Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Playing For Change: Episode 2, "Stand By Me"
Four years ago while walking down the street in Santa Monica, Calif., the voice of Roger Ridley singing “Stand By Me” was heard from a block away. His voice, soul and passion set us on a course around the world to add other musicians to his performance. This song transformed Playing For Change from a small group of individuals to a global movement for peace and understanding. This track features more than 35 musicians collaborating from all over the world. They may have never met in person, but in this case, the music does the talking.
This class is about exploring “Creativity and Social Change,” which is why the video, “Stand By Me,” captured my attention from the minute I watched it. The people that had the bright idea of putting this video together are very creative and are making positive social changes in society, as well as in communities all over the world. Furthermore, the name of their Web site speaks for itself -- Playing for Change.
Based on what I experienced when I watched this, I strongly believe that the creativity in this video can touch our hearts and possibly awaken the feeling and emotions that many of us hide deep inside of us. It is amazing to see how all of the people singing in the video are connected by the same passion for the music and the sound of the different instruments. Some of them actually make very nice musical sounds with different objects they play -- possibly invented or created by themselves.
The possibility of being connected by similar emotional pains exists. These pains could be caused by different circumstances in life (homelessness, hunger, loneliness caused by separation or loss of loved ones, rejection from society, etc.), but in the end, lead people to feel similar emotional pain as reflected in this video.
Most importantly, this video can impact the viewers in a positive way by making them feel compassion toward other people in society, regardless of their origin, race, color, culture and social class. This compassion for others in society is what we need. It is the tool that can trigger our desires to make a change in the life of an individual, a community, society -- and mainly in ourselves.
For instance, the first person who sings in the video, Roger Riedly, seems to be a homeless person. At the end of the song, people from the community approached his bag and made a contribution. Also, there is a possibility that the doors to the music world open up for one or more people singing and playing in this video, as an individual or company seeking new artists may become interested in them either as a singer or instrument player.
Finally, I think the creative idea of getting all these people from different parts of the world together in a single video is amazing. There is no doubt that creativity can impact our lives a lot in a positive way. Creativity not only help us to be or become creative, but it also helps us to discover the gift of the creative mind some of us already possess, but have not yet discover. At the same time, it help us to better appreciate the ideas and creative thinking of others, as well as realizing that creativity can come from anyone and anywhere. After taking the "Creativity + Social Change" class, the term “underestimate others" becomes history for some or all the students that experience this class.