Jon Hutt, graduate of the Human Services program at the Truro Campus, has been making music for over 27 years and understands the importance that creativity can play in social development.
Self-described as shy and introverted as a child, Jon’s early passion for music helped him find his own voice and develop his communication and social skills.
Instead of a vocational work placement in his last term of the program’s Disability Supports & Services Concentration, Jon developed a self-directed assignment called the Stringaling Music Project.
The foundation of the Stringaling Music Project is to break down a six-string guitar into six separate one-string guitars that are played by six individuals. By creating the guitars using simple or recycled materials, the Stringaling guitars are incredibly inexpensive to make, can be handmade and are therefore accessible to every budget. “So often, money can limit our ability to explore new interests, so Stringaling is geared to remove those financial barriers. It’s a gateway into creating music,” says Jon.
Additionally, Jon guarantees that no previous music training is required. “Because there are only three chords in the average rock song, you would only need a minimum of two people per chord, a total of only six people.”
While working on this project, Jon was also volunteering with STAR - a sensory/motor training and recreation program for local youth with disabilities. "I wanted to put these instruments in the hands of these kids and let them experience the joy of music with little to no training or effort," says Jon. “Stringaling breaks down music to its core elements, to create a fun, one-of-a-kind musical experience.”
Jon’s Stringaling Music Project won the NSCC Truro Campus 2012 IDEAS competition which challenges students to develop an idea with business potential or community impact.
Jon recently registered the business and shared the Stringaling experience at a Nova Scotia Health and Wellness conference and with some of his members and clients at the Canadian Mental Health Association where he is currently employed.
“I have always believed that every single one of us is geared to play music – if you can walk, then you can play…because walking is all about rhythm. We have to let go of the professional standards of performance and simply become performers.”