In a world where so many things are tearing us apart, a love for music seems to continue to bring people together no matter their race, gender or sexuality. The Alestle believes artists like Migos, Beyoncé, J. Cole and Bruno Mars are creating spaces for people to gather judgment-free and enjoy themselves.
Music is one of the first things our brains are programmed to respond to, and has always been something that humans turn to for comfort. Music preceded language through drumming and rhythmic patterns and seems to follow us everywhere we go in life, from lullabies to funerals. Looking back on the highs and lows in one’s life, there is typically a song associated with that feeling or time. Music has the ability to stimulate human memory, not only to create a memory, but also remind us of an old one.
Music is used by many artists as a tool for unification by breaking down barriers that otherwise separate people. Through their music, Migos bring hundreds and sometimes thousands of people together that otherwise would never find anything to relate to. After being thanked by Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, during his Golden Globes acceptance speech, Migos discovered a new level of stardom that expanded them out of the hood and into suburban America.
Exposure to different genres of music is not only enjoyable, but can also be used as a tool for education. Cultures express themselves differently through the music that they listen to, sing along and perform. Music serves as a tool for people to define themselves and their culture, and allows people to express themselves through performance or even just through listening. Performing and listening to music is a great opportunity for people to learn about one another and experience different cultures firsthand.
With so many things to be upset about, music helps people have something they can always depend on for warmth and comfort on bad days. Music will forever be a social experience that allows us to get together and enjoy catchy lyrics and beats with other people no matter who they are. Music can also connect people through sharing certain songs. For example, some people use Spotify to share playlists and follow each other.
Music not only affects those who listen to it, but also the artists who create it, allowing them to expresses their emotions openly to the public. Whether you are a music enthusiast or not, the best way to express your feelings of anger, love, passion and happiness is through music.
Since music is therapeutic, put on some headphones and enjoy. Take the inspiration from the artists and their lyrics and use it positively in your own life, whether that means uplifting yourself or encouraging a fellow student. And while you’re at it, try branching out and listening to a genre you’re not familiar with. You not only might find a favorite new artist or song, but also be exposed to a new perspective on life and society.
In these trying times, supporting one another and attempting to understand one another is vital to moving forward. Music is one of the simplest and most beautiful ways to do this.
In the words of Troy Bolton and the East High Wildcats, “we’re all in this together.” So let's make the most of it.
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Have you ever heard a song on the radio only to somehow be reminded of a feeling you felt years ago when you last heard it? You are not even sure when you last heard it, or who you were with when it was playing, but that feeling from when you heard it remains. The power of music is ubiquitous. There is something about music that can heal you, shape you, and change the way you are feeling. People define themselves by music, with resources like YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, Soundcloud, Dubstep; there are so many opportunities for individuals to be bound together by their music choices.
By allowing individuals to express themselves through music, comment on videos, tweet at their favorite musician and learn about what their friends are listening to, there are so many ways for music to unite individuals. It brings people together in a way that isn't controversial or extreme, but just easy. Think about how many videos have gone viral based on people just sharing links on each other's facebook walls. I can honestly tell you I have had numerous people share "Call Me Maybe" links on my Facebook wall, from the Harvard Baseball team's rendition to James Franco's. It is absolutely amazing to watch how music can be re-translated over and over again from all different groups of people.
Take for example The Johnny Cash Project, a global collective art project uniting together all different takes on one song like puzzle pieces to express "A Living Portrait" of Johnny Cash.
Another genius collaborative music movement from Milk Studio and Arcade Fire is the interactive film The Wilderness Downtown that allows for individuals to enter their geographic location and then reflect with art or words at the end of the experience piecing each note together creating a quilt-like creation of each individual's reaction.
Another example is composer Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir, which held auditions and curated a 2,052-person choir to create a beautiful collaboration for his newest work, "Sleep," using YouTube. This shows the uniting power of music.
My favorite example of using the power of "uniting through music" for good is my dear friend Michelle Edgar's organization Music Unites. Music Unites has built itself on the foundation that music can unite all types of individuals across all borders. She does this by bringing together all types of music genres, from jazz icon Jonathan Batiste and the Stay Human Band to Neon Hitch, a rising Warner Music Group artist. By creating this synergy across different types of genres, she is forming partnerships and friendships, but more importantly she is raising money and awareness for the power of music especially in lower income schools. Music Unites is dedicated to bringing music to underprivileged children in underfunded inner city school systems. They aim towards transforming city landscapes by empowering urban youth through music. Her goal is to connect people through the universality of music by providing communities with opportunities for a rich musical experience.
Through uniting individuals that are passionate about music and passionate about creating change in the world, Music Unites builds off of this momentum to provide opportunities for children who might not have the resources to partake in an online choir or participate in a chrome activity, but just like us, have that very same feeling of inspiration when hearing the right song. In January 2012, Music Unites launched their Five Borough Music Unites Youth Choir Campaign which focuses on bringing a youth choir to a school in each of the five boroughs of New York City. After a kickoff event in partnership with Rolling Stone magazine and the help of artist ambassador Gary Clark Jr., Music Unites was able to launch a choir at the Women's Academy of Excellence, in addition to a free after-school guitar program. Girls who haven't been exposed to a rich music education are now able to experience the power of such thanks to Music Unites.
I highly recommend you come celebrate Music Unites' 3-year anniversary this upcoming Monday, May 21, and help give the gift of music. The organization hopes to raise enough money to bring Gabe Saporta, the next Music Unites Artist Ambassador, to a school in Queens as part of the Five Borough Music Unites Youth Choir. Let's empower, inspire and unite the next generation of musicians. In the mean time, feel free to always post any version of "Call Me Maybe" on my Facebook wall.
Follow Amanda Slavin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ajslavin