The Awesome Music Project co-founder and award-winning film and television composer Rob Carli (left) joins Caroline Brooks from The Good Lovelies (centre), and Jim Creeggan from Barenaked Ladies (right), on stage for a performance at an Awesome Music Project fundraising event. © PAUL REID
Because Music Changes Everything
Hands up if you or someone you love has faced mental health challenges. In any given year, one in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness and by the age of 40 one in two will have, or have experienced, a mental illness. The crisis is real and the Awesome Music Project (AMP) is committed to making music part of the solution.
The Awesome Music Project’s mission is to spread the word about music’s healing properties and support research that helps shift society towards the consistent inclusion of music in mental health treatment. In addition to funding research, AMP develops music-based, community-focused mental wellness programs and partners with businesses, community groups, local governments, schools, and other organizations to support local delivery.
“We want to make a tangible difference in mental wellness at a community level,” said AMP co-founder and Deloitte Canada’s GOC Chief Digital Officer Terry Stuart. He added, “Music really can change everything. I’ve personally benefitted from the positive impact of music on my mental health. It’s something that’s universally accessible across cultures and generations and its healing powers can be experienced by everyone.”
The October 2019 release of AMP’s first book, the best-selling The Awesome Music Project Canada: Songs of Hope and Happiness helped to establish the charity nationally. A collection of 111 stories about the transformative power of music, Songs of Hope and Happiness includes contributions from regular Canadians alongside recognizable names like Sarah McLachlan, Rick Mercer, Alan Doyle, Chris Hadfield, and Jennifer Heil.
Building on that success, AMP has implemented two community-focused programs to help amplify the message that music heals. Both AMP4Life and the Awesome Music Hour use music as the anchor for conversations about mental wellness. Piloted in long-term care homes and youth hubs respectively, AMP4Life and the Awesome Music Hour helped improve the mental wellness of participants, building confidence, encouraging creativity, and increasing
engagement in both groups.
Entering its fourth year, AMP’s ambitious agenda includes bringing both of these programs to communities across Canada. Delivered in partnership with local organizations and business leaders who support mental wellness in their communities, these programs can be adapted for any group—from youth and senior citizens to first responders, healthcare workers, Indigenous communities, and as corporate wellness initiatives.
Key to this effort is a major fundraising campaign that will support the introduction of The Awesome Music Hour at hospitals across the province of Ontario. “The strength and stability of our healthcare system depends on having a healthy, supported workforce,” said AMP’s Executive Director Cori Ferguson.
“If there’s a playlist that can change your mood, a band you love to see live, a song you always sing at the top of your lungs, or an instrument that brings you joy when you play it, you already understand that music can improve mental wellness and mental health. It’s time to turn that belief into tangible support for our frontline healthcare workers, who have sacrificed so much over the last few years.”
To help us bring the Awesome Music Hour to your town by making a corporate donation or booking a one-hour AMH team-building event for your company, please contact AMP Executive Director Cori Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Online donations to support The Awesome Music Project can be made at www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/53698
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The Awesome Music Project explores the transformative power of music through the sharing of stories, songs, and science. We are dedicated to accelerating awareness, research, and solutions related to music and mental wellness.