Music is widely considered a universal language. Through any genre, musicians can convey emotions that speak to their audiences on a variety of levels and send important messages from the immense platform they possess. The subject of these messages can be celebratory, melancholic, or, in more extreme cases, protesting.
Throughout history, musicians have tapped into their talents to address a range of issues, with some notable songs including “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan, and “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. No matter the message, these musicians were exercising their right to speak up for an issue they felt passionate about; something that should inspire others (regardless of their position of power) to do the same.
An argument could be made that music serves as human society’s conscience. Consider a time in which the United States was in the midst of social crisis, such as the Civil Rights Movement or political turmoil. Hundreds of artists during these times shifted their focus to these controversial topics to express their opinions and provide a voice for those who agreed. People who opposed a band or musician’s opinion attempted to ridicule them, as if to silence that part of their mind. The disagreeing sides would often clash, struggling with conflicting thoughts.
On a more topical note, arts education has been placed on the backburner by government officials, with many states cutting funding for these programs entirely. This has sparked thousands of musicians across the world to protest in the form of song, especially considering the fact that music has been proven to provide emotional stimulation and cognitive benefits. In children, this can translate to improved math and reading scores.
Considering the emotional benefits, music also provides an outlet for people who may be dealing with stress or anxiety. It can relax our bodies and minds through strong emotional connections, or by simply providing a distraction from the outside world. Depending on the genre or your preference, music can also serve as a meditative source. So, with all of these benefits, why cut funding for programs that develop these skills?
Music brings people together much more than in separates them. Regardless of race, religion, or spoken language, people can connect through a shared interest in the same artist or song, especially if that song pertains to something they are passionate about. Given the current state of the world, we need more reasons to connect now more than ever.
Musicians should not be shy about expressing their opinions and giving a voice to those that cannot speak up for themselves. Having such a powerful tool as millions of people willing to listen to what you have to say should not go to waste. Music is extremely powerful, and has the ability to change aspects of the world through continued vocalization.