By Michelle Payne
Republished with permission from Music Teacher’s Helper

This past summer, I posted an ambitious article titled “50 Ways to Change the World Through Music” and asked teachers to help me come up with 50 ideas to put on the list. Well, I didn’t get up to the number 50, but with the help of my students, friends, and a few posters on this blog, I was able to compile a list of 38. I started the school year off by explaining to each student and parent that this year we would have a theme and the theme would be “Music and Service”. Each student received a copy of the list. I explained to them that I wanted them to try and complete at least 15 items on the list by the end of the school year. At the end of the year recital, each student who does this will receive a special certificate.

Some items on the list are simple, like #8: “Play music for your dogs.” (Yup, every student did this one first .) Others require more planning, like #13: “Host a Children’s Concert at a VA Hospital.” I tried to balance the list with easy and challenging tasks. So far, the students have done a great job. I have been blogging about their accomplishments here at .

So far, we have had two recitals at a retirement home, so most of the students have completed item #1. The kids and parents are really having a good time getting creative with the list. It’s exciting to see everyone use music as a way

A student plays an original song to a captivated audience.

to make other people feel good. The main purpose of this project is to begin seeing music as something that can be a tool for healing and social change.

I would like to invite all of you to participate in this project . My dream is to create a whole movement out of this project. I know personally how good it feels to play music for people who are sick, sad, or feeling alone. Playing music for family members brings feelings of happiness and pride to the listeners. The sick are uplifted, and the lonely feel acknowledged. Feel free to forward the link to your students,

Hosting a Sing-A-Long.

Or copy the list and hand out hard copies. If you have a student who tries one of the tasks, please post a response either here, or on the 38 Ways Blog.

Of course, we can also add to the list. I’ve already had students invent new things to put on the list. For example, one student hosted a Christmas Caroling party in her neighborhood, and even though that’s not on the original list, I think it counts! The possibilities are endless. It would be great to get the list all the way up to 50, so if you have any other ideas, post them here!

Making a difference with Music