We believe that everyone is a songwriter and every person has a story to tell. We connect students with community members to write original, personalized songs together. Join us and let’s connect, empower, heal through music!
In 2012, a group of students at Princeton started the Genuine Medicine program with Genuine Voices, a music education nonprofit in Boston. The program paired teens in detention with pediatric patients to write songs.
They worked with “T”, a 16-year-old boy in juvenile detention, who wrote a song with Alexa, a 9-year-old girl with brain cancer. After the program, T said, “I feel this song made me want to help everyone and everything I can.” Alexa said, “This [song] will be my new Hospital Song to help me be strong while I fight my brain cancer.”
Stories like T’s and Alexa’s – connections formed through collaborative songwriting – serve as the basis for our activities today. In 2017, we took the step to establish Humans in Harmony as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so that more people can experience these musical connections.
Here is another story from one our workshops, where Kelsea, a nursing student, writes a song honoring the story of a child in foster care:
Jacqueline Yeon, Director
Jacqueline primarily studies songwriting and education at NYU. She believes in the importance of empathy and social connection. As a musician and an educator, she wants to create a culture of compassion for others and self through her songs and collaborative songwriting. She is very thankful to be part of Humans in Harmony as a director of Connection Board and NYU chapter. She also tutors at a local public school through America Reads/America Counts and is part of MusEDLab as a researcher where its goal is to develop technologies to enhance music learning and producing experiences. Jacqueline wants to write songs that make one feel like drinking a warm cup of tea next to a fireplace during the cold wintertime. Other than music-related activities, she enjoys writing, reading, and pilates.
Gideon is an undergraduate student at Princeton University majoring in Astrophysics. In Summer of 2019, he joined Humans in Harmony through Princeton Internships in Civic Service, where he directed the Summer 2019 Music Corps program and launch of the HiH student network. He’s a bass in Princeton’s Old Nassoul A Capella Group, and is curious about exploring music in its many forms—whether by self-learning piano, practicing space music, or arranging music.
Haitian Ma is a recent graduate from New York University Shanghai where she centered on world literature and translation studies. Haitian is interested in the changing conception of noise and its presence in public spaces. She has created pieces on the soundscape of Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum and Shanghai neighborhoods, and writes about noise as an enabling metaphor for alterity and difference. Joining Humans in Harmony in 2020, Haitian finds it beautiful and empowering how music brings forth a mode of collectivity from intimate acoustic experiences.
Erica Cao, President
Erica believes that the arts, humanities, and sciences intersect to make the world a better place. In 2011 she developed a songwriting program at Genuine Voices, a nonprofit which taught music to at-risk youth. She received her bachelor’s in Psychology with a Certificate in Music Performance from Princeton, a Masters in Music from Cambridge University, and attended medical school at Columbia University in 2014-16. Erica is a pianist and enjoys literature and creative writing.
Elizabeth Butterworth, Director of Development
Liz is a classicist and educator with a passion for music, theater, and arts education. In 2009 she founded Afternoon Tunes, an initiative in Worcester, MA, through which young musicians teach free music lessons to kids from the city. Liz received her bachelor’s in Classics from Princeton and then spent two years at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she received an MSc in Comparative and International Education, with a thesis on elementary school music education, and MSt in Latin and Greek Languages and Literature. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading novels and watching the Muppets.
Jennifer Chew, Director of Communications
Jen is an avid dancer, pianist, and enthusiast for the performing arts. She established CityStep Princeton in 2013, an initiative which brings performing arts programs to public schools. Jen has experience managing digital and print communications with early-stage startups, and has executed marketing campaigns for a tech start-up and fashion design start-up. She received her bachelor’s in History and a Certificate in East Asian Studies from Princeton, where her thesis research analyzed how African American music conservatory graduates shaped national music identity. Her hobbies include cooking, running, and hiking.
Erin Langston, Faculty at Instrumental and Vocal Department & Community Programs at the Diller-Quaile School of Music
Stanley Katz, Director, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University
Ashwin Vasan, President & CEO, Fountain House
Alan Ziegler, Prof. of Writing at Columbia University, Director of Pedagogy and Community Outreach
PO Box #250818, New York, NY 10025