Trade Winds is a group of six musicians whose mission is to encourage individuals to express themselves by providing excellent and accessible performances, workshops, and collaborations that teach music as a tool for social change and the arts as a way of life. Since our ensemble’s founding in 2012, we have completed two music residencies in Nairobi, Kenya, a pilot residency in Arusha, Tanzania, made music with over 1,300 children, and led educational programs in music performance, composition, and song writing. The musicians of Trade Winds are Suzanne Gillen, Brian Gnojek, Ellen Hindson, Brandon Scott Rumsey, Midori Samson, and Jamie Sanborn.
Our workshops aim to show students how they can use music in their lives, and how art demonstrates the concepts of individuality, community, and expression. All of us deeply believe in the power music education has to strengthen necessary qualities in children like curiosity, self-confidence, and communication skills. Our classes are highly experiential and each day students are challenged to think like artists and create and perform their own original works through mediums like instrumental playing, improvisation, movement, visual art, and creative writing. All of our workshops conclude with a sharing in which the students perform their music for each other and their communities.
While we will continue our partnerships in East Africa, we see an urgent need to make music within our own country. So this June, we will host our third large-scale project as an ensemble in residence in Chicago, Illinois. For two weeks, we will partner with local organizations: RefugeeOne and The People’s Music School.
At RefugeeOne, an organization that provides opportunities for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution, we will work with children who are new to Chicago, and use music to help them through their transition to life in America. The People’s Music School is a non-profit that provides tuition free music lessons to thousands of Chicago children each year. We will offer summer programming to supplement these lessons. We will also connect these two organizations so our RefugeeOne students have the chance to music lesson at The People’s Music School following our camp. Our curriculum will mirror the one we used in East Africa, to teach social-emotional skills through the arts, and facilitate the artistic expression of our students.
To make our programming possible, we ask for any support you can provide. As a grassroots organization of artists, we rely completely on small grants and donations from our family and friends. As a thank you, we have rewards we’d love to send you like email updates, music recordings, videos from our students, and Trade Winds t-shirts. In addition, all donors who contribute become part of the Trade Winds family and allow us to represent your generosity every day in our workshops and music performances. We are so grateful to be the product of your support and to be able pass it on to our music students.
You can also help by sharing this video and helping us spread the word about our organization. Thank you for those of you who are already part of our Trade Winds family, and thank you for taking the time to learn what we are all about. We hope you visit us at TradeWindsQuintet.com for more information.
Risks and challenges
A challenge we have faced in past residencies has been making sure we are addressing the true needs of our students, which are often quite different than our own. As we partner with other non-profit organizations to make our project possible, we will work to teach toward what our students need most. By asking questions, and collecting as much qualitative and quantitative data as we can, we can measure or students progress so that we can improve on programming during the course of the project, as well as for the future. We will work to make sure we are making the most positive impact we can for our students.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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