Playing for Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, breaking down boundaries and overcoming distances between people.
Created in 2002, Playing for Change began as a shared vision between co-founders Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke. Inspired by music they heard on the way to the recording studio, the pair took to the streets of America with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of inspiration and the heartbeat of the people. This musical journey resulted in the award-winning documentary “A Cinematic Discovery of Street Musicians.” Now the Playing for Change crew travels the world recording and filming musicians, building a global family.
This in turn has inspired the creation of the Playing For Change Band which includes musicians from many different countries and cultures, who are united through music. The PFC Band is now touring the world and spreading the message of love and hope to audiences everywhere.
In 2007 the Playing for Change Foundation was established, dedicated to building music and art schools for children around the world, and creating hope and inspiration for the future of the planet.
So far, 12 music schools and programs have been created in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Thailand. More than 1,000 young people attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers.
Projects also help meet essential needs of the larger community, including the provision of aid such as food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other modern technology. More than 15,000 people have been impacted by the Foundation’s community development and empowerment efforts.
Annual programme evaluations reinforce the real and positive impact of music education and demonstrate change in action. When children play music together, collaboration increases and conflict is reduced.
And critically important to children, particularly those who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, drugs, and neglect, is that learning music increases self-esteem and fosters resilience and joy.
As one of its students in Nepal has said: “Music is an indispensable part of life – you cannot live without music.”