There are four guiding concept goals in the DreamExtreme classroom:


We try to work them in to everything we do as a class, and it’s thrilling when we find them in the fabric of the world around us.

Today, as I was catching up on reading some of the blogs to which I subscribe, I found a reference to a wonderful video. Writer Jesus Diaz said the following:

This cover of Stand By Me was recorded by completely unknown artists in a street virtual studio all around the world. It all started with a base track—vocals and guitar—recorded on the streets of Santa Monica, California, by a street musician called Roger Ridley. The base track was then taken to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Grandpa Elliott—a blind singer from the French Quarter—added vocals and harmonica while listening to Ridley’s base track on headphones. In the same city, Washboard Chaz’s added some metal percussion to it.

And from there, it just gets rock ‘n’ rolling bananas: The producers took the resulting mix all through Europe, Africa, and South America, adding new tracks with multiple instruments and vocals that were assembled in the final version you are seeing in this video. All done with a simple laptop and some microphones.

This video, and the project from which it sprang, carries all the components mentioned at the top of this post. It’s obviously an act of communication; one that is spreading virally around the world through YouTube, Facebook, and other social networks. It’s also clearly collaboration, drawing upon the talents of “unsung” singers and musicians from multiple continents. Integration is what makes the whole thing work: bringing together bits and pieces from normally unrelated sources and diverse regions to create a rich and harmonious tapestry.

The innovation of this project is what I find especially appealing. As Mr. Diaz at said, it’s “all done with a simple laptop and some microphones”. When individuals take common tools to create products of uncommon
value, it is surprising and inspiring…the essence of innovation. It surprises us because it makes us stop and wonder with a mixture of “How’d they DO that?” and “Why didn’t I think of that?”. It inspires us because the next natural thought is “How can I do something as amazing as THAT?”

So there is my question…How can WE do something as amazing as that? How can we – in the DreamExtreme classroom – draw upon the surprise and inspiration of the Playing For Change project to create something that is innovative? What story can we tell? What song can we perform? What moment of creativity can we capture?

Now, as cool as the music video is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to go to the Playing For Change website and discover the whole story as told by Mark Johnson, the founder and president of the Playing for Change Foundation. Explore the website and find more creative offerings of dozens of musicians from multiple continents who have never met in person, but who are united in an earnest message of peace and collaboration.