Elevating Our Music Scene Through Our Intentions
In the 1994 self-help book First Things First written by Stephen Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill, the authors describe their hope for the way individuals find balance in their personal lives by clarifying their roles:
“Instead of a task orientation that gets in the way of relationships, awareness of the social dimension of each role helps us develop a people orientation that creates rich, rewarding relationships with the people with whom we live and work.”
If we were to imagine the DMV music scene as a person, we might see the various individuals and organizations throughout the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas as filling a variety of roles that all serve the community in some form or other; the tasks they perform as parts of the whole and contributing to the body.
While there is some overlap in certain sectors—there is more than one venue in the area, more than one recording studio, more than one festival, etc, the truth is that in each of these areas exist a unique set of products, services, and circumstances that are positioned to meet a series of unique and specific objectives. Similarly, some of the challenges these industry providers face are unique to them or their section of the industry.
The goal of the DMVMA is to provide services & tools to support our region’s musicians and industry professionals. Our first goal is to identify the most pressing needs that exist throughout the D.C., MD, VA music scene. After identifying the needs we’ll have an opportunity to help point more of the community toward the resources that meet those needs.
It is incredibly important that the entire local community is recognized and included in the programs and initiatives being developed. The objective isn’t to elevate one person or organization over another, but, as a community, to capitalize on the strengths we each bring to the table and to gain support in areas we are weaker in.
While many of us are capable of more than one kind of contribution, collectively we have the opportunity to focus our energies in one area while a different member of the body focuses on another area. We can let our arms do the lifting and our legs do the walking, and so on and so forth.
Yet, as outlined above, our tasks alone do not define us, and the roles we choose to fill are often a decision made as a result of our intentions.
Setting intentions is one of the primary themes that continues to repeat throughout our interactions with individuals and organizations who attend the DMV Music Alliance’s community partnership focus group meetings. The more transparent we can be about our intentions, the easier it is to work from that “social dimension” within our various roles.
One of our recent focus group meetings happened to bring together some of the sponsors of Distrito Music Fest, including The Musicianship, DMV Music Alliance, and Alchemical Records. During the course of the meeting, we discussed what some of our intentions were as sponsors of the festival, which takes place on August 26, 2023 at Union Stage.
Distrito Music Fest is “the premier Latin American music festival in the Nation’s Capital; featuring the best regional, national, and international original acts in celebration of Hispanic Heritage and cultural diversity.” While this is the underlying cause that brings us together alongside other DMF sponsors Butaca Hispana, Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center, Pocket Hero Productions, and Madera Con Pike, each of us maintain a unique perspective within our industry sectors and for how we can best contribute and support the vision of the event.
The Musicianship is hopeful that by sponsoring the event they will learn more about the Latinx community so as to develop an award category for the Wammies that better represents that community. The DMV Music Alliance anticipates their involvement in the event will give the organization a better understanding of the immediate needs within the Latinx creative community and what programs might provide the greatest contribution moving forward. Alchemical Records’ intentions are to provide media coverage of DMF organizers and artists to amplify their story throughout the community and beyond.
The continued success of the DMV Music Scene isn’t entirely dependent on the tasks we perform (whether by ourselves or through partnerships), but on our ability to “develop a people orientation” with empathy for the long term impact we can have on the community, one life at a time. Our success will be determined by whether or not we can align our intentions to focus on creating “rich, rewarding relationships with the people with whom we live and work.”