Our Core Values
Our statement of Core Values was drawn up by the Good Vibrations team and is reviewed annually. It is aimed at potential Good Vibrations facilitators, funders, host institutions and other key stakeholders.
What’s special about Gamelan
Gamelan (Indonesian bronze percussion orchestra) is special for a number of reasons including:
- It is quick and easy to learn the basics and a beginners group will quickly get good results.
- It provides an extremely accessible creative experience (and we believe that the opportunity for creative expression is essential for everyone).
- It is exceptionally communal: there is no overall leader or conductor, everyone’s contribution is equally important, you have to listen to everyone else to fit your part in; and to a large degree, the shape and content of a piece is determined by a group as it goes along.
- It is endlessly flexible: it is adaptable for all abilities even within the same group; there are countless routes for progression and development.
- It allows for real diversity: it brings people together from diverse groups and allows for diverse ideas and approaches.
- There is evidence that the sound of gongs and similar instruments is therapeutic.
- Playing Gamelan creates the state of “flow” (total absorption in a task, and the ongoing satisfaction and loss of self-consciousness that brings) which is essential to a person’s well-being.
Working with people in prisons and secure hospitals
People in prison are one of the most marginalised groups in society. While recognising that some have committed serious crimes, we believe that helping prisoners and patients in secure hospitals to acquire essential life skills and helping them to rehabilitate themselves so that they do not re-offend, is a useful and important thing to do. We regard prisoners first and foremost, as human beings and therefore respect and value them.
Our workshop style is relaxed, informal and un-disciplinarian. Our focus is firstly on the process, the group dynamics and individuals’ needs, rather than solely on the musical output. Furthermore, we do not believe that the two are mutually exclusive. We believe that focusing on the process will in fact bring about a better musical outcome with the participants than a more output-driven approach. We also believe this focus on the process enables the project to deliver benefits like basic and key skills, in the most effective way. Thirdly, we believe such an approach helps develop participants’ self-confidence and self-esteem.
Group improvisations and creating group compositions are the transformational heart of our projects. We teach traditional gamelan pieces and playing techniques as the building blocks to facilitate this group creativity. We work flexibly, in response to shifting group dynamics and to individual needs and issues, rather than following a preset formula or rigid lesson-plan.
Although our projects are therapeutic and have social benefits, we are not social workers and we do not offer “music therapy”. Individual needs and issues (ours included) will inevitably form part of the group process. We create a supportive environment in which people can, if they wish, work through issues and reach their potential. We don’t need to know about people’s past experiences; however we acknowledge people’s problems and issues and, if necessary, refer people on to others who can help.