Throughout history, music has been a force for change, shaping how we experience parts of our societies, sparking revolutions and fuelling them, and also uniting communities. From the anthems of protest movements to the melodies of resilience in times of hardship, music transcends barriers and resonates deeply within the human experience. We saw with Hip Hop cultures communities come together to show their art in the ghettos of the Bronx. Abandoned buildings became art galleries, the side walk a dance floor and the local block became the place where a community that was suffering poverty came to express their art.

In times of austerity and hardship, music is therapeutic, offering solace and comfort to those facing adversity. Whether it’s in the clubs or on a street corner, music has a unique ability to uplift our spirit and provide a sense of escape from the harsh realities of life. In the midst of economic downturns and social upheaval, music becomes a lifeline for many, offering a sense of solidarity and connection amidst the chaos.

Music has long served as a powerful tool for change, highlighting injustice and giving a voice and a platform to the marginalised. From the blues singers of the early 20th century lamenting the struggles of African Americans to the protest songs of the Civil Rights era, to Public Enemy, music has always been instrumental in bringing attention to social and political issues. From the stirring anthems such as “We Shall Overcome,” to the protest songs of the anti-war movement, music has played a central role in mobilising communities and galvanising action. Artists like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, and Bob Marley became synonymous with the fight for justice, their songs serving as anthems for change and the rallying cries of the oppressed.

Public Enemy awakening a generation and the pioneering Blues singers who heralded the way to modern pop. Artists like Billie Holiday, Howling Wolf, Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald and Kendrick Lamar. In some cases, they even risked their careers to stand up for what they believe in. From the Vietnam War to Black Lives Matter, these musicians heralded major political movements and changed the world through their art.

Not only external but internal change is possible. Studies have shown that music therapy can alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being. In times of crisis and uncertainty, music provides a sense of catharsis and renewal, allowing individuals to process their emotions and find strength in solidarity.

Everyone’s got that one thing they were born to do, I call it your Music Inside.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

We all have the opportunity to help create positive change in our music, but if you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself thinking, “I haven’t got enough minutes in a day, and how much of a difference can I make?” I think this is true when we’re talking about addressing massive social problems like tackling racism, trafficking, poverty or fighting the many injustices that exist, but they present themselves every day. So, when I catch myself thinking that way, it helps to remember this story. You might not be able to change the entire world, but at least you can change a small part of it, for someone.

Everyone can make a difference one person at a time.

Basil Reynolds

Coaching Consultant

Finding the Music Inside