If you are Jersey City resident Beth Cohen, you create HudsonCountyMusic.com, an Internet bulletin board where musicians, teachers, and operators of music venues can post their listings for finding fellow musicians, offer musical training, or providing a space to perform in.
Cohen, a Massachusetts native, has worked as a professional conductor and music teacher for over 20 years. But in 2003, she turned her attention toward running the Youth Music Group full-time. The group is a non-profit organization she formed in 1989 to help young people pursue music and to provide consulting for schools to strengthen their music programs.
Hudson County Music grew out of Cohen's observation that professional musicians were looking to play with other local musicians but didn't know how to connect with them.
"There were so many musicians but no one knew anyone else," said Cohen. "They all played in Manhattan, but they had no idea that another talented musician lived down the street."
There are currently 130 musicians signed up with Hudson County Music. Cohen has already put together one concert in December with musicians listed at the Web site.How it works
Musicians, music teachers or music venues can post their listings free of charge by filling out a form on the website.
At the end of last week, the list included 130 musicians in seven categories for instruments, 30 music teachers in towns from Jersey City to Harrison, and several venues in Jersey City where performances will take place.
Cohen is a trained pianist who has made a good living from music over the years, but admits she wanted more in her life.
"If I was just focused on my performing, I might have been an even more successful musician," said Cohen. "But I always felt the need to help others, particularly young people, to become actively engaged with music rather than passively entertained."
While working in Manhattan and living in Jersey City for the past 10 years, Cohen met with musicians who wanted to hook up with other like-minded musicians, but found it a frustrating process.
"There are amateur musicians who want to play with other amateur musicians, and there were students looking for teachers who didn't know how to find teachers," said Cohen. "Because here in the shadow of the cultural capital of the world - New York City - there is a certain isolation."
Cohen is proud of what she has accomplished with the Web site and mentioned recent pairings.
"I recently matched up two flute players here in Hudson County. I like bringing together some lonely violin players," said Cohen. "I feel like a musical 'yenta' or matchmaker."
Cohen is also working toward creating an orchestra comprised of county-based musicians she met through Hudson County Music.
For more information, call (201) 521-0345 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com