CNMN > Projects > Music From Hope: Empowering Refugee Youth through Creative Music-Making

Tarek Ghriri and Nour Kadan

  • Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
  • Found objects or art supplies
  • Voice
  • 5 to 12 years of age
  • 13 to 18 years of age

weekly workshops for up to 4 weeks

  • Community associations

Music From Hope: Empowering Refugee Youth through Creative Music-Making


Explore the project Music From Hope, in which Nour Kaadan and Tarek Ghriri lead cre­ative music work­shops for refugee youth ages 5 – 25 who have recent­ly arrived in Cana­da and are stay­ing in tem­po­rary hous­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Toronto. 


About musi­cians Nour Kaadan and Tarek Ghriri

Nour Kaadan and Tarek Ghriri, the founders of Music from Hope, start­ed offer­ing work­shops for refugee youth  in Beirut, Lebanon, and are now based in Toron­to. The musi­cians lead music work­shops, and use sound, song­writ­ing, body per­cus­sion, and non­vi­o­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion to encour­age inter­ac­tion between par­tic­i­pants. No back­ground in music is nec­es­sary.  The goal of Music From Hope is for par­tic­i­pants to have a safe place to feel and express their ideas through music. 


Design of Music From Hope workshops

Refugee fam­i­lies don’t tend to stay in tem­po­rary hous­ing for more than one month after arriv­ing in Cana­da, so the youth  may arrive or leave the pro­gram sud­den­ly. Nour and Tarek design a set of 3 to 4 work­shops so that par­tic­i­pants can join at any point, with youth who have attend­ed more ses­sions lead­ing the new­er par­tic­i­pants. Each work­shop is struc­tured in three parts: warmup, body of main activ­i­ties, and clos­ing activities. 


Fea­tured activities

Warm-up: Tarek leads the warm-up that uses a mir­ror­ing exer­cise to match the ener­gy of the kids (shy or ener­getic). Tarek also runs around with high ener­gy to help kids focus on him and lose their shyness.


Rec­og­nize music notes: use music note cards to learn dif­fer­ent rhythms and musi­cal pat­terns. The facil­i­ta­tors then get par­tic­i­pants to use the cards to lead each other.


Par­tic­i­pant shar­ing: Tarek and Nour invite par­tic­i­pants to share a song or activ­i­ty. Some­times this is then used in the next workshop.


Pass the shak­er: Hit the drum on the beat for kids to pass the shak­er in rhythm, and when the shak­er stops, that par­tic­i­pant is the leader of the exercise.


Com­pe­ten­cies need­ed to do this work 

Impro­vi­sa­tion skills: to be able to impro­vise musi­cal­ly, and also to work through unex­pect­ed ideas or reac­tions to work­shop activ­i­ties is impor­tant. The work­shop can change sig­nif­i­cant­ly in fol­low­ing par­tic­i­pants. Being adap­tive keeps the work­shops fun and excit­ing and engages participants. 


Respon­sive and adap­tive: Pay­ing atten­tion to the par­tic­i­pants, meet­ing their ener­gy, and respond­ing accord­ing­ly to make sure every­one feels includ­ed and the par­tic­i­pant needs are met.


Knowl­edge of immigration/refugee expe­ri­ence: Nour and Tarek have expe­ri­enced glob­al dis­place­ment, which helps in build­ing con­nec­tions with new­com­er youth. Yet both facil­i­ta­tors are care­ful not to assume they know any participant’s experience.


What does suc­cess look like?

One out­come for the work­shops is to build respect among par­tic­i­pants through the musi­cal games. The kids are very cre­ative, so suc­cess is see­ing the kids over the set of work­shops becom­ing com­fort­able to lead the ses­sions, even telling the facil­i­ta­tors to step aside so they can lead their idea.


View sec­tions of the documentary: 

0:00 Artist intro­duc­tion 

0:53 Project overview 

5:36 Fea­tured activ­i­ties  

6:43 Com­pe­ten­cies

Read More +