Musicians, take heart even in a downturned economy. Music has always been about social connections, and all musicians who have ever performed know about that intimate connection between themselves, their music, and their audience. Music creates a human bond of listening and connecting in a wordless conversation of the soul.
We fret and worry that support for music in the schools may diminish. We know in our gut that short-term illusory fixes like “bailouts” are all about political theatrics in a dance between power-hungry politicians and Wall Street. The arts usually receive patronizing praise and the short stick at best, and are totally left out of the conversation at worst.
But music will never disappear from the scene. The ebb and flow of a Beethoven symphony has a spiritual meaning, a permanence and a reality that will always outperform the jagged lines of a Dow Jones stock chart that fluctuates daily with “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
The need for music in difficult times is stronger than ever. Confucius summed it up precisely, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” So musicians, stay tough: keep playing, keep teaching, keep communicating. Our music is more resilient, more truthful, more enduring, and more important than the cacophonous voices of Washington politicians, Wall Street “divas”, and the echo chamber of the wailing media.
But job loss is real, times are tough, and musicians need to balance these contemporary (and temporary) trials with a network of mutual support. Attend concerts, support the musical organizations in your community, advocate for music and the arts in schools, and communicate, communicate, communicate. For those whose jobs have been lost in the maelstrom, this networking site for posting and finding jobs in teaching and in the music industry may be helpful.
And if you need further inspiration, don’t fail to read The Soloist by Steve Lopez and to see the new film release of the same title. It is the inspiring, true story of a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, whose life is changed by the redemptive power of music and the friendship of someone who cared.