#Human courage

#HumanCourage: André Heuvelman

posted 08-09-2021

Because we’re moving through challenging and exciting times, we want to give some of our favourite and most inspiring people the chance to share their story; how they deal with turbulence; and how they extend their drive to help others. Today we kick-off with performer, innovator and trumpet player, André Heuvelman.

André is a living example of human courage: someone who turns standing out into fitting in, and helps others do the same. That’s one of the many reasons why we love working with him during a myriad of different projects and with diverse clients.

What’s your mission?
My mission is to help people let go of their assumptions and prejudices; to start with a beginner’s mind. To encounter things as if it’s the first time. Like inhaling right before you blow the trumpet. I have one sentence that might help to summarise: “take one step into the future because everyone is an artist.”

What does that say about you? What does that sentence mean for you?
Well, I think you can only connect with people if you’re connected with and working on yourself. I strongly believe that people are just human beings who have put much emphasis on human having and human doing. I want to bring people to their own pace on a human being level, where they discover that they are enough as they are.

Why do you find this idea of human being so important, where is that rooted for you?
I strongly believe in the power of creation. How do we help people create rather than react? By discovering your own desire and purpose. I know, purpose is a big word nowadays but for me it’s nothing more than a true phase. We learn so many things when we are young, and society is so focused on telling us what we’re not good at that we lose sight of our amazing talents.

When I work with individuals, I want to know what makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. And I want us to connect through that. I want you to show me this during your performance. That creates strong people who can stand up for what they believe the world needs. And it’s up to you to share that.

What role does music play for you when triggering people to discover their trumpet?
For me it’s quite normal to show my vulnerability on stage. Because I can hold onto my trumpet and together, we are circular. That means that I can be Andre with or without my trumpet. Which is the next step. So, question one is what is your trumpet; what are you good at and what can you always rely on? For some people its honesty or making connections.

The next stage is to lower your shield (or in my case trumpet), what do you see? This is the process that I take people through, to discover their trumpet and then dare to connect with their true self. Their vulnerable self.

Who is Andre without his trumpet?
Andre with his handicap. I realised this for the first time when I put my trumpet down five years ago. That’s when, for the first time, I felt and saw that I was able to embrace my handicap. My trumpet became my friend rather than my shield. I now contribute to the world through my trumpet.

That sounds like a daring and courageous step to take. How have you shown more of this human courage during these changing times?
On the 1st of August I stepped out of the orchestra and out of my comfort zone. And, at the beginning of corona I was still connected to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra as a manager of creation and innovation. During this period, all my colleagues from the orchestra were sitting at home. Unable to play. So, I asked them to record a video of themselves playing their part of Beethoven no. 9 and muster up the courage to send it to me. Quite a challenge if you’re used to the acoustics of the orchestra. After 20 people submitted their part, we put the video together in a studio. And it went viral. It was so touching to see that their instruments had become their friend. This initiative was the biggest success of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 105 years because we got 3 million views; Oprah even shared it. It takes courage to do something like that.

What gave you the energy or the courage to come up with this idea to help them to see their instrument as their friend rather than their shield?
I felt their loneliness and anger that they couldn’t play together anymore. I wanted to share this with the world. To have the courage to look beyond the borders and do something radical. Those who participated they are still unbelievably grateful. They made world stars of themselves by simply being authentic as human beings. We received calls from other orchestras across the globe asking: How did you do that? We want this too. We even received a message from an IC doctor in Nijmegen who said that this video empowered his team stay strong for the people in hospital.

That’s a huge compliment! As a closing remark, what would your main message be for others?
That you’re enough as a human being, just change your perspective. And show your true face. This is, like I said before, the purpose of life. But keep your trumpet.


André is currently working on numerous different projects. One of them was inspired by the Dutch professor of neuropsychology, Erik Scherder, who says: ‘everyone creates their own unique visualisation of what they hear.’ As a musician, André was never a composer. Now, he creates tracks in different layers. Subconscious, conscious, pulse and melodies. He calls them journeys that keep you away from vertical, linear thinking.

Research is being conducted into what role music can play in slowing down the heart rate during PET scans for example. To help people feel more at ease. Because one of the biggest problems we face in life is overthinking. Whilst meditation often feels a bit alien, André developed their own sounds in 8D. When you put your headphones on, the sounds surround you. As if you’re in a forest. As you focus on the sounds around you, you’re already meditating.

Have a listen to this track. And if you want, feel free to create as your listen and send in your poem, drawing or other creation and encourage others to do the same.

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