Hello, and welcome!
The goal of the MUSACOR site is to encourage individuals and small groups of musicians to start their own music projects, filling gaps left by the fragmentation of our communities: If we and our neighbors feel isolated or at a loss for meaningful interactions, together we can address this musically. If we are anxious or fearful, depressed and have lost a sense of purpose, we can reawaken a sense of hope and community cohesion together through our music activities. I hope ideas and resources on this site will be helpful as you consider how to engage in meaningful community music experiences.
We can begin by listening.
Listen. Embrace the richness and diversity of experiences that is your community.
Help residents tell their stories, by creating and making pieces together. (Think of Studs Terkel and how powerful those stories are.) What are some of the experiences residents have to tell? What is the best way to present them musically?
Stories can be based on local history: Are there firsthand stories of people surviving major local natural disasters (e.g. the big flood)? Stories of steelworkers whose jobs have long since gone elsewhere? Stories from the Hill district? War survivor stories? Can you weave them into a spoken/sung piece or add interludes of suitable music in between parts of the spoken narrative that inform the story? Can you create this work together?
Tell the stories of refugees or other immigrants who are settling here. How did they get here? What do they see? Can you incorporate sounds, instruments and music that they like from their homeland into their stories? What music and instruments are familiar to both of you? Can you work with them in creating their pieces? How about African-American, Amish, Hispanic, Indian, Nepalese, Somalian, Syrian, Iranian, Nigerian, Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean; what are some of their stories? Can they teach you dances and songs that are important to them, or how to play their instruments?
Through your music can you address human rights issues? Hunger? Poverty-related topics? Can you make the voices of bullied or traumatized students come alive through how you present them musically? The discussions and debates that result in the creation of a piece on these topics can be a rich, community-building experience. And music is at the center of the experience.
I encourage you to be open to expanding the scales and modes you use, instruments, the choice of composers and composition techniques to include Indian, Korean, Chinese, Hmong, African-American, Somalian, Syrian, First Nation, or others as makes sense for your sound and cultural explorations.
You can explore this idea further by taking a look at the Design/General section of this website.
Participate. So who that you know is good at writing arrangements? Making up accompaniments to melodies? Setting words to music? Have you tried improvising with people in your community in small groups of, say, two or three players, with different instrument combinations and ability levels? What can you teach each other? You can find more on this subject as you explore the health, education and at-risk articles on this site.
Connect. Your goal is to make the music interaction, for whatever group or audience, a healing, mutually therapeutic one. You give your experience, skill and knowledge, they share their stories, dances and music, you learn from each other, and the result is a collective and community-strengthening event.
Listen. Participate. Connect.
Strengthen your community with music.