Sing some change.
Want a way to get your message heard in a loud clear way? Sing out what you want! Singing songs has helped bring change--from the civil rights and anti-war movements in the US to fights for fairness and democracy all over the world.
Singing lets others hear your message better, says Nancy Schimmel, who has sung out all I her life about the environment and fairness for all (Nancy's mom was the protest singer Malvina Reynolds). Nancy started Occupella with other women in California--they sing at protests and transit stations and many other places. Betsy Rose, who also has long sung for social change, says that "when people hear your message sung, it sounds friendlier, even though your words are serious. They'll listen more and remember it."
It's simple to create songs. "The easiest way is to use a familiar tune that people can sing along with, and add your words," Nancy says. For example, Occupella takes the tune of "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" and substitutes lines such as: "We'll be ending oil dependence when we come; We'll be saying 'no' to fracking when we come; We'll be curbing our consumption when we come; We'll be riding in bike lanes when we come."
You can use this technique to address any kind of change you want. Let's say you agree with NMG member Leah, 13, California, who wants school arrival time to be later so students can get the sleep they need to learn. Maybe you could take a song such as "I've Been Working on the Railroad," and use lyrics like this: "Kids don't need to be so tired / All the lifelong day / They should go to school inspired / Not to pass the time away."
Studies show that singing makes messages "stick," such as songs that help kids learn faster. Singing bravely and consistently about changes needed can make change happen. As Nancy says, "Singing makes people
more courageous and more peaceful at the same time."