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Hello 2021. We're in this together!

Tea & biscuits

Hello everyone,

Here we are are, 2021. I want to say 'Happy New Year,' whilst also acknowledging that we are all on another rollercoaster right now.

Many of us hoped to be back on the group, making music in our communities.

Many of us hoped to attend conferences and events across the country.

Many of us hoped to make eye contact with a real person, not a computer.

At Soundcastle we have spent a huge amount of 2020 exploring wellbeing and resilience in all of communities; from our grassroots projects to our own facilitator team and members of The Soundcastle Community. One theme has come up time and time again; when is positivity helpful?

It is so easy to see success. Social media is alight with pop-up YouTube gigs, Facebook lives and Insta workshops. Musicians are finding innovative ways to collaborate and facilitators are loving the new possibilities of Zoom and virtual connection. There have been online festivals, lockdown albums and digital celebrations of amazing work from across the country. YES this is fantastic and YES we have been a part of it, BUT it is so important to also acknowledge that there has also been huge challenge, disappointment and collective grief.

The Soundcastle team are known for positivity and energy online and we want to take responsibility for also sharing some more vulnerability. We need to practice in our online presence what we practice in our online community spaces; authenticity, reflection and vulnerability. That might happen to look like a really good sing or a family jam. It might also look like a challenging conversation or a group improvisation that brings up deep nostalgia. (Importanly, it never looks like a moan, however tough things get!)

So, for 2021 Soundcastle will be working even harder on this and I personally have made a few 2021 promises that I'd love to share (and be held accountable to!)

1. Be Real. Sometimes I show up with a smile when I should show up, have a cry and then move on. I want to commit to being where I am with my team and encouraging them to do the same.

2. You Are Enough. I had moments of immense pride in 2021 and also moments of feeling like I was falling. This year I commit to believing that what I have to offer is enough and to use other's successes to fuel inspiration, rather than self-doubt.

3. Keep Curious. After a year of being at home, I've had moments of feeling out of touch with reality and disconnected from our wonderful sector. This year I commit to being even more curious and excited about what everyone is achieving and will invest more time in reading, watching and listening to the amazing creations of communities everywhere.

I don't know what 2021 will bring, but I do know that my energy is almost 100% fuelled by interaction and inspiration from others. Please keep in touch, keep making and keep sharing. Both the ups and the downs.

Always here or at The Soundcastle Community for a chat and thank you for taking a moment out of your day to read this. I'd love to hear what your promises for 2021 are!

Love Rachael