We can communicate with each other through music. Make friends with people who have a similar fascination for music: performers, musicians and audience members alike. We can disagree over techniques, styles and interpretations when our objective mind changes to subjective as a result of listening to a collection of sounds organised in a certain way or a haunting melody.
Music is an obsession and a vocation, a series of beliefs, values and convictions like many religions but without the organisation of a committee. There are leaders who promote particular musical movements and styles, and there are many approaches to music that have champions, but there is no umbrella organisation to control the various splinter groups. The United Nations of music does not need a large office building and a secretariat, often not even an acoustically treated concert hall, it happens every day of the week in every corner of the World when musicians perform.
During my playing career I have met thousands of fellow believers, many of whom have become colleagues and friends. These are performers, amateur or professionals, of all ages, from various cultural backgrounds, devotees of many different styles of music, promoters, managers, arts administrators and of course audience members.
This network became slightly smaller this week as two of the members lost their battles with illness. They did not know each other but they had similar personal qualities in that they were both enthusiastic, supportive, committed, selfless and generous people. One was a professional performer, teacher and composer who always had a smile and time for you, the other I only knew as the chair (and organiser) of musical collectives who gave months of his time to develop and sustain these groups.
They have both left important legacies that will continue to need nurturing, hopefully by some of the people they supported during their lives. The National Association of Percussion Teachers and Barnsley Youth Choir have both lost founder members and need to continue to flourish as testament to these visionary individuals. I hope the faith has been passed to others in these instances and I hope all musicians keep the faith in the future.