In the Saarland region of Germany, a nonprofit organization is helping the development and personal growth of young adults through musical and creative initiatives. Speaking to the team behind the project, we find out what programs are available, and what results that have been made through their years of work.
The merits of music are not solely limited to commercial success and recognition. Music can also help connect people, create communities, and assist those who are working through tough times in their lives. This is particularly applicable to young adults, who often see music as a form of escape. One such organization using music to help local young adults grow personally and creatively is 2. Chance Saarland e.V., a non-profit cultural association based out of the Germany city of Saarbrücken.
Established in 2008, 2. Chance is a recognized provider of voluntary youth welfare that welcomes children and young adults between ages 14 to 25, from a variety of different backgrounds. With an open door policy, the team looks particularly to engage with those who are socially disadvantaged, disabled, are from a migrant background, or have particular barriers to integration. Here they can participate in a wide variety of creative courses such as dance, theater, or music, singing, and production, to help further their creativity.
“It doesn’t matter why they want to make music, whether it’s just for fun, for distraction or because they really want to do it professionally,” explains the project’s Musical Director David Windmüller. “Music leads to new perspectives, and it also helps for many to deal with personal misfortunes and trauma.”
Celebrating ten successful years of intensive project work in the cultural field, the institution has been responsible for putting on many local musicals, concerts, and dance events. With four permanent team members, and a wide range of interns and volunteers, the team provides the young participants with the tools and encouragement they need to write and create their own music. “Ideally, they write their own song regarding their life situation and personality, as personal songs usually come across even better than cover songs,” explains Windmüller. “This gives the young people the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions and gives them free rein. For many, music simply makes them happy, which is exactly what we want to encourage.”
The process takes the students from song ideation through to creating their own body of music, giving them the option to produce something in a professional environment. Not only are the academics encouraged to create their own music, but they’re also given the opportunity to perform what they’ve produced in front of a public audience. For example, since 2009 the institution has been running an event series called Unplugged at Garage Saarbrücken, where the young musicians get the opportunity to tread the boards and perform in front of their peers. “Through these events, we also draw the attention of other young people to our musical capacities, so that we can encourage even more people to get involved,” Windmüller explains about the events. “The fact that this goes down so well with young people is because of their love of music. They not only sign up to become members of our community, but many sign up as interns or go on to apply to be Federal Volunteers, which shows why associations like ours that promote and enable music-making are so important.”
One particular alumni from the program worthy of note is local singer and pianist, Justin Hayo. Having started his journey at 2. Chance at the age of 16, the now-23 year-old plays in several bands, and even spends some of his free time volunteering at the center.
“The nicest thing about it is that through this time, an intense bond built up between us, and after all these years he still comes to visit us regularly,” Windmüller tells us about Hayo’s rise through the institution. “It is exactly such successes that are proof enough for us why our work is of such great importance, and this always gives us the motivation to carry on in the same way.”
“For me, 2. Chance is a place I can always come back to, and feel very comfortable,” explains Hayo about his experiences. “Here I can develop musically as well as personally through the collective team spirit. 2. Chance has contributed to the fact that music now not only plays a big role for me in my private life, but also in my professional life, which is something that I had hoped for. What fascinates me the most is the quality of work from 2. Chance, and that spontaneity and improvisation is never an obstacle for them, and that they never give up.”
Another singer songwriter who achieved personal growth thanks to the team at 2. Chance is 18-year-old Maia Roos. “For me, 2. Chance is an open door that welcomes everyone,” she says about her experience there. “It’s a nice feeling because you meet new and interesting people every day. But the main reason for me is the aspect of music they offer, through which I have the motivation to develop myself even further. You always get help for new inspiration and ideas. They create great and exciting music projects, which I have experienced myself, having witnessed and participated at Unplugged. Overall, I would say that 2. Chance is helping me broaden my own horizons, for which I am very grateful.”
ADAM Audio has been supporting the team at 2. Chance by helping them create a professional studio environment through the donation of in-house studio monitors. “We would like to thank ADAM Audio very much, because with them we have been able to establish a music studio for the association and all the young people who are enthusiastic about music,” says Windmüller about the partnership. “We hope for further years to come of successful cooperation.”