Most of us have an innate understanding of music. Even if we can’t play an instrument, or even sing, somehow, we can connect with rhythms and melodies. Heck, even plants understand music. Did you know they tend to grow faster after a generous helping of classical music? It’s true. World Day of Music or Fête de la Musique, celebrated each June 21, was first started in France but today highlights music’s universal appeal. It’s meant to make music more inclusive and encourage people of varying skill levels to interact a lot more with all types of tunes. World Day of Music is also an opportunity for musicians to build their presence and connect with their audience on social media.
History of World Day of Music
From the oldest musical instrument in the world — the Neanderthal flute, made by Neanderthals 60,000 years ago — to present-day electronic instruments, music has become a significant part of our daily lives. Other than being pleasant to listen to, music is a form of expression — the right melody resonates with feelings better than words can, and music transcends borders. This is exactly what World Day of Music aims for — bringing people together, and breaking barriers and boundaries through music.
World Day of Music initially started in France. When Maurice Fleuret became the Director of Music and Dance at the Ministry of Culture in October 1981, he applied his perspective on musical practice: “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere.” In a study written in 1982 on French cultural habits, Fleuret discovered that every one out of two people played a musical instrument. Inspired by this, he started thinking of a way to bring people together on the streets with music. This is how the first Day of Music, or ‘Fête de la Musique,’ took place in Paris in 1982.
Fête de la Musique promoted music in two ways: by encouraging new and professional musicians to perform in the streets and by organizing free music concerts, covering all genres of music, so that the public could be exposed to new music. Under the slogan ‘Faites de la musique’ (‘Make music’), the official Fête de la Musique organization in Paris advocated for concerts to be made free to the public and that artists play free of charge. This was broadly applicable to other participating cities as well.
Over the past few years, the festival gained international popularity, eventually being celebrated by more than 120 countries around the world. The day evolved to finally become World Day of Music, World Music Day, or International Music Day.
World Day of Music timeline
French composer and the future founder of Fête de la Musique, Maurice Fleuret, is born.
The future founder of Fête de la Musique, Maurice Fleuret, is appointed to the post of Director of Music and Dance — he aims to make music accessible to a lot more people in France.
Fleuret, together with Lang, announces Fête de la Musique in Paris on June 21, which is also the day of the summer solstice.
The concept of Fête de la Musique is adopted by several countries around the world, and becomes an annual fixture on the global calendar.