Music: Activism and Healing
Music and Social Advocacy
Music is woven into all of our social rituals, from our primary family bonding experience of lullabies, to milestone life events such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals.
Music has the power to spread positive emotions, impart deeply impactful messages, and unite groups of people around a common cause. Music has the unique ability to communicate beyond the limitations of language, induce shared emotional reactions, develop strong ties that create group identity, and provide the catalyst for community and individual action.
“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”
From early Negro spirituals like “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” to songs such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and “This Land is Your Land,” music that creates community sentiment around a common goal are deeply woven into American culture. Over the course of history, these songs and many others have served to define our national identity.
In the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, Freedom Songs such as “We Shall Overcome,” “Keep Your Eyes On the Prize” and “This Little Light of Mine” united black and white communities, church groups, and young people eager to see an end segregation and the advancement of equality.
“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.”
During the Vietnam War, “Blowin in the Wind,” “What Are You Fighting For,” “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” and others catalyzed anti-war sentiment and helped bring an end to the war.
“Music can change the world because it can change people.”
Now a new generation of songs is needed to heal individuals, families, and communities that have been ripped apart by gun violence. Composers and Songwriters, please lend your creativity to our mission to pay tribute to all those who hav lost their lives to gun violence, and offer solace, support, and solidarity to the bereaved.
Music and Healing
The transformational power of music is well recognized. In the field of Music Therapy, music is used as a powerful tool to help express mourning, understand and cope with difficult feelings, and find communal support through the self-identification with lyrics and melodies.
“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”
Contrary to what might be assumed, listening to sad music or lyrics does not increase feelings of sadness, but instead helps to mitigate pain and isolation by helping us to feel more connected to others and less alone in our grief.
Music has the ability to not only release negative emotions and stop repetitive negative thoughts, but can spur the creation of positive emotions in its wake.
Requiems, songs of remembrance, and songs about grief provide an important opportunity for individuals and communities to pay tribute to the deceased and offer solace to the bereaved.
“Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life.”
Jean Paul Friedrich Richter
During Times of Pain and Sorrow Music Can:
- Make positive changes in mood and emotional states.
- Develop coping and relaxation skills.
- Develop/strengthen community bonds.
- Provide a safe, healthy, emotional release.
- Reduce insomnia.
- Stimulate appetite.
- Improve concentration and attention span.
- Support healthy feelings and thoughts.
In a Therapeutic Setting Music Can:
- Improve medical outcomes during invasive procedures by reducing anxiety and the perception of pain.
- Help restore speech.
- Reduce side effects of cancer therapies.
- Aid in pain relief for those with chronic conditions.
- Improve quality of life for those with dementia.
- Reduce stress and anxiety for end-of-life patients.
- Enhance interpersonal relationships.
- Reduce muscle pain and tension.
- Improve self-image and self-awareness.
Our purpose in the creation of a yearly Requiem and Remembrance Day and nation-wide Sing-In of music and song is not to provide therapy, or be used as a substitute for health services, or to advocate for any specific legislation.
We seek, through the unity of our voices, to “crowd-source” love, support, and empathy to all those negatively impacted by gun violence, and by doing so, make a positive social impact on the growing national health crisis of gun-related violence and death.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”