Colorful and Proud: Struggle, Songs, and Triumph
• Shireen tells the story of her struggle growing up as a second-generation Puerto Rican-Iranian-American in a predominantly white and gender / heteronormative culture. She shares earned insights from a lifetime of learning to help students validate and understand the cultural constraints in their own lives.
• Shireen describes how songwriting, integrating music of her cultural heritage, and other powerful forces (i.e. supportive community and nature) became part of her liberation process. She shares relevant songs as examples.
• Shireen discusses the vital role music and the arts play in the greater socio-cultural movements of our time. She encourages students through examples and suggestions to utilize creative expression to share their story, own their identities, honor their authentic values, and influence change in the world.
Hand Drumming: A Cultural History and Therapeutic Approach
• Shireen talks about the African and African-diasporic roots of hand drumming.
• Shireen explains how she entered the world of hand drumming as a performer and also how she discovered its personal therapeutic power.
• Shireen includes experiential exercises of rhythm (no drums necessary) and offers an approach for students to use hand drumming to de-stress, empower, and improve.
Jamming for Joy: Sounding, Rhythm, and Community Songs for Everyone
• Shireen deconstructs notions around music-making descended from the Western European music tradition and offers alternative perspectives and inclusive approaches, especially as represented in Africa and Latin America.
• Shireen offers a framework for music improvisation regardless of musical background to put students directly in touch with their innate musical abilities. Holding strong the belief of music as medicine, Shireen invites students to connect free-form music-making with personal intentions.
• Shireen teaches simple, relevant songs via aural tradition (basically by ear) to invite the group to directly experience their access and belonging to singing. Those who are not comfortable singing in public will be invited to support rhythmically using their bodies and found objects.