Growth through grief
Music provides a tangible method for allowing us to understand and empathize in times of tragedy. | pixabay.com
This is a story I should not have to write. Already, that first line echoes the sentiments of countless journalists and think-piece authors when our country is struck with internal tragedy. Mine is no different. The heartache, confusion and anger that permeates throughout the country can be undeniably overwhelming. This, with the inevitable political division that follows suit after a tragedy like the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR last week, makes it impossible to find optimism anymore.
Fostering Strength and Empowerment
Music is an art form that can radically alter our lives, but at times like these it seems utterly useless. These moments of collective grief come far too often, and yet there is no way for us to universally achieve any form of closure. To say there is an artist who can perfectly depict this level of mourning is reductive. Even still, engaging in the non-violent nature of the music community is a way for us to foster feelings of strength and empowerment in a culture dealing with this level of violence.
This is something violence can never take away from us. Much like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” addressed the social — and institutional — oppression in the African-American community, there is music that can connect us to hardships we face as a nation. I cannot help but consider how punk as a whole promotes non-violence, or how psychedelia acted as a protest against the bloodshed of Vietnam. Protest music has always existed, and it serves as an example of art perfectly connected with an era.
There is no band or artist that that brings justice to what we experienced last week, but there is music that allows us to feel — and feel deeply. This sense of empathy and pathos makes music a timeless art. And I believe from the bottom of my heart that the more we engage with feeling, with empathy, with our musical communities, we just might open up another avenue to real, tangible change.