It is said that music is the universal language. It matters not what language a song is sung in, everyone can get up and dance with smiles on their faces; enjoying the tune and reveling in whatever cultural the song comes from. Since many cultures can be united with music, it is sure to bring a community together.
“Researchers have documented that listening to music can be effective for reducing pain in people who generally have high levels of anxiety. Investigators discovered music can be used as a distraction and is effective among those who can easily become absorbed in cognitive activities.” — Rick Nauert PhD
Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neurochemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection. Music has also been linked to dopamine release, involved in regulating mood and craving behavior, which seems to predict music’s ability to bring us pleasure.” (www.greatergood.berkeley.edu) If you have ever been to a sporting event and everyone starts singing the national anthem, you have experienced that feeling.
If there is a gathering spot in a town (the town green, a football field, a shopping area, etc), it is a perfect place to have concerts. The high school band and chorus can perform. Local musicians who are trying to get there name out there. A community band that just enjoys getting together to play. Any of these groups would probably perform for free. Community members can bring their blankets and a picnic and enjoy some great music.
If there is a local band that charges for their performance, the community can apply for grant money or take up a collection at the performance. There could be a minimal $5 a blanket charge. Some towns may have money in their recreation department budget to cover the charge.
CITY OR TOWN CONTESTS
Many towns have started yearly town contests, similar to the popular “American Idol” show. People within the community audition and are promoted to the next level or are politely given their walking papers. As they continue to perform at each level, the same process repeats itself. The performances are open to the community with or without a small entrance fee. At the end of the contest, there is a winner chosen and a concert of the top participants. The winner then becomes a judge for the next year.
“I would argue that when you listen to the music of your childhood, you can feel grounded, transported back in time. It can help you to recall the comfort of a childhood home, neighborhood, or community.” — Alena Gerst, LCSW, RYT
Many communities have outdoor Farmer’s Markets and this is a great place to showcase local talent. Again, musicians and groups that are trying to get their name out into the public may perform for free and have a donation bucket while they sing and play. A Farmer’s Market is already bringing the community together with its products. The music may encourage visitors to stay longer…maybe even bring a picnic lunch or dinner.
Anyone with a Smartphone can make a music video these days. There are many apps and programs that make it very simple. A great example of this is if a school group gets together to make a video. It immediately bonds them together to work on something that has a finished product. Everyone involved wants it to turn out well because lots of people will be watching it. This is a great place for students, who may not know each other or who come from different interest groups, to work together and get to know one each other. It may become a yearly tradition for, say, a senior class to make one of these videos before going off to college and jobs.
“Use headphones or earbuds if that helps you focus or shut out external noise. Give yourself permission to only listen to the music, without simultaneously checking your email or refreshing your Facebook feed.” — Maya Benattar, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Younger students would also love this activity. It could be offered as an after school club or a yearly talent contest. It is another great place to bring together a community that may not have gotten to know each other without this offering. It is great to see children banding together over a love of a favorite musician or group.