Engaging Migrant Workers
Connecting through music
In collaboration with Healthserve, I have organised outings to engage with migrant workers in Singapore through music. Most recently, I led the chamber choir from Yale-NUS College to sing a diverse repertoire of choral music at a food project in Little India. Although there was a very significant language barrier between us and the workers, we felt that they were very appreciative of the music we brought to an otherwise mundane food distribution event. I wouldn't say that music is a universal language, but music is definitely able to help us navigate the barriers to communication that then enables us to connect to others on multiple levels. More importantly, it opens up the door to building further relationship through conversation following the performance - even if neither party can speak a common language fluently.
What can we really give?
Engaging migrant workers is a new initiative of mine, and to figure out what I and anyone on my team can truly give is a challenge. I'd say that it's great to simply be a blessing by performing and spreading joy through music, but there seems to be a lot more that can be done beyond visit a location one afternoon and performing two sets of music. There needs to be continued engagement and significant investment.
My future plans include communal music-making in the form of workshops and drum circles. I welcome interested parties to collaborate with me!