Tuesday, October 7, 2014

10 Reasons to Support Local Music and 20 Ways to Do It

You've heard the phrase "Support Local Music," but may not understand how to apply it in practice. Here's some ways to get it going!

Support local music because:

1. You're missing out on a great time! Local music is a great way to explore a new part of your city, have some fun with friends, and just try something you've never done before. It's the weekend! Treat it like the weekend.
2. There is such talent in your area. You don't even know it, but your new favorite band EVER could be from just a few miles away. Why miss out on that chance?
3. It perpetuates the creation good music. The music that will live on is the music that people go and see. Make sure it is the great music that continues.
4. It puts your money into something you believe in. It is awesome when you know where your money goes, and to know that it is benefitting your friends and close neighbors!
5.  You build a sense of community. With local music, you can start to recognize people at the shows you attend, and when a sense of community and friendship develops, that's when people get really passionate. 
6.  It supports your local economy in general. That means continuing jobs for your neighbors and other people! Yay!
7. They are cheap! An awesomely creative date idea too, I might add.
8. It supports cultural and musical diversity. Because music shouldn't all sound the same!
9. You can brag about a local band you love when they make it big! That always feels great.
10. You're supporting the arts in general, and supporting the dreams of people. That feels great too.

Here are Ways to do it:

1. Street musicians are awesome. In the Boston Common Gardens, there is always this man playing the most beautiful Spanish guitar I've ever heard. And the way he looked playing, you could tell he wouldn't be happier if he were in the biggest music hall in New York City. He just loved playing music. You will absolutely find some of the most inventive, unique, and awesome music played on your local street corner. Because, hey, they have no manager telling them how to play it, they are free to have the most fun possible.

2. Attend a community concert.  Most people aren't even aware that their town or city has a community orchestra or symphony. Oftentimes, these are great older musicians who have a lifetime of experience under their belt, and it shows. Their events occassionally take place in the park, and you just set up a picnic and blanket and suddenly its heaven!

3. Join a music promotion group in the area, or follow one on Facebook. They are constantly posting local bands that are playing in your community, as well as more opportunities to see music, like special events and lesser known shows.

4.  Get kids excited about music, and support children playing music. There are plenty of schools that are struggling to receive the funding to create music programs for children in their community. See a fundraiser for instruments? Donate. Since the recent recession, music and art programs have struggled with slashed budgets and large class sizes. Participation in a musical program is show to help brain development and math skills, and it is a way for children to feel part of something. School funding also allows students whose families may not have money to buy instruments to instead use leased ones from the school. Your money could mean an instrument for a child.

5.  Attend a cultural festival in your local community. These often feature local groups playing traditional music in the style and using the instruments of the past. Experiencing new cultures is one of the joys that music can bring, and it's always awesome to explore parts of the past that we aren't always aware of.

6. Just look at some fliers. Have you ever noticed that crowded board at the entrance to your grocery store? Well, just check 'em out. Some of them have funny pictures on them.  If that is enough of an enticement for you, then we should be friends.

7. Check out the alternative scene. There is a local skate bowl in my town that occasionally does a punk rock show, with local punk bands that play inside the bowl, and all of the audience just sitting on the rim of the bowl.  That's so alt, man.

8. Go to a house show, or throw your own house show! What a great way to mix up your routine, and rub elbows with some of your cool new musician buds!

9.  Simply educate yourself. How many bands in the area can you name?  That's not enough!

10. Join an association dedicated to local music. A lot of communities have a local music association that puts on events like music awards, concerts, and fundraisers. For example, in Madison, Wisconsin, the Madison Area Music Association puts on the local Madison Area Music Awards, and uses the ticket money to purchase instruments that are then donated to local schools. Membership is low, but the payout to the community is large.

11. Battle of the Bands!!! Battle of the Bands are AWESOME, and it helps you discover sooooo much new music at once. And then they compete for your attention. That seems like a situation worth getting into.

12.  Volunteer. All those local events and associations that I've been talking about? They need enthusiastic people to keep them going. Volunteering is a huge contribution that doesn't involve spending cash money.

13. Go to a local music festival.  Whether it be just a symphony playing in a park, or a whole 3 day extravaganza in the woods with 50 bands, festivals are full of fascinating stories and great ways to meet people who also love local bands! You'll have so much to talk abouuuut!

14. Don't forget about open mics. Just because it isn't a scheduled show for a specific band doesn't mean that it won't be awesome. Open mics are where novices and expert alike come to jam out and be heard; give them some ears!

15. Buy merchandise! Merch, whether anybody likes it or not, is where local guys make most of their funds. Plus you get to look cool with your backpack button and the shirts they sell are by my experience,  very soft.

16. Get to know your favorite venues, and don't be quiet about telling them why you love them! You are the people they continue to host music for. If you tell them how much you appreciate it, it is more likely for them to keep at it!

17. Get loud about your favorite local bands by sharing their music that you love on social media and by word of mouth.  Social media is more important than ever to bands, and they absolute love any help they can get.

18. Donate your own artistic services to bands! Do you have a camera and are okay at it? Then perhaps volunteer to take some press photos of shows, or maybe take a weekend to film a music video for them! It'd be so much fun!

19. Mix up your mix tapes (or mix cds or playlists) . I love making mix cds as gifts. People find it charming because it is a little bit dated, but still, everyone has cars and most of those cars have cd players. On a long drive, especially going through the country with spotty radio signal or only signals to the state's one ragtime-only station can get frustrating after a while. In those cases, cds are a godsend. Why not go ahead and sprinkle some local bands in there?

20. Start a baaaand! It'd be fun and you get to think up a cool name. And if you want to sympathize with local musicians, best way is to feel what they are feeling!

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