Dr. Woodson has served as Musical Ambassador in Iraqi Kurdistan and in Indonesia.
Working alongside our Musical Ambassador Christine Stevens in Iraq, he conducted drumming events for local children during which drums were fabricated and then played.
He traveled to Indonesia after the big tsumami to bring post-trauma healing sessions to the survivors. Interestingly, Dr Woodson concluded that because the tsunami had been a natural event, the same kinds of healing were not really needed. The psychological damages found in war zones were not present. People were unified in their efforts to reconstruct. They were not living in fear and distrust of one another. He concluded that his efforts as a Musical Ambassador were more desperately needed elsewhere.
Musical Ambassadors of Peace has subsequently focused efforts of healing in refugee and war victim zones where people have difficulty regaining trust in one another.
In the play-along approach, Dr. Woodson has carefully designed ‘composite’ instruments that produce considerable sound quality, that represent the main sound families of the orchestra, and are easy to make and play. He has devised a way of conducting the audience from the stage with a series of large sign boards and large conducting dots.
In the end, students are able to take away the experiences of listening to an orchestra and of playing along in a synchronized way. In addition they are led by a conductor and in certain sections have fun improvising.
ORCHESTRAS. This program concept was picked up by many orchestras in the 1990’s, one being the National Symphony Orchestra, where 25,000 students made instruments for 10 concerts with the Orchestra. For these events, Dr. Woodson produced a video for schools describing how to make the instruments; it went out to 400 schools for teachers to help make the instruments in advance of concert. Students later came to the Kennedy Center to attend a National Symphony concert and during this event, took out their instrument and played along with the Orchestra on a specially commissioned work. Many other orchestras have hired Dr. Woodson to present his play-along family concerts.