Children in Harmony is proud to serve youth worldwide through its flagship program, The Amani Project
My Amani Journey
My Amani Journey is a series of projects that club members complete in order to earn badges. As club members move through their own journey of completing the increasingly difficult projects, they will gain skills in emotional intelligence, music-making, teamwork, and community activism.
Club members will work on these self-guided project (or “badges”) during meetings. There are four levels to work through, with six badges for each. Once a member works through all four levels, they take a mini-course on leadership and then become assistant mentors for their club.
Harmony Breaks are quick group activities that mentors can use to reset, shift group energy up or down, stretch, shake it out, or encourage breathing and calm. They are designed to strengthen the social bonds among club participants and may be used at any point during the club meeting. Clubs can also introduce or create their own games or activities to be used as Harmony Breaks.
The Club Agreement is an important document that is created by club members at the first club meeting using the Club Agreement Guide. It outlines the common goals and expectations of the group in order to set a positive tone for club activities and establish a safe space for all. During the process of creating this document, members are asked to decide as a group how they want to feel and be treated during club meetings, what this looks like in action, and what they can do to make sure everyone is following the agreement. Additionally, club members will create a plan for how they can address potential conflicts or unwanted feelings.
Amani Club Committees allow each club member to take a leadership role in making sure the club is successful. Committees are established using the Club Committee Guide within the first month of opening an Amani Club.
To date, the Amani Project Toolkit has been contextualized and translated into seven different languages and settings.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Upon joining an Amani Project Club, club members take a Welcome Survey to tell us more about themselves. This baseline assessment collects information about youth exposure to music-making and performance, and their attitudes and behaviors related to self, others, and the local community. Club members will take a similar “post-test” survey 6- and 12-months into program activities in order to track changes in exposure, attitudes, and behaviors over time.
Mentors fill out a “Club Tracker” for each club meeting. The club tracker seeks to capture the who, what, where, when, how details of each meeting. It also allows mentors to report back on challenges, successes, and needs to the partner organization and offer suggestions for improvement.
We realize seeing our logic model is mostly just for the data nerds of the world, but if you’re a self-identified lover of logic models or just interested in the nitty-gritty details of how we’ve framed up our work, here is a beauty:
We like this definition of social emotional learning by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Studies shows that music-making (especially in a group setting) can have a similar effect to your standard SEL intervention. For instance, in Koelsch (2013) , the researcher found that “when playing music in a group, individuals have contact with other individuals, engage in social cognition, participate in co-pathy (the social function of empathy), communicate, coordinate their actions, and cooperate with each other, leading to increased social cohesion. Music making is special in that it can engage all of these social functions effortlessly and simultaneously.”
Even better, Bailey and Davidson (2005) report, “music can provide opportunities for people to emotionally invest in one another. For example, within a choir of homeless and other marginalized individuals, group singing was found to offer powerful social benefits, namely a sense of camaraderie and a social support system.”
Here are a few more resources that have helped us frame our work:
Music Learning as Youth Development edited By Brian Kaufman, Lawrence Scripp : This book explores how music education programs can contribute to young people’s social, emotional, cognitive, and artistic capacities in the context of life-long musical development. International scholars argue that MLYD programs should focus in particular on the curiosity, energy and views of young people affecting the teachers, musicians, pedagogy, programs, and music with which young people interact. From fields of progressive music education, authors share their perspectives on approaches that can lead to new ways of enabling youth learners as they transition to adulthood.
Arts Education and Social-Emotional Learning Outcomes Among K-12 Students: Developing a Theory of Action a report by Ingenuity and University of Chicago Consortium of School Research. This project consists of two components: a review of literature on this topic and an interview-based fieldwork component with educators, administrators, students, and parents in Chicago Public Schools. Their literature review highlights the strength of the research into arts education and social-emotional learning with regard to focused, qualitative case studies and the gaps with regard to experimental or randomized control trials. Combining this arts-specific research with multidisciplinary literature on child and adolescent development and insights from their fieldwork interviews, they propose a theory of action that describes how arts learning experiences have the potential to promote young people’s development of social-emotional competencies.
The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people by Susan Hallam. This paper reviews the empirical evidence relating to the effects of active engagement with music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. It draws on research using the most advanced technologies to study the brain, in addition to quantitative and qualitative psychological and educational studies. It explains how musical skills may transfer to other activities if the processes involved are similar. It explores the evidence relating to the impact of musical skills on language development, literacy, numeracy, measures of intelligence, general attainment, creativity, fine motor co-ordination, concentration, self-confidence, emotional sensitivity, social skills, team work, self-discipline, and relaxation. It suggests that the positive effects of engagement with music on personal and social development only occur if it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This has implications for the quality of the teaching.