Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Music in the Community

I had the pleasure this week of addressing a local Rotary Club where I shared  some of my songs, along with some insight into the life of a working musician.

Just as there's a marked difference to working in a major corporation vs working in a small to micro-small business, so it is with Music and the Arts.   Some musicians are in there for fame, fortune, recognition ....and few of those will achieve their big dreams in a world where commercial interests take priority over the artform.  But - and leaving aside the hobbyist players - there is a substantial number of musicians, working at community level, with a whole different set of priorities.

Community musicians have a passion to engage with their community, to make a contribution to the betterment of their community, and to foster a passion for their art within the community.  Some of them do this by actively working with  individuals and groups - teaching, sharing, encouraging others to get involved in music.  {A great example locally is Mark Jackson who instigated the Newcastle Ukestra which now numbers hundreds of individual members.  Many of those had never known the joy of making music.  The movement has community members helping other community members in small groups and encouraging friendship and connection amongst people of all ages}.

Others make a difference in the daily life of individuals by busking - uplifting someone with a smile makes a difference. A thread of music from another human being may just distract and uplift someone carrying a particularly  heavy burden at that moment.  Whilst others take the stories of individuals in the community and write them in songs, creating a melodic record of the day to day life in our community, our society.

It's an important role that these artists fill in the world around us.  Yet they are - for the most part - terribly undervalued,  underrated and unrecognised for the contribution they make.

Mega concerts and huge arts events may be a commercial drawcard which benefits Councils and governments through tourism dollars.  But it is the smaller, intimate, community-focused, Arts & Music-based functions and events which enriches the individuals who live in the community and which builds a community spirit.  And it's community musicians and artists that make those things come alive.

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