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Using song and music as an energiser at a congress

During MOVE Congress 2014, the participants made music! Everyone was surprised in the good way, opened to movement and music, going with the “rhythm”. On how this was possible, the congress convenor Sean Blair and Tom Currie from Music and Movement, shared their experienced regarding this energising initiative.

Sean Blair – ProMeet, UK

In early 2014 I was asked by ISCA to suggest inspiring new ways to begin the ‘MOVE Congress’, an annual three-day conference for about 300 people from all over the world.


I suggested using song as a way to get all 300 people immediately working together with the hope that in asking people to sing (participants would not be expecting this request!), it would also tell participants that this is not a traditional congress where they get spoken at for 3 days, but a congress that invited their heartfelt participation right from the start, giving them permission to think, work and act in new ways.


Having worked in a music business, AudioFuel, for 5 years, I knew a talented composer in Howie Saunders, and my closest friend Tom Currie is an accomplished conductor and composer. My experience of making music to help people exercise also suggested that if properly planned we might be able to deliver three interactive singing ‘energisers’ (one on each day of the congress), but also make a final mixed and mastered track that featured participants singing and would become the anthem on the congress.


ISCA was brave in accepting this suggestion and Tom and Howie took on a challenge that was way more challenging than any of us had imagined.


Tom expertly drew 300 people into the unexpected process on the first day, with some simple warm up exercises, (see attached video) and delegates looked pleased with themselves after the opening evening session. (After the welcome drinks reception, as I walked back to the hotel, it was pleasing to hear delegates singing “NowWeMOVE’ as they walked home...!) On each of the next 2 days in two 15 minute sessions the participants sang different parts.


The recordings we made were added into the final mix and the MOVE Congress closed with a video set the the music Tom and Howie had written, featuring singing from the delegates.


It was an unusual and unexpected way to energise 300 people, but one I’d be keen to further explore.


You can listen and download the song here.


Tom Currie – Music & Movement

When we first discussed the idea of movement and singing energizer sessions at the MOVE congress I felt instinctively that it would fit well for the delegates and be a natural extension to the theme of the event. What I didn't know was how the delegates would sound and, as we were planning to record them to create the souvenir of the project, that was a risk. At the first session I was very impressed by their enthusiasm and luckily their voices! The group was musical and we just had to capture their performance to use in the composition. In conversations with delegates across the three days I also got a strong sense of what an important role music played in their lives and work.


It was really fun leading the sessions and after the playback of the final piece I was proud of what had been accomplished through the project and grateful for the great support of everyone involved. As I flew back to London that night my mind was buzzing with ideas on how to build on the creative process, explore other themes, involve delegates in the composition and create a more ambitious end product. I do hope we get to work together again!