Connecting Communities Through Music and The Arts

Our Purpose

The purpose of Common Chords is to create connections through music and the arts in order to bring us into a common understanding of one another.

Our Vision

Our vision is to promote the idea of a community that showcases the qualities  that we have in common while celebrating the diversity that makes us different.  

Our Method

We use the tools of artistic expression to educate and to build community, and in the spirit of the folk tradition we teach through demonstration, encouraging imitation, ultimately leading to innovation.

What We Believe


  • We believe that art saves lives. The arts have historically been able to reach students who are difficult to reach in other ways. We often hear how sports have changed the lives of business people, executives and other successful people, but this may be even more true of the arts where we are not limited by the need to be physically gifted.


  • We believe that music and the arts can be useful in creating bridges of understanding both within and between communities. The ability to tell your own story and to understand the stories of others make it possible to create empathy and compassion towards one another.  It is very difficult to hate those whose story we know and appreciate.


  • We believe that giving people the tools of artistic expression empowers them to tell their own stories uniquely and thus enables people to better understand one another. Creativity is a universally human characteristic.  We are born to be creative. Even so, we often discourage creativity in ourselves and others.  We are told "not to sing", or "you can't write".  The truth is that once we are given the tools of self expression we become empowered to create again, and to unleash the power of the artist within us.


  • We believe that artists and musicians that embrace these principles become transformational artists and help to heal wounds in the communities in which they work.  People who embrace the role of artists become catalysts for positive change. Our goals are not stardom, but personhood.


  • We believe that the principles that underpin COMMON CHORDS can be used to bridge many societal differences including racial, gender, generational, social, cultural and language. If nothing else, the history of activism has taught us how important art is in breaking down the attitudes and prejudices that keep us separated.  Just as performing artists like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry helped to blur the lines of southern segregation in the 1950s, artists today can use the power of artistic expression to break down barriers to mutual understanding.


  • We believe that embracing artistic expression can be empowering, therapeutic, and educational. In addition to inparting information, the act of producing art actually puts us in touch with parts of ourselves that trigger healing.  Studies have shown, for example, that hearing a piece of familiar music can actually help to roll away the effects of dementia in the elderly.  We believe that the act of creating art can likewise further empower and heal all kinds of communities.


  • Finally, we believe that even those who don't know how to create art can still help art to happen.  As literally centuries of artistic patronage has shown one of the most worthwhile things that individuals, schools, churches, companies, institutions and foundations can do is to promote the principles of artistic expression.  Creativity is great in business, in education, in worship and in society.  Even if the idea becoming and artist or musician has no appeal, the opportunity encourage the growth of creativity in others is a necessary and worthwhile calling.