Teen Cancer America’s Play it Back Songs program has found new and exciting ways to work with young people during the time of Covid-19. Like so many other things the way we engage with our young people through music has seen an overhaul. We have gone from time at bedside in the hospital or hours spent in the studio to a situation we are all very familiar with these days of using the Zoom video streaming app. Despite the change the fundamentals are still there, building connections, expressing yourself, and having a blast. Our Play It Back artists work with co-creator/producer of Play it Back Songs, Kenli Mattus, on an individual basis. Within the Zoom app, Kenli and the artist can still see each other and work one on one. Kenli is also able to share his screen showing the artist the art of music development and production. Together they can decide to add a particular beat, a piano interlude, or rockin’ drum solo to the piece they are working on. Each artist’s work is uniquely theirs, so their input on every aspect of their projects is important and valued.
Seeing the positive effects of how Play It Backs Songs has created community by introducing one artist to another through various experiences we have also now developed a weekly event called Music Mondays. This activity is for all the artists new this year as well as last year’s group. It’s a wonderful way for everyone to get on Zoom together at one time and connect. “This is such a positive and creative group,” says Hilary Gan, Teen Cancer America Hospital Programs and Services Director.
“They GET each other on so many different levels, it’s wonderful to watch how the work together and support one another.”Hilary Gan
Music Mondays varies from week to week. Activities have included games, group song writing, sharing personal cancer stories or individual music they have created. It involves performance, feedback, homework, (yes, you read that correctly) and special guests. This week we were lucky enough to have Play It Back ‘Homie’, music producer, writer, and friend Benny Blanco join one! The group was so excited and were able to ask Benny all the questions they wanted. The night was amazing and everyone learned so much about music and even a lot of great life lessons. The excitement will continue as we grow this program even more. If you would like to learn more about the program or are interested in being a part of it in some way please see more about us by clicking here.