Using purpose to go back to the drawing board during Covid.
By Shaya Lyon
I never clean behind the couch. On Thanksgiving, I felt like cleaning behind the couch. I dug out a pile of dusty rolled-up papers and found the initial statement of purpose for the Live Music Project, which we’d written on a huge piece of paper and taped to the wall for a community meeting in March 2016, the same week we officially incorporated. The wording has shifted a bit since then, but the work is still the same. ❤️
This year has me thinking a lot about purpose — the “why” of doing, making, and being. The beauty of purpose is that it doesn’t dictate what you should do or how you should do it. Purpose is the reason. The rest is implementation. Purpose is immune to Covid.
The purpose of my work at LMP is to connect people with live classical music. Almost overnight, Covid radically altered the nature of how live music is performed and experienced. It subverted our existing methods of finding concerts to share with you. It turned our volunteering logistics inside out. It emptied our concert calendar completely; then the opposite, as it redefined the geographical scope of our concert coverage and, in turn, our readership.
But Covid couldn’t touch our purpose.
The beautiful purpose statement that sat behind my couch for the last four years is a beacon. I’m so grateful that the LMP board and I took the time, back in 2016, to articulate our purpose as we filled out oodles of incorporation paperwork, so that we could look to that purpose as a compass in 2020.
Amid the grief of what wouldn’t be — programs on hold, music unheard, epic community eggnog bar-hopping adventures undone (*sob — Rachmaninogg!*), it has been encouraging for me to remember that purpose doesn’t lie in a specific service, in a face-to-face meeting, or even in a concert hall.
LMP’s purpose is in providing access to concert information, so we’ve been staying close to that as the concert landscape shifts throughout this wild year.
We’re continuing to research how performers produce music during Covid, and where they promote their concerts. We’re adjusting our editorial process and our website to collect that information and share it as efficiently and accurately as possible.
We’re asking ourselves how we can show our belief that Black lives matter in the way we display concert information. We’re taking steps to actively highlight the work of BIPOC artists. We see every day that as long as there is music, there are ways to build audiences around music — and that there might not be a more important time to do that than right now.
We’re all trying to find new ways to achieve the things we care about. I want to support you in this, too. If there are ways in which LMP can help you achieve your musical goals, please reach out. Let’s work on these things together. Similarly, if you are in a place to support us with your time, talent, a financial gift, or notes of encouragement — please reach out as well. I love to hear from you.
I hope that whether you’re new to the LMP family or a long-time gobbler of our concert listings, that you’ve found joy in live music this year.
Wishing you a healthy, hopeful, purposeful 2021.
Warmly from Seattle,
Founder & director, Live Music Project