Sunday, January 29, 2012

Performing for soldiers

After performing an orchestra concert one evening last semester, my boyfriend and I were driving home. He was excited for me about my performance on the concert and we somehow dove into a conversation about music and the audience. I told him that I was really frustrated because the people I really want to play for I do not know how to reach. Playing on an orchestra concert was only so satisfying for me. I wanted to be able to perform where my music wasn't just entertainment, where it was actually needed. I wanted to play in active war zones. Until that point I had believed that the only way a classical musician could do so was by becoming a member of one of the military bands. Due to a back injury from a car accident, I did not believe I would be accepted. That was when my boyfriend, Shaun, told me about a program through the USO where musicians can apply and audition to be able to perform for soldiers in war zones. I could not wait to get home and look up the information. I have always wanted to touch lives with my music and playing in war zones was reinforced even more by the fact that my boyfriend is an army reservist who has already deployed twice. Men and women everyday give up their home lives to go fight for our country. If I could go for even one performance to bring these people hope and a piece of home, then it is the least I could do. I began to research into ways that every day musicians can apply to go overseas. The USO program is for entertainers of celebrity status, but reading through their site, they provided a link to another site for musicians and entertainers that did not fit into the "celebrity" category. Unfortunately, the site is very vague on costs and what the performer will be reimbursed for. For one to find out, they would need to go through the audition process. I will keep looking into this and post my findings.


Why does one become a classical musician? Of course, a valid and popular answer would be because we love our music. But what does loving something ethereal like music actually entail? We dedicate our lives or a large part of our lives to music, to expanding our knowledge and abilities, to make a livelihood doing something we enjoy, and to share our passion with others. I believe a large part of being a musician is sharing our music with others. Most musicians these days do this by participating in orchestras, bands, small ensembles, and performing recitals. We see this at universities, conservatories, school functions, churches, and the stage. We contract for gigs through the churches and schools in our communities. Some musicians learn to compose and arrange, adding their published work as supplemental income. Some musicians become part of a teaching studio or open there own. Whatever light you cast on a musical career, it reveals itself as a community oriented profession. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a musician executes the most beautiful and touching performance of their lives and no one is there to hear it,it might as well be silence. We as musicians need to be heard. At some point in our lives and careers, we begin to want to give back to our communities, to know that what we do will obtain some measure of immortality through our listeners, pupils, and performers of our pieces. What better way to do this then by serving our communities in a way that will make a lasting difference. In today's world of music, this sometimes seems impossible for a classical musician. Orchestras are a dying breed. Classical music is not considered popular. Why bother? Why even care? After all we can just perform ridiculously complicated recitals at schools of cutting edge material. Isn't that how we become famous as a classical musician? That is what most professional musicians do on recordings we listen to isn't it? I strongly disagree with this mentality and I have seen it far too much in younger generations. We as musicians need to be heard by our community. We have the power to breach barriers that most politicians would be envious of. We can inspire hope, cheer people up when they are sad, make them weep when they have forgotten how to... Music has power and it is a gift that is meant to keep giving. There are people out there that need music in their lives more then ever. The elderly at nursing homes whose family has forgotten them and time has left behind. We can provide entertainment and bring a piece of the real world back to them. We can perform for the children of tomorrow, opening their minds to a whole new world, breaching the walls of the close minded boxes that society tends to place them in. We can bring hope, moral support, courage, a piece of home, and peace to soldiers in battlefields. Music can touch people and bring them light when they are in their darkest hour. I believe it is our duty as musicians to bring this light to dark places, to give hope back to the hopeless, to bring courage to the lost, to bring the world back to the forgotten...This is our legacy. This is the way we may achieve a measure of immortality. It all sounds good in theory. But how may one maintain a livelihood doing services for their community? It is my goal to find funding to be able to make a living performing services for those in need of our music, and to execute an entertaining and marketable program for a variety of audiences.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Hello all! This blog is meant to be a place to find information about music for volunteer services, community service, charity, and good deeds in general, the kind of performing opportunities that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Topics of interest may include information regarding performance at hospice, veterans and military support opportunities, nursing homes, flash mobs, children's programs, etc. Enjoy!