Dear Musician - Make Better Music Movement
By Dendy Jarrett |
Dear Musician – Make Better Music Movement
When words fail … music speaks.
by Dendy Jarrett
Dear Musician –
Thanks for stopping by today, and welcome to the latest issue of Make Better Music.
We consider ourselves fortunate that when it comes to musical topics, you and others in the Harmony Central community generally avoid the mindless negativity that seems to be a major part of social media today. Yes, we’re certainly in tumultuous times, and it seems like there’s a lot of hate...so it helps to have a place where we can talk about our love of music.
Some people look toward music and the arts as not just an antidote to the stress of everyday life but as having the potential to actually change society. For as long as any of our editors can remember, music has been a vehicle to take political stands. In fact, one of the great things about music is that it is a non-violent way to say what you want others to hear.
But will it actually effect change? That’s debatable.
In the 1930s and 40s, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger sang about labor practices and struggles of the average worker, yet some would say at least some of those problems still exist. And even though Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and James Brown’s “Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” sang eloquently about racial tension and inequality, we still live with those issues today.
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” became a feminist anthem of sorts, but one look at the headlines will tell you that problems in the workplace for women remain. And while Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and John Lennon sang about the angst of war, as you read this there are dozens of armed conflicts going on in the world.
So does this mean music has no “teeth”? Not necessarily. Solving problems that have been entrenched in the world since the first cavemen argued over who was going to eat the spoils of the hunt is no easy task. Music can send a message, but it’s up to people to act on that message.
And some people do act on that message, because in hard times we often turn to music for a solution—and many times, the people hearing that music have delivered. In 1971 The Concert for Bangladesh itself raised close to $250,000 for Bengladesh relief, with an estimated $12 million raised through proceeds from the live album and film. I spoke recently with drummer Charlie Morgan about his first gig with Elton John, which was supposed to be a small fundraiser “thing.” Turns out it was a little fundraiser known as Live Aid, which is estimated to have raised $38 million in 1985 for aids research.
And what about Farm Aid, or when Music Rising helped musicians (and many others) when Katrina hit New Orleans...Ariana Grande’s benefit for the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack...Hope for Haiti Now, which raised $16 million...the list could go on, including the myriad benefit concerts held in communities throughout the world that contribute to charities or people in need. All use music to raise much-needed funds, as well as provide moral support, during a crisis.
We at Harmony Central celebrate the positive impact music can have on people, whether through the forums that reflect your thoughts, or this newsletter (and thank you for sharing the Make Better Music newsletter with other musicians and asking them to sign up—you are the reason our circulation continues to grow). We believe that a community of musicians can provide support that may not solve the world’s problems but chips away at them relentlessly and, in the process, changes hearts and minds.
Our goal has always been to "make better music," but maybe it’s time to turn that into a Make Better Music Movement that also helps make a better world. We believe music can provide a long-lasting, positive outcome on society—and you can be a part of that.
So, please join us in a Make Better Music Movement because when words fail…music speaks!
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.