Parents, donors, school principals and local businesses often ask us, Why is making music important? Why do we need a place to make music? We could respond by citing the lack of music making in schools, or the fact that playing music is fun and promotes creativity and discipline; but we believe that there is an even stronger argument for the existence of a community music center like Villa Musica.
Even before the pandemic, isolation was a growing health and wellness crisis that COVID-19 magnified. Technology, while easy and fast, minimizes human contact by increasing convenience. We hardly need to speak to each other anymore. We can bank online, shop online, socialize online, we can even order our coffee online to skip the queue – not uttering a word to another human. If allowed, some children would never take their eyes off of their phones or tablets…and some adults struggle with this too.
The long-term effect of this type of isolation is unclear, but early reports reveal significant health impacts correlated to the increased use of technology – the shortening of our attention spans, social anxiety, and higher suicide rates. Human contact is an essential part of the human experience, and with a decreasing sense of community, our society’s well-being is at risk.
Music creates space for self-expression, creativity, and skill development. But most importantly, music making creates community. Orchestras, bands, and choirs of all levels, from amateur to professional, bring people together in one rehearsal space to practice the same piece of music. Everyone has a part to play. Sharing this piece of music enables members to actively listen to and lean on each other. Social issues like systemic racism, religious intolerance, and socio-economic disparity may take years, even lifetimes, to solve, but these inequities will not go away until people begin to listen to each other. Harmony cannot be made without listening, and it cannot be made alone.
We believe that the act of combining sound and the creation of harmony between individuals is an experience without measure, and that the skills learned while making music in a community can truly provide the tools for transformation. This is why students and musicians come to Villa Musica – to be a part of something greater than themselves and to create harmony with other humans. We dedicate ourselves to the nurturing of this community of artists so that music-making and all the meaningful experiences that come with it can do what they do best – transform lives.