Let’s face it. We make it hard on ourselves.
We all do. I would be hard-pressed to think of any artist I’ve ever met who isn’t always searching for something different, deeper, better.
The score can be a little bit clearer. The phrasing could be slightly improved. The mix could be tweaked just a touch. And on and on and on.
But these types of self-inflicted challenges are just that – tests of our own strength, endurance, and vision, imposed upon ourselves, all in the service of the art itself.
The current pandemic and its wide-reaching effects, on the other hand, poses a completely different type of challenge. It is a hostile, unfeeling threat which has made survival in all its forms a daily, unyielding concern.
This is the reason why I and so many others feel, acutely and deeply, that it is more important than ever to support the arts and its various affiliated industries, businesses, and workers. The form which the support takes is in some ways irrelevant – dollars, spins, likes, listens, warm wishes, sweat equity, it all works! – because the most important thing is to simply do something.
Take for example organizations like New Music USA, with whom PARMA has partnered on various concerts throughout the pandemic. Their New Music Solidarity Fund made a meaningful difference for many artists in a time of real need, and we were proud to have done our small part. (Garrett Schuman wrote about some other organizations making similar strides for our blog.)
The Music Hall in Portsmouth NH is an example of an organization staying nimble as it confronts a new day-to-day reality, with a series of outdoor concerts and socially distanced events inside the venue starting up shortly. And yes, I played a concert with my trio, and we donated our fee right back to the Hall!
My relationship with the Music Hall is one of the primary ways I seek to contribute to my community and give something back. I’ve been the Music Director for the “Writers On A New England Stage” series for 15 years, a member of the Board of Trustees for 7 years, and have just been named Vice President of the Board. I’m grateful for it – not just because it is an honor but because I feel that I can truly help. It is a great feeling.
And I was very happy indeed to see #1 NY Times bestselling author Dan Brown announce he is donating profits from books sales of our new project together, WILD SYMPHONY, to music education. This is exactly the type of put-your-[money/time/support]-where-your-mouth-is action that is so desperately needed across the arts.
But as we start the Fall, it seems that there is more uncertainty now in the musical world than at any point in the past. The questions from the Spring remain unanswered.
There are more concerns than ever about the future of live performance, the viability of streaming, the evolution of physical products, the nature of intellectual property. And there are personal concerns too, about what we individually can do to advance our art on a daily basis, and how we can better match the current and coming environment.
PARMA itself can do more to help. I feel it is crucial for our company – a highly skilled international team with a massive amount of collective experience and expertise in virtually each and every sector of the industry, crossing musical styles and country borders alike – to offer assistance in these unusual times.
Starting this month and continuing through the end of 2020, PARMA will donate pro bono educational and consulting services for students, artists, working musicians, and industry professionals who need help and don’t know where to turn.
This coming semester will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult the academic field has ever seen. We are offering a menu of educational seminars to help students better gain a real-world understanding of the state of the market and the art and where it is all going – and also to give educators a break in the action.
The offered seminar/Q&A discussions are:
We have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing people over the years both inside and outside of the studio, and they all have wisdom and insight to share.
We will host on our PARMA Live Stage a series of events featuring interviews with experts from across the musical spectrum to offer insight, experience, and advice. Our intent is to provide a forum for artists to ask questions and learn more about the topics that will help make a difference in their careers.
I realize that not everyone has access to or comfort with these formats mentioned above, so we will offer special one-on-one mentorship sessions with those who are less advantaged, or who have been hard hit by the pandemic, or who have been marginalized due to disability or discrimination.
If you or someone you know in the musical field is in need of advice and assistance, would like to attend a public session, or wish to have us as a guest in your virtual classroom, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you promptly.
PARMA remains steadfast in our commitment to not only assist our own artists but to help nurture the greater artistic community as well. It’s the least we can do, and we hope you’ll join us.