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Soundwork on a Hot Rock

Music & Sound in the Time of Change

Publishing 2023-2024

From the author, Joshua Leeds.


September 2023


Dear soundworkers and music lovers around the world.


Soundwork is a term I use to describe the positively intentional applications of music and sound. Hot Rock refers to our warming Earth.


I began this inquiry into the relevance of soundwork in 2018.


I believe we are in an evolutionary time. Now are the seeds of renaissance, where artists and visionaries help cultures into newer, greater ways of being.


We've entered the time of deep listening and asking, “What is called for and needed?”


As soundworkers, I believe it is our music, rhythms, frequencies, science, and heartspace that are called for and needed.


Everywhere, people are confronted with continual waves of uncertainty. Music has always served as a primary antidote for social cohesion and the time is now for community hope. We are all in this together. 


For soundworkers, this is a new time for shedding old identities, learning new skillsets, seeking silver linings, being alert and of service.


In 2023 – the age of coronavirus, climate change, awareness of systemic racism, income inequity, unbridled corporations, amoral politicians and war! – eight billion sisters and brothers are looking and listening for a new wholeness.

​Redefining the Role of Music – Community Sonic Activism is born: Music as service.


From sonic alchemy to sonic activism, this is a time for expanding the relevance of soundwork for cultures in crises.


Global communities have entered times of massive change and need support. Lahaina, Heat Domes, hurricaines, and Atlantic coral reefs call out loss. Geopolitical food hoarding causes migratory waves and people are hurting. Music and art can bring powerful and meaningful solutions to troubled cultures. Soundwork has come of age and there are ample opportunities for musicians, soundworkers, scientists, music lovers everywhere! Please notice...


• Current research into therapeutic soundwork is unparalleled: $20m+ currently invested by the NIH and NEA.


The culture becomes the patient! Therapeutically-trained musicians (music therapists to folk musicians) can bring their training and talents out of the hospitals, concert venues, and recording studios and into the neighborhoods.


• Public Music. The world needs music ever-present, everywhere, ever-present. Social cohesion is triggered by people singing together.


• Expressive arts have been clinically-proven to play a major role in community health.


• The healing role of musicians in the service of disrupted culture calls.


Music stardom is a vapid motivation in these times. As Covid demonstrated, music returns to its birthplace in the bosom of culture; a reflection of the heart and soul of being. The culture is in need and will be for many decades to come.


Therapeutic/concert/folk musicians and educated soundworkers evolve into sonic activists. Bring what you do, teach others what you do…


This is what soundwork on a hot rock is about; a 21st century re-birthing of sonic culture as a healing force on our beautiful Earth.


Soundwork and aesthetic colleagues everywhere, please help define and enact this essential emergence of physical, emotional and spiritual activism.

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