The world can be a dark, difficult place sometimes, and easy to start feeling helpless. Musicians in particular can wonder what their value is, especially when many people don’t see classical or art music as vital, dynamic art forms but rather leftovers from the past. But music is as vital and relevant as we musicians choose to make it, and we can use it to make the world a better place. Music is a powerful expression of human emotion and experience; it’s been around since the stone age if not earlier, and it will continue so long as there are mothers around to sing lullabies to their children. So how can we stay connected to our music, and use it help other people?
1. Attend a Concert of Music You’ve Never Heard Before
So often we want to encourage other people to come to our concerts and discover what we’ve been working on, but we forget to seek out new musical experiences ourselves. Yet, those experiences can be important reminders of why finding an incredible new piece or hearing an amazing artist you’ve never heard before can be so powerful. Recently, I heard a fantastic performance of a modern violin concerto I’d never heard before by a soloist I’d never of. I came away amazed and impressed by the violinist’s passion and precision (Vilde Frang--go see her if you get a chance), and deeply impressed by the piece. It reminded me of why I loved music so much in the first place. It’s inspirational, even if I know I’ll never play like that:)
2. Play Your Music For Someone Who’s Never Heard It Before
When I lived in Miami, I used to busk on Miami Beach for tips. I played the Bach Suites, Pop Music, whatever I happened to be working on. I loved it. There’s nothing like watching children dance around you while you’re playing a gigue. It’s wonderful to have a receptive audience, and gives you a very intimate understanding of how a piece should feel. Believe me, you learn very quickly how to play something in a way that moves people! But I think it’s even more important that we bring music to people who may not otherwise find it. Maybe we stir something in someone--their thoughts and emotions, their curiosity. Maybe we expose them to an artform they might not otherwise discover. Music is meant to be shared, and when we shared it, we can bring people together. That’s a powerful experience in the world today.
3. Support a Good Cause with Your Music
If you can write a song that brings people together, or gives them hope, or helps them understand the world a little bit better, then write that song. If you can put on or perform in a concert that benefits a good cause, perform your best. If you can perform for schools, nursing homes, or hospitals, don’t hesitate. You can bring joy to people with your music, and that’s a powerful, necessary thing. We all need it sometimes.