CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses suicide.
We’re all aware of the undeniable power of music. It’s unifying in ways we can’t even begin to explain. It can nail any emotion or conjure immense relief in times we need it most. It’s a tool for change and harnesses the ability to impact anyone who encounters it.
This is exactly what the charity Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD) is founded on. Launching in 2000, it’s a haven where disadvantaged youth are encouraged and nurtured to find their voice. Based in Gosford, they run a slew of unique programs and workshops that span from songwriting camps to event planning and prep.
It’s fostered a strong community that’s left a permanent imprint on Australia’s music industry – they’re shaping the next generation of Aussie music heroes and lifting the voices that need it most in the process.
“My upbringing wasn’t the best. I was never really into music until my next-door neighbour gave me a guitar. She was the first person who really believed in me. I started to fall in love with writing lyrics and attended a songwriting camp,” explained MMAD founder Dominic Brook, sharing how his passion for music developed.
“It was really the first time I’d experienced feeling a sense of belonging and community, which instilled a deep passion for helping others and creating change through music.”
For Dom, it was a no-brainer to incorporate music into his pursuit to make lives better for others.
“Music speaks a different language. It has healing and cathartic qualities to change the stuff that’s going on inside that can’t be explained,” expressed Dom.
“It’s magical. It’s scientifically proven to help us and release dopamine. It’s a beautiful thing.”
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Since MMAD’s inception, they’ve partnered Universal Music and run a slew of studio and songwriting camps in which industry leaders mentor their young participants to help hone their craft. They’ve had participants go on to score record deals, appear on shows like The Voice, with current alumni including D Minor and Justice Crew.
They’ve also launched a new podcast called ‘Music Saved Me‘ too, which has featured musicians like Eves Karydas, GRAACE, L Fresh The Lion, Illy and more discussing the deep, integral role music has played in their lives.
One of their biggest events is ‘MMAD Day’ (coming up this Friday December 4th), which sees their RiseUp program graduates create their very own music single, national campaign and music video, as well as working with Universal Music Australia for a once in a lifetime opportunity. For MMAD, providing this ongoing support is key in their operation.
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Watching MMAD graduates pursue their dreams is rewarding for Dom. After 20 years of inspiring the lives of young people, the positive feedback that they receive is telling of their strong dedication to creating a better future for others.
“There are so many stories we’ve encountered over the last 20 years. But there is one in particular that sticks out to me recently,” said Dom.
“A participant recently told me that before the program, he had written a suicide letter. He came into MMAD and said that the atmosphere and welcoming nature of it all saved his life.”
Dom’s vision for MMAD is clear – he wants every young person to have someone who they know is backing them. After all, having someone believe in you is the most important ingredient in working to reach your goals.
“Young people find their value and are able to amplify their voice through the power of music – they can take off their mask and share how they’re really feeling,” said Dom.
“We want to help them escape what they’re going through and find their place in the world.”
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Have something on your mind? You can reach out to BeyondBlue at 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.