A Small, Meaningful Act Can Lead to Great Things

I haven't done anything great that has had any kind of impact, except for one time. I did something small and easy, yet important. Several years ago, city council was going to cut funding to local transit. I was opposed to this, and I innocuously started a community Facebook event called Stand Up for Local Transit (I substituted Local for the name of my city). At the next council meeting, hundreds of people showed up to protest the cuts and council backed down on the measure. All I did was start a Facebook event, and I was shocked by the result of my small anonymous action.

Today, I did something similar, but I don't yet know if my action will have an impact. There was a meeting today about the state of the local music scene. Ideas were being sought on how to make the music scene great which would lead to making my city a tourist destination for music. Being a full-time musician who often works outside of my own community, I had a serious personal stake.

As well intentioned as this grassroots initiative was, I couldn't take it seriously without the involvement of the Canadian Federation of Musicians of which I am a member. Therefore I invited representatives from the CFM to the meeting, and they came. Several musicians really appreciated the attendance of CFM reps. One older musician even gave me a hug to thank me.

My community lost it's CFM local in the 1990s, and since then, it has become increasing difficult to receive fair compensation for work here. However, musicians are dealing with this reality all across Canada and the U.S.A. Since my town doesn't have its own local anymore, we now fall under the jurisdiction of another city. As a result of my invitation, I will become the informal (or perhaps formal) liaison between my town and our CFM local.

I truly hope that this grassroots initiative gains traction and that it makes a difference in the long run. There were many great ideas generated today from stakeholders of every age. Hopefully, the collective mind will find a way to invigorate my community's music scene.

I firmly believe that when musicians can earn a living wage, they can invest time into their craft so they can compete for paid gigs. This leads to higher quality music, leading to more patrons coming out to listen, leading to a thriving music scene. There are many more facets involved, but I maintain that fair compensation for musicians' work is fundamental to the effort.