Sing It To Stop It
“Sing It To Stop It!” is our program designed to provide a proactive and creative way to prevent bullying and promote civility, tolerance, and compassion. We are creating many programs to serve youth in many ways, however our first flagship youth-based program specifically targets one of the most critical issues affecting our youth today.
“Sing It To Stop It!” has been structured as an in-class, school-wide and sometimes district-wide songwriting workshop that sends pro/hit songwriters into the classrooms of chosen schools (Grades 1-12). Each classroom is tasked with creating a song as a group encompassing the anti-bullying theme. Workshops are built around an industry-judged competition to determine which class can create the winning song’s. Students who take part in these workshops are not just taught how to sing, write, and arrange a song together, but they are also encouraged to express their thoughts on bullying and its effects. By listening to one another, respecting their friends, and working together as a team the students create something that has an immediate and lasting impact on their peers, the school, and the community.
While these workshops are unique to each classroom and grade level, each follows a basic structure: a pre-writing activity, a brainstorming session for content, and finally, writing a finished song. A post-writing and reflection session for students and school staff/teachers closes the workshop out.
Each classroom’s song is submitted to an industry panel, who will judge which songs will be awarded the opportunity to take a field trip to a professional recording studio to record their song as a class with their songwriters – all of which will go on a compilation album. A final winning song will be chosen out of the songs that make the album cut and will be awarded a grand prize and trophy at a concert assembly, held to honor and award the winning classes, as well as to allow the students from each class to perform the songs created for their peers. The assembly will also feature artists supporting the anti-bullying cause and will serve as a powerful awareness-building event.
Recorded album songs will be available for the students to download, and participating schools can use the songs for presentations, assemblies, and special events or for use in the wider community.
The harmful effects of bullying cannot be overstated. The impact is not only devastating but also sometimes deadly for youth throughout our nation and our local Middle Tennessee community. Bullying may consist of a simple tease, gossip, physical and verbal abuse – maybe even a combination of all of these elements. One thing is certain: bullying has become an enormous problem among our youth populations. Being bullied is an experience that children and teens commonly experience on school premises. However, with ever-evolving technology, many are victimized by modern cyber bullying and bullying through text and SMS phone messaging as well. Bullying destroys a person’s mental, emotional, social, and even physical condition… especially during the crucial time when a child’s development of their sense of self is just beginning to form – and yet coping skills and mechanisms have not yet developed. At its worst, bullying can and has led to tragic, yet preventable, cases of suicide.
NATIONAL BULLYING AND SUICIDE STATISTICS:
- At least half of the suicides among young people are related to bullying. Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades (American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
- It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students (National Education Association)
- Every 7 minutes a child is bullied; 85% of the time, there is no intervention of any kind (National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment)
- According to the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in seven high school students stated on a self-report survey that they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the preceding 12 months, and one in 16 actually made an attempt. Within a typical high school classroom, it is likely that two students have made a suicide attempt in the past year.
LOCAL SUICIDE STATISTICS:
- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tennessee Department of Health, in 2010, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in Tennessee residents ages 15-24-years-old
- The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) reports that between 2008-2011 there were a total of 145 suicide deaths among 10-19-year-olds in the State of Tennessee; during that same span of time, there were 3,774 total suicide deaths in the state
- TSPN reported six youth suicide deaths in Davidson County, TN in 2009
Because Music Can Save a Life
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) reports that applying music as a therapy/tool with children and adolescents showing emotional and behavioral aggression significantly improved in all of the study participants on the Aggression/Hostility scale of the Achenbach’s Teacher’s Report Form. According to AMTA, this suggests that group music programs can facilitate learning and provide new channels for transforming frustration, anger, and aggression into an experience of learning, self-awareness, creativity and self-mastery. Additional outcomes included:
- Increased ability to develop relationships
- Enhanced interpersonal relationships
- Improved group cohesiveness
- Increased ability to address issues that they ordinarily may not be able to using words alone
- Improved self-image/Increased self-esteem, self-perception, and self-confidence
- Improved perception of others through peer-focused interaction
- Successful and safe emotional release
- Increased compassion and comfort for peers
The Beat Goes On
In addition to serving the students in chosen schools and classes, we also strive to include the teachers and administrators in our programming, matching them with their own songwriter teams. It is our goal to care for and serve the care-taker and staff teams for each of our program groups, as we believe they often are struggling in their own rights due to the work they are performing, possess a unique perspective of their own on the population group being served, and can also be a key part of the solution. We are proud of this holistic approach in our programming, and are encouraged to see equally powerful songs coming out of the teacher and administrator groups.
For more information or to get involved as a songwriter, sponsor, or in any other way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Sing It To Stop It!” in the subject line.
A Sample ||Sing It To Stop It|| Program Survey Result Summary
- 64 students participated in the pilot.
- 42% of student participants had been bullied before either in person or on social media.
- More than 1 in 3 student participants have bullied someone else. (34%)
- “Sing It to Stop It!” may encourage real behavioral change in students who bully others. Of the 22 students who admitted to bullying in person or on social media, almost 82% said they would be less likely to bully in the future because of program participation.
- Participation in “Sing It to Stop It!” has the potential to help combat negative feelings in those who are bullied. Of students who had previously been bullied, more than 1 in 4 believed they would be feel less bad about themselves if they were bullied in the future because of participation in the program.
- “Sing It to Stop It!” resonated with students, with approximately 90% of student participants indicating they would like to see the program return. Among those who weren’t necessarily interested in the program’s return, 71% said their participation will make them think twice about bullying someone in the future.
- School staff who participated in the program unanimously agreed “Sing It To Stop It!” may have encouraged some new perspectives and, potentially, behavior for the students on the issue of bullying.
- All staff indicated that using music and songwriting made it easier for the students to talk about bullying.
- Staff indicated witnessing transformations in students during the songwriting process, such as opening up and coming out of their shells, and students who are normally shy speaking up and feeling like their voices were being heard.
- The “Sing it to Stop it!” program was an overwhelmingly positive experience for the songwriters. Every songwriter expressed a desire to participate again and had positive feelings about the experience, as well as their own changed perspectives and personal transformations.