beginners"
- Victor Wooten, in Music as a Language
At Music Unlimited we work on creating an environment where learning music becomes almost as learning a new language. A fun experience of full immersion where students get to play an instrument, hands-on from their first session. Our sessions open with a short jam session, where we all get to lay back, have fun, and ease into our practice of the day.
Unstructured jam sessions are a fun activity that sparks collaboration, musicality, and relaxation. Most experienced musicians encourage constant jamming either with a band, a group of friends, or family. In this article, Casey van Wensem talks about some of the benefits of jamming.
Incorporating jamming into a practice routine helps to create chemistry between the group, enhance the abilities to listen, collaborate and fosters cooperative participation. It can also help boost creativity, during a jam session musicians often spark ideas that turn into amazing songs!
Jamming, as a fun, unstructured experience can even young musicians fight stage fright, focus better, and stay motivated to continue learning. Think of jam sessions as a conversational group (or meet-up) when you're learning a new language, is a relaxed way to have conversations whether you are using words or music notes.
One of the first methods that humans use to practice learning and using the information all around them in the world is through play. When a child plays, they develop their communication skills and allow them to practice scenarios, outcomes, and more.
Peter Gray, a psychologist and research professor at Boston College, is one of the biggest advocates for free-play needs. In his book, Free to Learn he dives deep into the different ways in which free-play can unleash a child's creativity and a life-long love for learning.
He encourages unstructured, judgment-free opportunities as a way to learn, connect and learn.
Research shows play as been a key element in promoting healthy child development, and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Play is an essential part of development, since it contribuites to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth. It is an ideal opportunity for families to engage together experiencing, sharing, and creating an environment of love, trust, and fun.
“Self-education through play and exploration requires enormous amounts of unscheduled time—time to do whatever one wants to do, without pressure, judgment, or intrusion from authority figures. That time is needed to make friends, play with ideas and materials, experience and overcome boredom, learn from one’s own mistakes, and develop passions.”
- Peter Gray, Free to Learn.
It is not a coincidence that it is said you are learning to "play" a musical instrument, at the end of the day, the key behind success is the passion that drives the talent. Trusting the student's innate ability to pursue their curiosity in a playful, joyful manner will also allow the students to trust themselves and with the right tools for goal-setting, the students stay curious, engaged, motivated, and learn in a meaningful, healthy way.
Trust is a key element of our method, we trust the students to guide and direct their learning journey & we trust each other to contribute in a meaningful way.
We took a look at how free-play, self-directed, unstructured schools and communities are experiencing learning, and we created our music program. Where students have a loosely structured day, with invitations instead of to-dos, and they get to participate in deciding what and how they will work on their next goal. The program provides mentorships, resources, knowledge, and tools that allow students to strengthen and improve skills that will lead them to learn music in a self-driven manner that can easily be applied to other interests and curiosities. The outcomes of the learners at Music Unlimited are people that have developed, not only the skill to play a musical instrument, but also that possess the confidence and abilities to love and pursue continuous learning.
Multidimensional Knowledge Exchange or MKE is a term we use to sum-up the intentional culture that Music Unlimited works hard to build.
Whether it is lessons, practice sessions, coaching, jam sessions, workshops, or summer camps we aim to create a space where we understand that we are always learners and teachers. Where knowledge flows live a stream between all participants, where everyone's sound is not only respected but encouraged and celebrated!
We encourage mixed-age and cross-skilled sessions, as well as consent and respect between one another. What works for one person might not work at all of another, and we value and respect that.
Let's jam, let's play, let's learn!