This is a question I get asked a lot. Just what is Community Music? And before I get into my interpretation of it, i’d like to say that i’m no expert! These are my thoughts.
Put simply, its using music as a tool to bring communities together, and encourage people to be musical. But in reality, it’s much more than that.
It’s a movement that happens across the world, with links to education, Ethno/Musicology, youth work, therapy and much more. And Community Musicians are everywhere, though they may not know it. We do a multitude of things, such as running workshops about musical exploration with children under 6, running a group choir with retirees to combat isolation and depression, teaching precussion as a physical therapy excercise or simply taking a guitar to a hospital and performing for the patients there to brighten their day. And those are just a few examples.
But they key to it all is the WHY. Why do we do it. I’ve spoken to a variety of Community Musicians over my years and each response is personal, but follows a similar track. They LOVE music, and the positive effect it has on people, its ability to bridge gaps in age and race, and most of all, its the desire to expose more and more people to the idea that they too, can be musical. And that’s what motivates me. I was lucky enough to be involved in a music project for young people in my area when I was about 12, and thats where I caught the bug for music education and Community Music. I wanted, and still do want, everyone to have the opportunity to be musical, no matter ability, but just for the sheer enjoyment of making music and being musical.