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  • Music Revival

    By Dendy Jarrett |

    Music Revival

    Could making better music make a change?


    by Dendy Jarrett




    We’ll I don’t know about you, but the political banter (and assured ensuing fallout) has me relying heavily on my music lately.


    Music is a way of expression for me (and many of my peers), but it’s also a means of escape. I can get lost in making music. Time seems to lose meaning and relevance.


    In recent issues of Make Better Music’s Dear Musician, we’ve discussed music as a means to reconnect with family and friends. We’ve also discussed using music as a way to make changes happen in your life.


    So what about making a change to the world? Is that too big an elephant to eat? I don’t think so.


    I believe this country and the world needs a music revival. Don’t get me started on the budget cuts that are slowly eroding music education from our schools…okay, that got me started. It's proven that music changes the human mind relative to math and science. But more importantly, it changes the way the mind relates to other people. Music teaches you to read body language, develops communication skills, and is truly the only language that transcends all barriers. A music revival could be the very thing that brings people of different religions, races, and nationalities together during these fractious times.


    Now you may say – wait a moment—some of the most egotistical people you know are musicians! Yes, but I find they're in the minority and generally, musicians are among the most helpful, team-centric people I know.


    If you’ve ever participated or watched a drum circle start with just a dozen people and grow to hundreds, you’ll understand what I mean about how music can be one of the most peaceful means of gathering you’ll ever attend. Bluegrass festivals, Bonnaroo-type events, or any of the thousands of local music festival gatherings that happen around the country every year—go and support music, or better yet…be a part of the event!


    Cities are starting to recognize the importance of these types of events and how they can draw people together. Every month, the city of Asheville, N.C. has a drum circle gathering that has grown to a respectable size. These types of events are changing cities for the better. They bring people together in a peaceful way to bring about positive change.


    Hopelessly idealistic? Stupidly simplistic? Maybe - but more importantly, maybe not. We have nothing to lose by giving music a higher priority in our lives, so why not do something that has the potential to make a positive difference?


    Join the discussion here.






    Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and 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.


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    A buddy and I would load up our carswith what we hand for hand drums, and travel to the Youth Center inthe town he lives in. We both have a djembe, cajon, tambourines andshaker stuff. . I got involve, as he was on the board of directors atthe Youth Center. We did care if you were 2 or 102, all were welcome,and all were encouraged to try every hand drum we brought. We got dozens kids to come with there parents, and the would have a smallfire going. It was quite a nice setting and a chance for folks toform a drum circle. I was really surprised how intimidated some folkswere about giving any musical instruments a try. The parents were theworst. The younger kids loved it.

    Over time, my buddy ran into a olderwomen that was looking to donate money to a music program. This wasnot the standard band, concert band, or marching band program thatsome schools still have, but they wanted to create somethingdifferent. What they did is, created a program with this verygenerous donation, that would get students involved in after schoolprograms Junior High and High School age students that would like tolearn, guitar, bass, drums, piano, or may possibly want to givesinging a try. I was asked to pick out a few guitars the would bevery playable. With the money they bought a telecaster, a Gretsch,and a lower mid grade Martin, a Fender bass, plus a few guitar amps,and a complete JBL sound system PA. A fancy Roland digital piano wasincluded, and the list goes on. I would have killed, as a teen tohave access to gear like this. My buddy was willing to give guitarlessons for free, and several other musicians in the area would bewhiling to do the same. This would hopefully be for students thatwere not involved in standard sports programs, of other after schoolactivities. I went there a ½ a dozen times and found no studentsthere, to a handful at best. I'm not sure what happen to the programor the instruments. The sad part was it was heavily marketed too andmy buddy is a big Facebook social media guy. The women said if moremoney was needed, just to let her know, and she would write anotherfat check.

    On Tuesday nights over the past year, Iam involved in a science maker space. It is for any one that wouldlike to build anything from light up jewelry or more complex robots.We have a full machine shop, tons of computers an 3D printer, microcomputers, RGB programmable LED strips and disks and the tools to doalmost anything one would want. Over the past year I can count on myhand, how many students have dropped in. There is no charge formaterials or any electronics , we just want students to show up.There's three instructors there too, and between all us, we have alot of knowledge to do almost anything. For the students that havecome by, the creativity is pretty low. The woman that runs it has avery nice personality and is very motherly, with 40 years teachingexperience and a PHD in physics, plus a MS in Chemistry. Another guyis a machine shop instructor with 40 years of teaching behind him.

    I'm not sure what kids are doing atnight, musically or otherwise. I guess they have there own thingsgoing on. Maybe its social net working, playing video games, watchingTV, I don't know.

    Drum circles can be fun, you just needfolks that are interested in giving it a try. I'll keep working atboth functions if asked again. I'm committed myself to the makerspace least another 6 months. To paraphrase Lou Rawls, music is thegreatest communication we have. Even if people don't understand thelanguage, they still know good music when they hear it. It'stherapy for the soul.







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