100 Wishes: Bringing Joy Through Music

Music, because of its deep connections with the brain, has a profound impact on emotions and the soul. Notice the feelings of joy when listening to an upbeat song or feelings of melancholia when listening to a slow and soulful piano piece.

In the very first instalment of the YWLC X Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) 100 Wishes Workshop Series: DIY Percussion & Music on 22 August 2020, Elle Cheng and Tim Min Hui, YWLC volunteers, taught SCWO Star Shelter residents the basics of music and percussion, and helped them to appreciate beats and rhythms, as an avenue for them to find momentary peace, calm and happiness with simple household items.

During the session, the residents learnt to make a DIY percussion instrument using recycled tissue rolls, papers and beans; and used microwavable boxes and chopsticks for a drum kit and a metal straw-glass bottle combo to play high-pitched tones. This helped them understand beats, time signatures, tempo and sound modulation.


With Elle on the piano and Min Hui conducting the class, the residents also had an enjoyable time playing their DIY and easy-to-make instruments to the tunes of ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘Do you want to Build a Snowman?’.

Whilst conceptualising, creating and making music with the residents, the team had some reflections on the session:

  • Music can be enjoyed in any form, if you take the time to appreciate it Often, people feel that it is necessary to be an expert at singing or playing an instrument to enjoy music. However, it is all around us, and can be appreciated in various forms, be it your heartbeat, the sound of waves crashing or a makeshift drum set using boxes; there is a rhythm and soul to every sound made.


  • Music breaks barriers and builds relationships Although the volunteers and residents come from different cultural and language backgrounds, the mini-concert connected everyone as they had to work closely together, and everyone bonded over the beautiful experience of playing the instruments - the percussive sounds of the DIY instruments and boxes, and the shrill tones of the glass bottles - in harmony.

  • Harness the power of music to change your mental state ​Music can invoke a positive emotion in the listener and performer. Regardless of what you experienced over the day, you have the power to put on some happy music and break into a dance, or slow therapeutic music to ease your muscles and calm your mind.

A little goes a long way when it comes to bringing joy through music. Both volunteers and residents went home with hearts filled from the smiles, music and laughter that resonated throughout the room. Learn how to make your very own DIY Instruments at home too by checking out the video that inspired this workshop.

100 Wishes is one of the three flagship YWLC CE programmes to give back to the community. Read more about another CE flagship programme, Pay It Forward Mentorship Programme, and its impact to the younger generation of girls in Singapore here.

If you'd like to volunteer with the Community Engagement subcommittee, please contact us here. Stay tuned to our social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) for more information on volunteering opportunities.

Please note that only YWLC members can take part in CE activities. If you would like to volunteer with us but are not a member yet, you can sign up to be a member here or find out more about membership here.

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Organising Committee: Community Engagement Subcommittee

Musical Contribution: Elle Cheng, Tim Min Hui

Partner: Singapore Council of Women's Organisations

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