NOT JUST ANOTHER NON-PROFIT: A CITY-WIDE PARTNERSHIP
The beginning stages of any new enterprise are always quite evolutionary in nature, and The Beat of Life is no exception to this rule. As a result, there are a few surprising “side-missions” that have grown out of the original (and first) mission to serve our community’s challenged populations through the power of music. In a way, they could also be accurately called side-benefits that – though not necessarily thought about or planned intentionally – all on their own, started to emerge and make themselves known as we began to carry out that first original mission.
ONE THE BIGGEST OF THESE “SIDE BENEFITS” THAT HAS NOW ACTUALLY BECOME AN INTENTIONAL “MISSION #2” IS JOB CREATION IN THE MUSIC COMMUNITY.
With the current state of the music business and how much the industry has changed with the evolution of the digital era – scores of people once being able to easily find employment or create their own jobs in the music business are now unable to support themselves fully or are out of work altogether – touring musicians, studio session players, songwriters that are making less and less money on the cuts they do get (to say nothing of the fact that more and more artists are writing their own songs), and of course even the studios and record labels themselves, many of whom have had to close their doors completely. Perhaps the worst reminder of this fact is seeing some of these individuals working years later as a waiter or barista or at the local gym or Macy’s, their talents no longer able to support them. (Not that we don’t love Macy’s.)
During the early stages of the creation of our programs and overall process of building what we desired to be a solid infrastructure of The Beat of Life, it occurred to us that we would need a substantial amount of people to make this work. Especially, and most importantly, music people. Songwriters, musicians, studios, producers, engineers, session players, publishers, and on and on. And we realized that we could actually write into our budget the going-rate compensations for each of these, for each of our programs, and create an enormous amount of on-going and recurring employment opportunities within the music community.
It quickly became written into our mission, as Mission #2 running alongside the first, to be able to hire and employ songwriters, musicians, session players, and studios, etc. for our programs – creating something that is mutually beneficial all around, for those we are serving AND for those doing the serving in the music community. Musicians and songwriters who may be struggling to get even as much session or touring or studio work as well as new up-and-coming writers and artists can get a paycheck (even if only to supplement their income) utilizing their musical talents vs. being forced to perhaps find the proverbial day job or waiting tables, etc – while honing their skills AND helping the community. A win-win all around.
Those who seek to support our vision financially are often the same individuals who have a vested interest in keeping the music industry and community evolving, growing, and thriving/alive as well. They are the ones who, knowing the bleakness of the state of affairs of the industry on many levels, may have an extra boosted interest in giving as a direct investment back into the music community itself – as well as affecting change for the populations we’re serving.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.
In addition to The Beat of Life’s employment opportunities for music people, we started to notice that being a part of our programs inherently becomes an incredible networking opportunity for songwriters, musicians, and etc to meet other songwriters, musicians and music people for their own music projects and careers… people whom they would otherwise perhaps never meet if not brought together through our programs. This creates even more opportunities for additional work, (session or studio work, new co-writers, gigs, and etc.) in an ever-multiplying and immeasurable compound effect of collaborations pouring forth all over the place. We’ve seen this happen in beautiful ways with our songwriters, musicians, and studio partners involved in our programs, opening doors to new associations for and with one another – along with new lifelong friendships and bonds forged.
Something we perhaps initially thought about the least is the tremendous, profound impact being involved with The Beat of Life’s programs would have on the songwriters, musicians and artists themselves – all of whom are also finding their OWN therapy, healing and powerful transformation in thought and perspective. Being in the music business can be equal parts great highs and great depths, and those working within it at some point face their own demons and levels of discouragement, depression, sometimes addictions even – and are in need of just as much healing themselves.
Being able to connect with, help and give to others, being a part of a life-changing moment with someone else, can be one of the most personally fulfilling and transformational experience for those of us doing that helping and giving of ourselves. We’ve heard stories from #1 hit songwriters expressing that the song they wrote with the soldier or inmate or group of junior high students they were matched with was “the most rewarding songwriting experience they’ve ever had”… how it changed their own lives and perspectives in unbelievable ways they hadn’t imagined. And that’s quite a compelling statement, coming from someone who’s experienced the ultimate of worldly musical success.
And so, on all levels those who give are receiving just as much back – a paycheck, a networking opportunity, and a life-changing experience.
(we can’t believe it either, but yes, there is even still more)Yet one more of these “side missions” of ours is to bring greater awareness to the social issues, causes, and populations that we serve through our programs, most of whom are those who are currently under-served – such as prisons, bullying in schools, soldiers battling PTSD, mental illness, etc. Through the running of our programs, the creation of compilation CDs that will be available to the public, and our concert events for each program, we want to bring a greater awareness to each cause, change some stigmas and misperceptions related perhaps to each, and demonstrate the need for greater attention, assistance, resources, and compassion for each.
And so, the overarching , big-picture goal is for The Beat of Life to become a wholly mutually beneficial organization… for those receiving, those giving and serving, and those even just witnessing the results of each program. The utilizing of our city’s musical talent and resources to create transformational and life-giving music programs for the constituency groups we’ll be serving, while at the same time creating awareness for each of these causes, and a give-back of enormous benefit to the music community and industry itself.
FROM COLLABORATORS TO CHANGE-MAKERS
And so, The Beat of Life is not just another non-profit. It’s a city-wide partnership. It’s a movement. It’s ultimately a vision of a future Nashville. We already are a city of visionaries, of dreamers, of creators, of music-makers. We believe it’s time to use that same spirit to be a city of change-makers. The Beat of Life is determined to drive that spirit of change and create a culture of using our music for the good of others here in Nashville. We believe we can become known as a city that doesn’t simply churn out hit songs, but that uses its music to change and even save the lives of our own most vulnerable individuals. Right here. And, maybe, to change the little world that is Nashville.