A Music Forward Volunteer Commentary

Guest Post by Carla D. Brown, MBA
Professional Volunteer for Bringing Down the House Chicago


You’ve heard it before… Music is a universal language.

For many of us, it has been the foundation that built relationships, the bridge that connected friendships, or the translator that facilitated difficult conversations. It has been the glue that held together communities in the wake of tragedy, the fuel that ignited the catching fire of celebrations, and the Polaroid snapshots that memorialized the greatest of our memories.

Growing up, I didn’t attend some fancy performing arts school. I didn’t even attend any private schools. However, I was fortunate and count myself blessed to come along at a time where music education was readily available to me starting at an early age. “Sing-Along with Mom” classes as a pre-schooler progressed into joining my church choir at about 7 years old. Next was piano lessons and music class in elementary school. Soon it was the concert, to symphonic, to jazz bands from junior high to high school and my college gospel choir. Music was all around me all of the time – and I loved it.

It was more than just learning how to play the music itself. The process required and taught me so many skills that translated into other areas of my life. I had to be disciplined. I had to respect authority and leadership. I had to follow instruction. I had to cooperate with others. I had to listen as much, if not more, than I spoke. Above all, I was encouraged to be creative and self-expressive and to appreciate the same in others. These are all lessons imperative to the proper development of our young people. This is also why the support of organizations like the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, “dedicated to accelerating real-life skills for youth using music as the bridge to success” is so important.

Carla with local Bringing Down the House participants at the House of Blues Chicago

When I was invited by the foundation to be a speaker on the music marketing discussion panel at Bringing Down The House – Chicago (“BDTH”), I jumped at the opportunity. It didn’t require much thought. My reasons were simple. One, it involved music. Two, it involved youth. I am extremely passionate about both.

We are living in a day where all kinds of information are at our fingertips and social media reigns supreme. So artists are truly, now more than ever, viewed as their own personal brands. Couple that with the notion that so many artists are or are seeking to be independent which means they are without a major record label responsible for their development, image, and reputation management. Learning how to efficiently market themselves is of the utmost importance. The youth at BDTH made a decision to invest in their music careers and I, in turn, was willing to spend my afternoon doing the same and I was so glad that I did.

They asked questions, they listened, and I have already witnessed many of them applying what they learned. How could someone not be eager to share what they already know with someone actually willing to learn it if it means a chance at a more artistic, productive, and positive society? After all, creativity is intelligence having fun. Think about what you can teach our youth. Maybe it’s music or maybe it’s something completely different. Find out where your knowledge can best be utilized and then get involved. The future of our youth depends on you!

Below a video posted by Carla Brown

Follow her on Instagram @CarlaDBrown_PR

Videographer  Samuel W. Wright III of Destiny Film & Media