Young people with disabilities across the North Island are honing their musical performance skills in safer workshop spaces, thanks to a $3,800 grant from the Trillian Trust to provide wireless speakers.
StarJam aims to improve the lives of young people with disabilities – mentally, physically and socially. Their free 90-minute workshops provide participants, known as ‘Jammers’, with the opportunity to break down the barriers to inclusion through music and performance. Every week, in 38 different venues, around 400 Jammers explore their talents in drumming, guitar playing, singing and dancing in an encouraging and supportive environment. StarJam’s workshops have a transformative power on those who take part – boosting their confidence, and enhancing their sense of belonging and purpose.
What the grant went towards
The grant enabled StarJam to purchase 38 cordless speakers for use in their musical workshops, performances and small events in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wellington. Having wireless speakers in their workshop spaces has enabled the Jammers to explore and express their musical abilities in an unencumbered environment. Many participants use wheelchairs or require close supervision, and having cordless speakers eliminates the safety risks of electrical equipment.
What this meant for the organisation and its members
StarJam’s new “wireless” workshop environments enable greater participation by those with mobility issues, and enhance the experiences of all Jammers. Being able to move about safely in a space that is free of cords and cables fosters greater freedom of expression among the participants and broadens the scope of their activities.
People with disabilities are often defined by what they can’t do. The StarJam music workshops and performances provide these young people with the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents, and demonstrate what they can do.
As one Jammer puts it: “StarJam has surely been the best thing that ever happened to me. We know now we can be as normal as we want to be and that we can achieve anything we want to.”
And from a parent’s perspective: “Normally, Michael has difficulty following more than two instructions at a time, but with the support of his wonderful tutor at StarJam he has been able to memorise a whole dance routine, which he performed on stage at the end-of-year concert before a large audience. This is more significant than it sounds, because this is a platform to keep building from.”