In light of recent events, is live music vital for community flourishing?

So I’m going to argue that yes, live music is vital to community flourishing, and I’ll try to outline why I think so.

Chords of Grace at a recent festival

Now, with the lockdown and everything, obviously all live performances have been canceled… or have they? I noticed one of the first things that happened when large gatherings were banned was that immediately musicians started livestreaming music. Why didn’t they just record themselves playing and post videos? I think it’s because there’s a special interaction between people and musicians when music is played live that there isn’t otherwise.

If you have a look back through history, you’ll notice that almost all of the most passionate, united, and determined groups of people had a proud musical tradition, that was passed through live performances. From dances to storytelling, royalty to peasants, people have a natural connection to live music.

Dixie Jubilee performing at silver dollar city

One of the defining aspects of most cultures is their musical traditions. And most of the best defined cultures are well known for their music.

Have a look at the Irish for example; Their musical traditions passed from generation to generation in live settings have influenced the entire world, and instantly unify any Irish people regardless of background, position, religious or political views, or region. Whenever they hear a well played jig or reel, they forget all their differences for a moment and just enjoy the music and the fact that they’re Irish.

In fact, one of the first things that usually happens when one country or culture subjugates another is they forbid them from any form of traditional music or dance. And this is done in an effort to demoralize the people, because if you let them have their live music, they’ll be united and a united people is a dangerous people. 

In this american culture of private and separated living, it gets increasingly hard to actually find community rather than just a handful of people who might be in the same place. Music takes groups of individuals and turns them into a community.

We Banjo 3

It’s no surprise that there are so many sold out concerts, huge music festivals, jams, and buskers. Humans crave community, and live music gives them community. One of the last things I did before lockdown was attend a live concert, and one of the first things I did when we were released was take an instrument to the park and play for my own enjoyment and that of those bystanders who cared to listen. Doing so enabled me to meet some people I never would have otherwise.

Music has created many opportunities for me, and the community of musicians is one of the best communities there is. Playing music has gotten me so many amazing friends, opened numerous doors, and been the most fun I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade my musical experiences for anything. 

Me with the Steeldrivers after a live concert

So go out and experience some live music. Either as a performer or as an audience, both are equally fulfilling and will strengthen your community and make you new friends. If you don’t, you’re missing out on an amazing experience. 

And yes, live music is vital to community flourishing.

I hope this was an entertaining read, let me know what you think in the comments.

-Gunnar

Published by gunnarsalyer

Teen MK in Mozambique. Second of eight kids. Multi instrumentalist

2 thoughts on “In light of recent events, is live music vital for community flourishing?

  1. Well said, Gunnar. I completely agree with you as I feel certain our shared Irish ancestors would. Music is essential to education, to helping us connect with our deepest feelings, and basically to just about everything that makes our lives livable.

    Liked by 1 person

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