Music Made Us: The power of music in turbulent times 

17 February, 2021

At BIMM Institute, we explore, discuss and celebrate what music means to people, how it has impacted our world – and how it has made us who we are today. Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been touched by this creative outlet.

Throughout the campaign, we will explore music’s power in turbulent times through news stories, short courses, panel discussions, and interviews. Our series is designed to spark conversation about how we can rethink the industry in a time where we need music and art more than ever.

2020 was a challenging year for everyone – not just in terms of the pandemic but also because of the changes in politics and our wider society. During everything, music was the one thing that was by our side. And it’s not the first time that it has helped bring us courage through tough times.

In times of crisis, we may experience solitude, anxiety, sadness, anger, frustration and hopelessness. However, it’s music that often provides us with comfort, reminding us of who we were before unsettling moments. Listening to our favourite tracks from when we were in school or the music we listened to before going out reminds us of better times. It presents us with wonderful memories from the past and lets us hope for making more in the future.

Music is so diverse. There are so many genres, sounds and artists that everyone will find music to relate to and find comfort in. When we struggle the most, music provides us with words and melodies that can accurately articulate our feelings and let us escape the difficult situations we face. Most people turn to music and art in turbulent times to escape the harsh reality they might find themselves in.

How can music comfort us?

The reason we are so comforted by music is because we know it will never leave our side. It is all around us, and even in the most challenging times, we know that there will always be music, and people will continue to create it. But while it allows us to go inwards and shut off the real world, it also lets us to do the opposite.

Music can inspire us to step out, get together with people and express ourselves. It helps us express the things that we might have been afraid to say, and it can spark a discourse on important topics. There have been many events when music was used to inspire and encourage people to act and speak up in times of crisis or injustice. An example of this is the UK’s punk subculture in the mid-70s.

The music and lyrics of punk were typically anti-establishment. The slogan “No future” played an important role after the Sex Pistols released their song “God Save The Queen,” singing “There is no future in England’s dreaming”. When the band crashed the Queen’s Silver Jubilee by renting a boat, cruising to the House of Parliament on the River Thames and playing their album Anarchy in the UK, it was a direct reaction to what was happening in the country. Being an embodiment of the aristocracy, the Queen has always been a thorn in the side of punk’s ideology. This was their way of speaking up against it.

There are many examples of how music has acted as a powerful tool to mobilise people and kick-start change in society and politics. In difficult times like a pandemic, we start to rethink how we function as a society. A crisis might bring light to flawed economic, societal and political structures. And we realise that there needs to be change.

Questions like: “How will the music industry change?” and “In what ways will people make music and how will we listen to it?” might come up. We want to explore questions like these further and look at examples of how music has inspired people in the past to create a difference.

Take a look at how our students have found freedom and hope through music:

We want you to consider being part of the change you want to see in the industry. With our new content series, you can hear opinions of industry professionals and lecturers, and participate in the conversation.

What might a post-Covid industry look like?

If you’re curious as to what the music industry might look like post-Covid, then join us for an exclusive webinar. Joe Sparrow and Jörg Tresp, our Music Business lecturers at BIMM Institute Berlin and Hamburg, will be hosting the webinar on the 30th of March.

Register today


Do you want to be part of a future generation of musicians and music professionals shaping the industry? Learn more about BIMM Institute by ordering a prospectus, book an Open Day or contact our Admissions Team on +49 30 311 99 186 (Berlin) or +49 40 874 09 632 (Hamburg). You can also read, watch and discover our unique range of Music Made Us stories here.

© 2021 BIMM Institute
The British and Irish Modern Music Institute