An Update On Heartbeat

I’ve decided to put a pause on the weekly Heartbeat call at Songcamp for the time being.

The Monday Heartbeat call on the Songcamp discord server ran for 143 weeks in a row: from March ‘21 through Dec ‘23.

A gathering place for our community, HB has been a dependable weekly rhythm of creative expression and connection amongst the volatile and chaotic context we often find ourselves in.

At times, it was where we came to do our work: receive camp updates, connect with our groups, coordinate next steps. At other times, it was where we came to hang out: share our wip music, connect with friends old and new. Always, it has been a gentle and welcoming space — open to all, inviting anyone to share and join in on the conversation.

I’ve constantly marvelled at the beautiful energy that organically became the Heartbeat call’s culture — one that inspires a sense of belonging, friendship, generosity and creative freedom. It is a place to express yourself, share your art, and connect with other kind and curious creative people. I’ve witnessed this weekly space nourish many relationships with high degrees of trust and intimacy that I was surprised to see attainable on an audio-only internet call.

I’ve been hosting the Heartbeat call since the start. It has been an inspiring place for me to spend my Monday afternoons over the last few years, making new friends and helping facilitate the connection of many others. Even on weeks when I didn’t feel I had the energy to host, more often than not I would get off the call an hour later feeling a surprising sense of vitality and joy.

Over this past holiday season, we took our very first break from Heartbeat (every other year we kept going straight through the holidays). In taking a few weeks off, I’ve noticed just how important a gap really is. In many ways, the Heartbeat call creates a shape for Songcamp. This has been amazing for us over the last few years, as it created a sense of orientation and consistency in the messy dynamism of it all. But now, it is time for Songcamp to evolve into a new shape. Because of this, it seems important if not necessary to remove this stake in the ground for the time being, and allow this new shape to form.

Here I am alluding to another point that I should make quite explicit: Songcamp isn’t going anywhere. This does not mark a pause for Songcamp, in fact quite the contrary. We are currently working on something new, something quite different in form to what we’ve done in the past, but with the same intentions as always: to experiment at the edges of music & the new internet, and empower musicians to carve out new forms of value for their work.

More on that soon. For now, I want to deeply thank all those who’ve participated on the Heartbeat call over the years. Whether you co-hosted or led your own segments/workshops, shared your music during Present Materials, engaged in the chat, or simply listened in — thank you for making HB a wonderful little place on the Internet; every Monday at 4pm eastern, 1pm pacific, other times in other places.

Speak soon,

Matthew Chaim

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