My friends, I wanted to share a really remarkable moment for two of my great friends Duncan and Lee Ann McKee. Nine years ago, they launched STIX, Motivation Through Music. I was present at their very first corporate gig, and it was an amazing experience. Nearly 100 people, coming together, playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” with nothing more than a couple of plastic tubes. It was a special moment for everyone in the room.
Lee Ann and Duncan in Action
The specialness of the moment wasn’t just because I was witnessing two great people launching a dream, it was also because the majority of this group had never played a musical instrument in their lives. Yet here they were, playing a symphony. It was remarkable
Roll the clock forward nearly a decade and STIX has been a great success. They work with the biggest brands all over the world, sharing their special message and motivation. In fact, if you’ve got a corporate meeting coming up, keep them in mind.
But they’re not the kind of people to be idle, so they’ve been busy creating something else. For the last two years, they’ve focused on moving this skill beyond business, because they believe everyone can play music – young or old. But it’s not just about the music for Lee Ann and Duncan, they also have a strong desire to make a meaningful contribution in the world – both socially and environmentally. And that’s where Bambajam comes in.
Duncan and Lee Ann created Bambajam so we can all experience the joy of playing music together. Many people miss out on music in their younger years, so being able to play later in life often feels like an impossible dream. Well it isn’t. Duncan has worked hard to create a musical notation system anyone can learn to read (see below – very colorful for the kids), and the Bambajam instrument can be played as separate tubes or with a small group of people sitting around the instrument together as a xylophone. This means everyone in a school CAN have an instrument to play. Can you see it in impoverished schools? I can.
I was lucky to grow up in a family devoted to music, but many do not have the opportunity. However, learning music isn’t just about exploring a new skill. All research in this area indicates that kids who have creative outlets – especially music – perform better across the board. In Asia, with academic success such a high priority, this is a key strength for Bambajam. Not to mention, the kids will be happier!
A wonderful part of this story is its sustainability message. The Bambajam tubes (or xylophone) has been handcrafted and sourced from renewable bamboo in partnership with the East Bali Poverty Project. Lee Ann and Duncan are absolutely committed to ensuring the instrument is sustainable and ethical as well. As such, the East Bali Poverty Project are sourcing the bamboo and you can read more about this great organization here. Bamboo reforestation is critical for both sustainable social and economic development in this community. Therefore, by supporting Bambajam, you really can make a difference.
How can you help? In the last week, Lee Ann and Duncan have launched an Indegogo crowd funding program and I urge you to check it out, make a donation, plant a bamboo, or better yet, buy the instrument. I think our order is already in, right Steve? Additionally:
- If you know someone in teaching, tell them about Bambajam. For a small investment, a classroom can play a symphony
- If you are a parent, buy one of these beautiful instruments, even if you’ve never played music yourself. You’ll be amazed how quickly you are playing a symphony with your family, or maybe some jazz, or a nursery rhyme – there’s lots of music to choose from
- Or just make a small donation to help them out or pay a small fee to plant some bamboo and help the wonderful people living in the mountains of Bali
There are lots of ways you can participate – check out the right hand side of the Webpage here for ideas. I’m just thrilled to see two great people making such a beautiful impact on the community they live in, as well as sharing a new way for all of us to learn music. But we’ve got to help them out because….
- Bambajam is the real deal.
- It’s created by two people with a wonderful, meaningful dream who are now delivering this to the world.
- It’s a business built from passion and it can change the world.
- It’s giving jobs to people who need them.
- It’s making a positive environmental contribution.
- It can get everyone playing music, no matter the skills or experience.
- But most importantly, it’s a business built from the heart. That alone is worth supporting.
Who’s going to join me and give two social entrepreneurs a leg up on their awesome business? Thanks in advance if you decide to help them out.