Week 5: Personal Audit

My final project is called ‘Life Soundtracks’

Synopsis:  A series of podcasts / video interviews that aim to tell a range of life stories using music as a narrative.

Personal Audit:

After doing a BA Hons in Media, Culture and Society at Birmingham university, I have had a 13 years of freelance work in independent music. I have been a venue manager, promoter, online  radio manager, DJ, music manager, pr, social media, project manager, producer, dance teacher, festival manager and more. My passions have always been more concerned with music as culture and the difference it can make to improving everyday life than the commercial side of the industries, though these two areas have undoubtedly overlapped. I am particularly interested in how music can uplift and how collaborations and ‘cross pollination’ of cultures can benefit communities and individuals alike.

In the last year or so, I have become particularly interested in music’s role in identity and memory, and the potential for it to play a bigger role in individual and community wellbeing, after reading a really insightful book by Oliver Sacks (a leading neurologist) who has written extensively on case studies of people who have been affected by music in different ways following brain injuries. This lead to watching a documentary (available on netflix) which changed my life, called Alive Inside, which highlights the potential for music to be more powerful than medication in aiding Alzheimer’s and dementia, because of its intrinsic links to identity and memory, and the therapeutic benefits of it as a vehicle for ‘good vibrations’.

My final project aims to be an exhibition / event of the podcasts and video interviews I have conducted, with people offering their ‘Life Soundtracks’. I also aim to include in the Life Soundtracks from a small number of dementia patients by the end of the academic year, and contribute to the Alive Inside movement, which thanks to the work of Oliver Sacks and the documentary makers is now worldwide, and aims to get music (mostly via second hand ipods) to people similar to those featured in the film, who can richly benefit from personalised songs that relate to their identity and personal history. I want to showcase these Life Soundtracks online, following the exhibition event, and offer the chance for an interactive Do-it-together- style situation where people from all over the world, can also submit their life soundtracks, either by audio or visual recordings, and also the chance for people to contribute to the Alive Inside Movement.

Overall, my project aims to bypass the ‘totalitarian’ music histories and concentrate on personalise music histories, as though every person and their everyday lives contribute to a bigger jigsaw puzzle of a regional, national and international music history, and document how important music is in memory making, memory triggering and identity.

Challenges:

Though I have the skills to record and interview people, collate music and produce events, my challenges are as follows:

  • Visual documentary making / production
  • Audio documentary making
  • Finding collaborators, as this is to be an interactive project that involves graphic design, appealing to a wider audience and creating a worthwhile piece of research to my field.
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One thought on “Week 5: Personal Audit

  1. Music as “thing” is a very powerful and is able to heal in various ways as to stimulates different parts of the brain. I will refer you to a book by Elena Mannes called he Power of Music, in which she explores similar concepts using music to heal different aliments. Music certainly can heal spiritually, physically and mentally. “In recent years the has been increasing interest, in and awareness of, the efficacy of music therapy with hospitalised children.” (Wigram and De Backer, 1999) – All the best in your endeavours as music can reach the places that no person or medicine can.

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