Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Finding a Soundtrack For Your Life

Music has a special power over the human mind, body and soul. It creates a mood, or environment that can change attitudes, outlooks and emotions with a needle on a record. It can motivate people to join revolutions, relive memories and stand up for a fight worth fighting for.

Fighting for your life's soundtrack
There is a major homeless problem for children in America. A report from The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that 1 in every 50 American kids were homeless in 2005-2006. To put that into perspective: It's about the number of records sold by the top selling rock artist last year.

Pairing music with the mission of homelessness bridges the communication gap for students, teenagers and young adults who may feel embarrassed, shy or too full of themselves to talk about the subject. At a Rock For Hunger concert last year the loudest ovation of the night came between bands, when we told the crowd that their contributions would help feed those in need for weeks. The community spirit that comes forth at these shows is something that makes me believe that we are a generation that is willing to improve the conditions that we live in.

I asked a few folks on Twitter their thoughts on Music affecting youth, homelessness and community.

A Gift For Teaching shared that:

There are 2 elements that go into music. Those playing and partaking in the creation of music and those that listen to and become fans of the music.

The players
The self-confidence, mental toughness and fortitude that goes into creating music is something that I believe is of utmost important to everyone. Much like sports and team building helps stimulate growth and learning, music offers a similar release, and gives them a product they can call their own.

Val Stevenson from London shared with us a homeless choir from London, The Choir With No Name. Their about page reveals the true power of music in their lives:
We sing pop, rock, soul, gospel, reggae, musicals.. you name it, we'll give it a go.. although we've yet to try any thrash metal or grime. We rehearse once a week (with a decent dinner at the end of rehearsal!) and we perform in London regularly. We were founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good; it distracts you from all the nonsense in life and helps you to build up your confidence and abilities.

We aim to...
  • have a brilliant time at rehearsals
  • give performances that leave the audience gagging for more!
  • support each other in our musical (and other!) dreams and ambitions
Locally here in Orlando, A Gift For Teaching is giving students in our community the chance to learn the art of music and the feelings that instruction, followed by live performance can bring into the lives of those playing.

Tomorrow night at the Rock For Hunger Spring Show, I am bringing in a homeless drummer to rock the crowd, feel the energy and relive the spirit that ran through his body when times were better. It is something that I can do to give back, give hope and rebuild dreams. Not to mention that he is one of the best street drummers in the city and will help to electrify my set.

Rock Star Lifestyle
Those of us that are fortunate enough to have music in their life have every chance in the world to share it with others. If you play, teach. If you listen, share. Uplift the spirits of someone in a less fortunate position by providing them with an opportunity to forget, even for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, or a free street concert, a recital or a benefit shows.

Take Action
If you live in Orlando, come to the Rock For Hunger Spring Show tomorrow. Your $10 donation gets you exciting music from There For Tomorrow, an opportunity to meet new friends all aligned with the goal of helping those less fortunate through the power of music and provide meals for 40 people in our community. Bring 3 friends and feed 160 people or an entire Monday night food sharing.

If you live outside of Orlando you can still make a difference. Bands, give back to your community with benefit shows. Invite homeless musicians into your band for jam sessions and give them your tips for the night. Teachers, reach out to organizations like A Gift for Teaching and find new and exciting ways to teach an amazing skill.

If you wish to donate to RFH, do so here. It will help our community through Music and Peace.



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