MUSIC MATTERS

Music can reach and teach. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that can.

Some friends spend time in schools — playing blues music, and engaging the students in activities that combine music and learning. The photos of past programs are great — those little faces are lighted by excitement and engagement. Performances at schools for older students are also wonderful. They actually participate, to the point of drumming on boxes and singing along. Videos are even better — we can hear the voices, watch the movements, and feel the rhythms!

A special element of this group is that they have partnered with the local of the American Federation of Musicians (of which they are members), with a local non-profit, and with the New York City-based AFM Music Performance Trust Fund. The partnership guarantees that the artists will be paid for their musical community outreach activities. This is an interesting and inspiring program. It sometimes helps me forget the realities of professional musicians.

I know that it’s tough to make a living, making music. Many musicians I know have to keep a “day job” to pay the bills, so that they can do what they love, what feeds their souls, and what touches the hearts of their fans. It is a tough business, not for the faint of heart.

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” Hunter S. Thompson