Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo of Soundfly's Flypaper
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One thing we could all use a little more of in this world is each other. The support, guidance, and comfort that we can offer others — whether friends, family, cohorts, or strangers — is second to none. I’m a firm believer that if only we can learn to look out for one another, support each other’s dreams instead of compete for them, and have each other’s backs, we can really make an incredible difference in the lives of musicians and fans everywhere. We can change the direction of this world for the better.
And that’s precisely what the following charities aim to do. So we here at Soundfly wanted to show our admiration and appreciation for everything these organizations do for our community. And if you’re in need of some help, we hope that you’ll find a charity here that is set up to provide something for you (if not, get in touch and we’ll set you on the right track).
Here are 10 of our favorite charities working to help fellow musicians and music people alike, in absolutely no order whatsoever. Check them out, spread the word, and get involved. We need more people like you out there on the scene.
Notes for Notes
A nonprofit dedicated to providing youth with free access to instruments, instruction, and recording studios so that their dreams may become a reality and their music can go on to change lives (as well as their own), Notes for Notes creates recording studio spaces inside Boys & Girls Clubs. They offer members of the youth community the opportunity to explore their musical curiosities, all for free.
Everything is provided, including guitars, bass, drums, and DJ gear. They even go a step above that to educate kids on careers in the industry, whether on stage or behind the scenes. You can get involved by donating gear, time, or if you have it, extra cash.
Musicians on Call
What a beautiful thing. Musicians on Call brings music (both live and recorded) straight to the bedsides of patients who are currently in hospital. Believing in the power of live performances for patients, Musicians on Call is in 17 major markets with 80 programs across the country. So far, they’ve performed for over 625,000 patients, families, and caregivers, and have no intention of slowing down. There are many ways to get involved, including signing up to be a musician who performs for patients in your area.
A collaborative campaign between Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends, OurMusicMyBody works with festivals, musicians, music fans, and venue staff to create a fun and consensual music experience across the globe. They’re in need of volunteers, and you can get involved to schedule your first training and shadow sessions here.
We can’t talk about life-changing charities without mentioning MusiCares. Run by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (aka, the people who put on the Grammys), MusiCares offers an array of services covering emotional and personal emergencies, as well as financial and medical ones. Their goal is to help those involved in music in their time of need, and they do that through hotlines as well as financial, medical, and emotional support and assistance. You can get involved by donating and subscribing to their mailing list to keep up to date on any opportunities or calls for participation.
House of Blues Music Forward
Self-described as “an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating leadership skills for youth using music as the bridge to success,” Music Forward offers programs for youth aged 12-22 that provide the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the music industry.
Programs include interactive workshops where students can connect with music industry insiders, All Access days where students can tour live entertainment venues and get further insight on their desired career, and scholarships. There are a ton of ways to get involved beyond monetary donation, like being a mentor or a sponsor.
Life Under the Wheel
This is a really unique one that pairs those with a life-threatening illness with an unforgettable festival experience. Believing that festivals attract a unique kind of community spirit and bring together new experiences with new friends, Life Under the Wheel is changing lives. A fairly new organization, they’ve already partnered with major festivals like Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Life is Beautiful, and many more.
There are a few different ways to get involved, such as making a donation, becoming a festival partner (if you’re connected in that way), becoming an industry partner, or hosting a fundraiser.
Beneath the Skin
Believing strongly in the power of community and mentorship (like we do!), Beneath the Skin aims to alleviate struggles such as anxiety, self-harm, and depression, while increasing self-worth, social abilities, and overall mental health. Started by Brittany Mullins, wife of Matty Mullins (Memphis May Fire), the program offers mentoring so that you always have someone safe to talk to who can help you navigate your life, overcome struggles, and be a shoulder to lean on.
If you’d like to get involved, you can also volunteer to be a mentor and change someone’s life, or just help spread the word in any way that you can (you never know who in your network may need this).
Safe Gigs for Women
As the name suggests, Safe Gigs aims to create a safer environment for women at gigs. Believing that education is what will make the difference, they attend several events per year, as well as host them, in order to promote their mission and their message. Right now, their main need is monetary donations, but they’re always looking for volunteers, so don’t be shy about reaching out.
SongwritingWith:Soldiers uses the emotional power of words and music to help veterans tell their stories, let go of their pain, and move forward. Through their retreats and workshops, service members get paired with professional songwriters to write about their experiences — oftentimes about the battlefield as well as the return home. The songs are then recorded and shared to further close the gap between military and civilian communities, while helping bring awareness to the challenges our returning soldiers face.
Want to get involved? They ask you spread the word about the program — the more exposure, the more their funding increases, and the more soldiers they can help. They also rely on local volunteers near their retreat areas.
Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund
Providing financial assistance to career musicians who find themselves struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related struggles, Sweet Relief is all about healing and helping. You can get involved by donating directly as well as donating goods and services, organizing fundraisers, or even just sharing their website link and logo.
This article was written by Soundfly Mentor Angela Mastrogiacomo. If you’re interested in working with Angela on your next music project, fill out this form to tell us about your goals, and be sure to mention her name in your response! Learn more about Headliners Club mentorship here.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is a pop-punk enthusiast and the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and Infectious Magazine. She’s also an industry and PR coach that specializes in helping artists and entrepreneurs overcome their doubts and make their mark on the world. You can find hanging out with her dog, eating sweets, and curled up with a good book.