In 1974, the International Music Council declared that International Music Day would be celebrated on October 1 every year. Celebrate this day even if you don’t play music by actively appreciating and enjoying the power of music in bringing people together.
History of International Music Day
Since its inception in 1949, the International Music Council, an associate organization of UNESCO, strongly felt that music had the power to unite communities and foster world peace. The Council, especially its President in 1975, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, firmly believed that music can strengthen relationships and bridge cultural gaps among communities. Realizing this, the Council decided to devote one day in a year to music. The aim was to harness the power of music to unite communities and cultures and inspire them to coexist harmoniously.
Lord Yehudi Menuhin, arguably America’s most prolific violinist and music conductor at that time, as the President of the International Music Council, wrote a letter to the IMC members proclaiming October 1 as the International Music Day. In the letter, he clearly spelled out the reasons for marking the day. The International Music Day was intended to:
- Encourage promoting musical art among all the sections of society.
- Motivate the application of UNESCO’s ideals of peace and friendship among people.
- Create space for the evolution of cultures through the exchange of experiences.
- Encourage mutual appreciation of cultures, especially their aesthetic values.
Since the first International Music Day on October 1, 1975, over 150 countries across the globe have celebrated the power of music to unite societies, communities, and people. The day offers people an occasion to celebrate music and contribute towards a more peaceful, joyful, and harmonious society. Events on this day include concerts, exhibitions, seminars on creating music, lectures, music conferences, and so forth.
International Music Day timeline
The Council is created to advise UNESCO on how music can further promote world peace and enable cultures to coexist harmoniously.
The Council passes a resolution in the 15th General Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland, acknowledging the importance of a day dedicated to music.
President of the International Music Council Lord Yehudi Menuhin writes a letter to all the members of the Council proclaiming that October 1 will be celebrated as International Music Day.
The first-ever International Music Day is celebrated.
International Music Day FAQs
When was the first International Music Day observed?
On October 1, 1975, the first-ever International Music Day was observed as per the declaration of the International Music Council in November 1974.
Do the French celebrate International Music Day on June 21?
France celebrates a similar music festival called Fête de la Musique, popularly known as World Music Day, on June 21.
Why do authorities in some countries order traffic stoppages on International Music Day?
The International Music Council had proposed that on International Music Day, authorities should motivate the observance of a few minutes of silence in towns, during which soulful music should be played in public places, including parks and city squares. Keeping with the tradition, traffic stoppages are ordered to enable a reduction in noise levels.
How To Celebrate International Music Day
Organize a concert of local musicians
In every neighborhood, there are budding musicians who would love to play in front of an audience. Organize an orchestra or solo performances at the church or even at the market square, with permission from the authorities. Livestream the performances over Facebook and Instagram for maximum coverage. They will be thrilled to bits at the opportunity.
Create space for silence
Try to persuade people in your condominium or apartment complex to switch all noise off for a moment. This will reduce the sound pollution and give them the chance to listen to the sounds of nature — birds chirping, wind whistling, leaves rustling, etc. People will appreciate listening to the music inherent in nature.
Invite a speaker on the subject
The music teacher of your local school is perhaps the most respected authority on music in your neighborhood. Perhaps the person who owns the shop selling musical instruments also knows a thing or two about how music unites societies. Get them to speak and inspire kids and youngsters to take up music as a constructive pastime.
5 Music Rights Advocated By The International Music Council
Freedom of musical expression
All people, including children and adults, should be able to involve themselves in music through participation, listening, creating, or sharing and gathering information.
Freedom to learn
All children and adults have the right to learn any musical language and skill.
Right of access
All children and adults should be able to involve themselves in music through participation, listening, creating, or sharing and gathering information.
Development of artistry
All musical artists should have the freedom to develop their artistry and communicate through all media, with proper facilities.
Right to fair remuneration
All musical artists should be allowed to obtain fair remuneration and just recognition for their musical creation and performances.
Why We Love International Music Day
Music is therapeutic
Just listening to music in any form — jazz, classical, instrumental, folk, etc., is therapeutic. The great philosopher Plato rightly said, "Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life." Just allowing yourself to indulge in music in the moment can soothe our perennially frayed nerves.
Traffic is stopped by authorities
In some countries, the authorities ask people to observe traffic stoppages briefly to maintain a few moments of silence and curb sound pollution. Such rare occasions need to be savored.
Free music is played in the city squares
At many city squares worldwide, soulful and melodious music is amplified through public speakers, etc. It is a feast for sore souls and minds. Experience your muscles relax when you hear the symphonies playing out, especially early in the morning.
International Music Day dates