TWU alumn Brendan Kwiatkowski writes songs to spark constructive conversation on masculinity

"I think music can bring about constructive conversations about masculinity," said Brendan Kwiatkowski, who achieved both his Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts in Educational Studies – Special Education at Trinity Western University. Formerly a high school teacher, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Education, while using his talent and passion in songwriting to influence how society views masculinity.

Recently, Kwiatkowski spoke to the Langley Advance Times about his latest research and his special project, "Songs of Masculinity."


Exerpt from the Langley Advance Times:

Brendan Kwiatkowski wasn’t planning to create a concept album, but after researching how young men are dealing with emotion in today’s world, the Fort Langley resident was inspired.

“Often I am moved to tears when I am reading the interviews,” Kwiatkowski said.

For his PhD, Kwiatkowski carried out a survey of 170 Langley Grade 12 students, to see how adolescent boys who are on the verge of becoming young men deal with emotions.

Out of the 170, he interviewed 20, 10 of the most emotionally expressive young men and 10 of the least.

Many of those who were less expressive became that way for straightforward reasons.

“In their stories, there’s events in their lives that make it harder to trust people,” Kwiatkowski told the Langley Advance Times.

He expected most would say they adopted a stiff upper lip because they didn’t want to appear weak, but that, surprisingly, was down the list of reasons, in third spot.

“Number one was, they don’t want to burden other people. Number two was fear of judgment.”

Boys who kept their feeling to themselves were, nevertheless, self-aware.

“They all, without exception, are conscious of that restriction.” Kwiatkowski summarized.

“They boys were all quite knowledgeable about what was happening inside themselves.”

On the other hand, those who were open about their feelings usually had people in their lives who acted as what Kwiatkowski describes as “emotional safe havens,” who let them express feelings without judgment.

Often those haven are female, usually their mothers.

One encouraging finding was that the trend among all surveyed was toward more open expression

“They’re noticing a shift in media and in their own lives.”

Kwiatkowski’s own feelings needed expression after hearing so many moving stories.

“I need to process it for myself,” is how he explains the genesis of his concept album.

Music has always been important for Kwiatkowski, a songwriter in his youth with an album to his credit.

He wrote nine songs that follow the life of a man from boyhood to old age, each song connecting with a major theme about masculinity.

Kwiatkowski calls it a “passion project” that isn’t part of his doctoral dissertation.

The album will feature a number of vocalists and each will only sing one or two songs on the album.

He’s already found a few artists willing to work for free .

One completed song “Letter to dad” performed by Gray, is a message from a son to his father, both struggling with feelings in different ways.

”What did you have to shut down? What dreams did you hide? What would the boy inside you, Given the chance, want to try?” the singer asks.

 
Read the full article in Langley Advance Times:
 
TWU in Langley Advance Times


About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, WA. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

For media inquiries, please contact: media@twu.ca

TWU NOW

Calling All Difference Makers | Become a Student Leader! Apply by Feb. 1st. Check out the short video series on YouTube to hear more from current leaders about their roles & how their student leadership experience has enriched their time at TWU: https://t.co/EPGyAO7Apa https://t.co/soZuUM4TRb

15 hours ago

Our Spring Chapel Calendar is live and packed with incredible speakers from around TWU and the world! Join us for Chapel Online every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11am. Check out the Spring '21 Chapel Calendar here: https://t.co/zJ3epPl5pS https://t.co/I4vYHQleWA

1 day ago

LLC Facebook Live Mansion Tour | Get a glimpse into life at the Laurentian Leadership Centre, our historic mansion located in the heart of downtown Ottawa! Tomorrow — Wednesday, Jan. 20th @ 6pm PST: https://t.co/ram1EsML3w

__

#TrinityWesternUniversity
#InspiringHeartsAndMinds https://t.co/LHW6ZAYm4J

2 days ago

Celebrating MLK Jr. | “One of the best ways to honour MLK Jr. is to respond to violence and racial animus by pursuing justice and reconciliation through non-violence. MLK demonstrated that costly discipleship and radical love are possible." - TWU President Mark Husbands. https://t.co/PuVnS6Z225

3 days ago

Hear from Janice Nickel, Director of TWU's Parent & Family Network, on helpful practices to cultivate a life of gratitude and thanksgiving. Read her article on TWU Stories: https://t.co/R5ocBmBvMS https://t.co/UzPwEzThlk

4 days ago

Celebrating Indigenous Voices | Patricia Victor, TWU's University Siya:m and Co-Director of the Institute of Indigenous Issues & Perspectives, shared a message on resiliency and reconciliation for an OMNI TV series that will be aired later this year: https://t.co/JepF0uveKz https://t.co/NvtfSxak0v

5 days ago