My take on the word ‘community’ is that it refers to a group of people who interact with each other on a regular basis, be it for work, social or leisure reasons, and who work together to create something or achieve a goal. This can be small or large, but it must involve the participation and interaction of people within the community: the give and take that forms a community of like minded people, which can include any number of people of any background, race or age.
My experience of community so far has primarily been at university- I just graduated from my undergraduate degree at St Andrews University, so I have come to Glasgow from four years of living in a small, closely knit community. St Andrews is a tiny town and university, with about 9,000 students that swell the town’s population by about 50%. Commonly one would bump into at least one person you knew in the street, in the library and in the supermarket, meaning catching up with friends was made very easy! Other communities within that I was part of included the music community, a fairly small but social group, and my own housemates – I lived in a house of 5 girls and we all got on very well, cooking for each other and doing crazy things (particularly around exam time!) Now I am part of the RSAMD community which is very friendly, the social ‘hub’ being the cafe bar in the foyer where people meet and congregate over coffees. It is quite different for me to experience life in a totally music-orientated community, as I have never before studied solely music, so it is strange for me to sit in an orchestra and think, ‘This is the reason for everyone being here in the first place’.
My reasons for choosing my elective in community music are to experience music in a different context than I am used to, somewhat outside my comfort zone, and because I think it is very important to remember that music is for everybody, not just those few who study it and go to concerts, a fact it would be easy to forget when we are so focussed on our courses at music college. I also want to get a taste of what teaching music is like, to see if I would like to pursue it as part of my career after finishing my degree. I also took this elective because I know that I am more of an experiential learner – ie learning through doing practical things and not by listening to lectures and reading papers, and also because I think and hope it will be fun!