Growing Sound creates new anti-bullying strategy using music

As part of its Before the Bullying initiative, Growing Sound, a Covington-based music publisher, worked with 15 students in the Greater Cincinnati area to produce six music videos aimed at promoting pro-social behavior.
“We have an acronym—AFTER—for the five things we’re really addressing socially and emotionally in these collections of songs: acceptance, friendship, teamwork, empathy and responsibility,” says David Kisor, Growing Sound’s creative director. “Those are all the pro-social behaviors that prevent bullying from happening in the first place, so as we inoculate our children against things like the flu and against diseases, we can actually inoculate them against bullying by knowing that we all know these pro-social behaviors.”
According to Kisor and the research Growing Sound has conducted, schools that participate in anti-bullying campaigns actually end up with more bullying—not less.
“Once the bullying is there, we need to take care of ourselves and address things, but coming down hard on the bullying is trying to bully the bullying out of school, and that categorically does not work,” Kisor says.
Growing Sound, which is a division of local nonprofit Children, Inc. produces CDs and other materials based on the latest research regarding social and emotional development. And Kisor says music is one of the most beneficial ways of delivering that content.
“We remember things in songs long after we remember what someone just told us,” Kisor says. “In the first place, it sticks in the brain and shapes the way we think, and secondly, it’s just fun.”
Students who participated in the music videos, which will be released weekly throughout October in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, interacted with one another in a way that emulated the pro-social behaviors the organization is trying to promote, Kisor says.
“We did the rehearsal and shot all six videos in one day, and in the middle of the day, our research director, Tom Lottman, pulls me aside and says, ‘It’s amazing—the pro-social behaviors we’re trying to sing about in these songs—I see it happening in between,” Kisor says. “And it was just amazing to see the friendships and the bonding. Many students didn’t know each other at all before, and now they’re friends, Facebook friends, and they talk to each other.” 

Do Good: 

• Like Growing Sound on Facebook.

• Support Children, Inc. 

• Check out the music from "Everyone is Someone" and "Take Care," both of which are part of the Before the Bullying campaign.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

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