Billy Lee 李名信 ( Member US-China Peoples Friendship Assoc.) January 2019

Here are a few very inspiring quotes on Music from Positivethesaurus.Com :

Bono: “ Music can change the world because it can change people. “

Wm. Congrave: “ Music has charms to sooth a savage beast, to soften rocks, and bend a knotted oak. “

Lao Tzu: “ Music is the soul which can be heard by the whole universe. “

Harry Styles: “ Amazing thing about Music, there is a song for every emotion.”

Maria Augusta von Trapp: “ Music, a magic key, opens most tightly closed hearts.”

EdgarWinter: “ Music is very spiritual, it has the power to bring people together.”

Hans Christian Andersen: “ Where words fail. Music speaks.”

I have been doing research informally on friendship, empathy, compassion, and how to connect people – especially children – from around the World.

Few weeks ago, I was introduced to Prof. Andrew Jones ( Director of China Studies at U.C. Berkeley ) who showed me an interesting publication of selected Chinese Children’s Songs. Immediately an idea popped to mind : “ To introduce specially selected songs from different countries to each other may be a wonderful project to promote.”

I tested this idea among a few “usually responsive friends”, and here are few of their very helpful and encouraging responses :

Arthur Gregg:

“We are the world” a song that immediately comes to mind, also Up With People, an International Singing Group in the 1960-70s.  A critique wrote, “Music and social actions create opportunities for youth to develop a better understanding of the world, recognize the responsibilities they have to each other, and become global citizens by acting as positive agents of change.”

Jackson Barkstrom:

I remember the impact, singing 同桌的你 ( You at the same table ) at Qiaoqi Primary, had on me and the other teaching assistants during the 1990 Institute sponsored ACE trip to Shanghai three years ago. We were all near crying or barely holding ourselves together. Then we taught the Chinese kids “You are my sunshine” in our ACE English class, and they loved it. 

Bob Doran:

You have never had a Bad Idea. This one might Sing Globally.

Alice Chiang:

I can see compiling a book of songs for children from many different countries including CDs.  A great way for children to learn about different languages and cultures and make friends with people from different countries.

James Luce:

Once you have collected the appropriate songs, titles, lyrics, and musical scores these can be transmitted to schools, daycare centers, Boy-Girl Scouts and other youth organizations.  Separately, here is a title for your Friendship Movement: C.A.R.E. ( Compassion, Attachments, Relationships, Empathy ) A mosaic without cement is just a pile of pebbles. Friendship is what bonds people together.

Ryan A. Leonard:

Some popular children’s songs share the same melody across languages- for example, the French nursery song ”Frere Jacques” is “Are You Sleeping” in English, and Two Tigers (兩隻老虎) in Chinese. (It’s fun to learn both.)

Fred Gardner:

I don’t mean to be discouraging. I think it’s a great idea, but I wouldn’t expect too much in the way of (automatic) cross-culture benefits from it. (other inducements and facilitations will likely be needed ).

Stephen Smuin:

My idea is a bit different. Take myth stories from other countries and put them on as plays. ( How about Musical Plays based on Myth stories from different countries ? )

Megs Booker:

Start with a two country project. Use Chinese songs as part of 1990 Institute’s Jazz Program in China.  Should contact our friend, Jazz Composer and Pianist, Jon Jang.  <jjang@igc.org>

Fred Pratt:

Your latest idea is neither naive nor all that novel. When I was studying German at the famed graduate language school at Middlebury College (back in the 1960’s), we regularly sang German folk songs (Volkslieder) as a means not only to learn popular and colloquial German, but also as a means of encountering and appreciating a different language and culture. We had a wonderful little book of songs which introduced itself with these words: “Sprich, und du bist mein Mitmensch; Singe, und wir sind Brueder und Schwestern!” This translates easily into English: “Speak, and you are my fellow man (human being); Sing, and we are brothers and sisters!”

At a late age of 86 this year, and not at all competent in media technologies, etc., I realize that such a project needs to be embraced and implemented by younger and more competent enthusiasts – perhaps even visionary academic institutions, multi-national companies and governments which all have convenient global connections. I decided, however, that I should first clarify my own thoughts by writing down a Basic Plan which can be further developed or modified by others later.

Here is my Naïve 4-Step Basic Plan :

  • Step One :   Start with a few International popular songs to set a testing model. The selected songs should have instant emotional impacts as well as long-term memorable qualities. Music or melody generally provides the mood; Lyrics provide Meaning.  Good recording and singing with clear enunciation are essential. Ultimate goal is to generate Personal Joyfulness, Group Bonding, and Cross-cultural Appreciation.
  • Step Two:    In preparing the Package, understanding the indigenous spirit as well as the eventual international appeal require thoughtful translations. Books, CDs and Video are useful tools. Package should be well designed.
  • Step Three:  Distribution to Schools, Boy-Girl Scouts’ camps, Daycare Centers, Youth  and Senior Centers, International and Cultural groups, Libraries, Book Stores, etc. etc..  Engage Educational Institutions, Multi-national Media Companies, and International Governments.
  • Step Four:  Promotions to make sure that Music becomes a more integral part of our Life globally. Have Performers and the Listeners inspire each other! Reach out to all around us! Promote Friendship, Empathy, Compassion. Connect people around the World. Heartily learn and enjoy each other’s most endearing songs.

Notes :   This is an effort in Bridging Heart-To-Heart Across Different Cultures. This is a GLOBAL CHALLENGE PROJECT to my more competent younger friends around the world.