Overview

Credits: Photo by Hasi Eldib, Video link: Rich Tapestries: The Ongoing Story of WAAM. (2019) Directed by Hasi Eldib.

Professor Jesse Stewart believes that music making is a fundamental human right. Through his award-winning work as a composer, percussionist, artist, instrument builder, researcher, and educator, he is deeply committed to making music as broadly accessible as possible. A musical innovator by nature, one of the most compelling of his extensive accomplishments is the work he has done to facilitate music making among those who have experienced barriers to music making historically due to disability, poverty, criticism, or lack of musical training. The video above is a documentary about some of the work that he has done through the We Are All Musicians project. With your support, he will be able to continue and expand projects like this, and continue to make a positive impact on our community.

Currently, he is working with persons with disabilities at Saint Vincent Hospital and with children from disadvantaged backgrounds using a wide variety of musical instruments. Your donation will support the further development of this work by enabling him to purchase additional musical instruments for use in these, and other, settings. More specifically, your donation to this project will help support the purchase of a set of “ludophones”, which Jesse will integrate into his WAAM research-creation projects. Ludophones are brightly coloured acoustic percussion modules. Originating in France, they have been used extensively throughout Europe and have gained recognition for promoting healthy musical activity without prior musical knowledge. This will be the first set of ludophones in North America. They are composed of materials that meet the hygiene and safety standards of school and hospital environments wherein Jesse will use the instruments with children and complex care patients.

The Background

Jesse Stewart’s dedication to community activism and passion for music inspired him to establish “We Are All Musicians” (WAAM), an interdisciplinary research-creation project dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals and groups to make music regardless of age, musical training, socio-economic circumstance, physical and/or cognitive disability.

As part of the WAAM initiative, Jesse has been able to successfully bridge the gap between academia and community. His research at Carleton University on inclusive music making has informed his approach to collaborative projects with a number of local organizations including Propeller Dance, an integrated professional dance troupe; Minwaashin Lodge, a resource centre for Indigenous women and youth; the Alzheimer’s Society of Ottawa-Carleton; H’Art of Ottawa; and Saint Vincent’s Hospital.

The WAAM project uses a variety of innovative ‘adaptive use’ and ‘movement-to-music’ technologies in conjunction with more traditional musical instruments in order to foster improvisatory musical interaction.

The Rollout

Your donation to this project will fund his academic research into the health benefits  of community music practices including those involving ludophones. Professor Stewart will use these resources in collaborative partnerships between Carleton University and the broader community, connecting resources on campus with those at local organizations including Saint Vincent’s Hospital and the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.

The Impact

When we make music, we not only create relationships between sounds, but also between people. Therefore, musical relationships are social relationships. The WAAM project provides unique opportunities to articulate musical and social relationships that are based on inclusiveness, equality, mutual respect, dialogue, and (co-)creative exploration. In so doing, the project benefits the artistic and cultural life of Ottawa, and fosters healthy, vibrant, and caring communities.

The WAAM project uses a variety of innovative ‘adaptive use’ and ‘movement-to-music’ technologies in conjunction with more traditional musical instruments in order to foster improvisatory musical interaction.

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