Introduction: Music brings us together

I’m not alone in finding each day’s news, filled with reports of injustice, unrest and violence, deeply troubling. I can’t help feeling that anything we do to appreciate voices who differ from our own, that allows the voiceless to speak to us and through us, contributes something in this moment of great suffering.

So I put forth this idea:

When we listen to music, we’re getting a glimpse of another person’s experience – their joy, suffering, thoughts, opinions, wishes, challenges and so much more.  Music is and has been incredibly influential in fostering understanding and changing our world.

Our world needs a serious dose of understanding, love and healing right now.  What better to do (from quarantine) than to stretch our minds to appreciate influential moments from music history.

In this asynchronous project, we’ll follow Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Artists of All Time, from #100 all the way up to #1.  Each week, we’ll all listen to music by a single artist from the list, and share our thoughts and reflections on what moved us or made us think.  These artists were impactful in unique ways, and all of them moved a needle, whether it was in musicality, culture, politics or something else.

This list features a great spectrum of races, cultures and nationalities. Our present cultural moment has been influenced by this diversity of voices, and our present diversity of voices will influence our collective future.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Each week, on Wednesday, we announce an artist by email, and in our discussion group. (Sign up to receive the email updates here: Receive weekly Music Project Updates)
  2. We take some time to independently listen to that artist, and see what bubbles up for us. What grabs our attention? What did we feel?
  3. Visit the discussion page and share your thoughts. You can post without an account, but if you do, please be sure to sign your comments!

The discussion page is hosted on, which is an educational resource for creating interactive content.  This page is available only to people who have the link, so while it is technically public, the content is only accessible by Ohr Shalom community members who receive the link in the School & Youth emails or in Ohr Shalom’s daily updates.

CAVEAT:  This is an all-ages learning experience, and I hope we have participants from age 0 to 100 and beyond!  But some of the artists’ works among these 100 are not family-friendly.  This is not to diminish in any way the significance of artists whose work contains explicit content.  Parental involvement is highly recommended, both to encourage family discourse and because parents may want to review and select the songs they share with their kids!
We will include a warning when parents should be on the lookout.

We begin with The Talking Heads at #100.  Their upbeat vibe at first seemed out of place for this moment, but they pose some questions of self-reflection and identity that give pause to the listener. Even incongruences can find a way to suggest relevance.  What do you think?
Let’s practice hearing what others have to say. I hope it will make you think, and I hope you’ll share some of your thoughts in an uplifting dialogue together.

Comments 1

  1. Thank you Cheryl!
    All we need is love and a melody.
    Like a bridge (musical term) over troubled waters (our current social condition) we shall carry on as a loving community in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *