If you know how to play a musical instrument, or even press “play” on a stereo, you know how to make people dance, laugh, smile and forget about their worries for a while. Ted Wagner, winner of our 2016 Cabot Community Cruise Contest, is a professional musician who founded Music Sweet Music in 2002. His organization provides music therapy, and the specialized musical instruments it requires, to children’s hospitals and to other children and adults in need, including wounded veterans. With Ted’s inspiring story as our foundation, here are a few more ideas on how to benefit your community through song.
Bring along, and sing along.
With a little bit of preparation and the blessing of your local school or senior staff administrator, you may be able to host your own music education class. Or just simply take the opportunity to come equipped with your favorite CDs or playlist of MP3s and get everyone singing and dancing to your groove. For an even more engaging experience, make it a karaoke party and let everyone strut their best stuff. You could also turn your karaoke competition into a fundraiser, with proceeds benefitting a local charity.
Take them to the show.
If you’re already part of a community group, you can help organize an outing to a local concert or performance. The amount of time and commitment varies from selecting a free event and communicating a time and place to meet up, to coordinating group ticket purchases and transportation to a major show. Check local listings to find performances appropriate to your group. For example, a matinee musical may be ideal for senior center residents, while some weekday performances of the same show may be specifically geared toward children and ideal to coordinate with your local elementary school.
Show them how it’s done.
Are you a musician by trade? Just know a few chords? Making a difference could be as simple as carving out time for a pro-bono performance. That could mean contacting your local hospital, senior center or VA about hosting a pop-up concert, playing a few songs on their piano, or walking room-to-room and strumming your guitar. You could teach someone in your neighborhood how to read music or play an instrument, or simply offer transportation to someone who’d like to take music lessons by contacting local instructors to see if there’s a need. Public schools are consistently underfunded when it comes to the arts, so if you’re feeling particularly inspired, you might organize a musical instrument drive and/or music program fundraiser, and consider lending your musical talents to the cause. Many local organizations like this Minnesota NPR station already operate drives for which you could volunteer, or with a little extra drive, you could start one of your own.
Find volunteer opportunities that strike a chord in your area with keyword “music.”