Music Can Make A Difference In A Violent World
Published: 19 July, 2014

– what you can do to help it happen –

This week has witnessed terrible events in the Ukraine and the Middle East. Our capacity for violence seems to know no limits. The more ‘advanced’ and ‘civilised’ we become, the worse too the pain and suffering humans inflict upon each other. It is as if evil were in some grim competition with goodness itself, to show there are no depths to which it cannot sink.

In comparison to this titanic struggle music seems so feeble and peripheral. To sing and pluck and strike the keys seem like pulling up your collar and whistling into a strong wind – who cares? Who is listening? What difference does it make?

Music cannot impact in the same way as direct action. Music is not explicit like the spoken word. Music has no graphic message like Picasso’s Guernica painting, or like the best modern day graffiti murals.

Music fills the spaces words cannot reach and paints fantastic images in an unfamiliar universe
Music is the nearest we get to dreaming with our eyes open. Music consoles the broken-hearted, the desperate, and those struck by tragedy. Music brings joy and exultation to those in more fortunate circumstances. Above all, music lifts the spirits and digs deep into our inner souls.

So, whether you sing or play, whether you are involved in music for pleasure or are a seasoned pro, I suggest you can make a difference.

You can do so within your immediate circle, and some of you beyond it.

You can bring tears to the eyes and wipe them away too at the brush of a string, or with a velvet tone sung in a half breath.

You can raise a smile.

You can lift people’s spirits in a few seconds.

You can make listeners jump out of their seats with excitement.

You can fill them with optimism and dynamism.

And best of all, you can make people feel that all human behaviour could benefit from the noble sentiments of a musical experience.

Maybe they could spread beyond musical experience to other areas of our lives. This could be our contribution to improving the world. If music can help in its own small way do that, then we are indeed involved in something as important as it is mysterious.

19th July 2014, London

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