*Warning* Contains incredibly cheesy and cringe-worthy content. I sincerely apologise.
Music; the most influential, widespread, popular branch of the media tree. Well, that’s the way that I see it, anyway. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t read, who don’t enjoy watching TV, who don’t like sport. But when it comes to music, everybody wants to stick their two cents in. And they are more than welcome to, because music IS important. Outside of the whole Cowell-tainted, record producing, money making scheme which is The Music Business, these delightful little tunes play a huge part in so many aspects of the world. I could sit here and bore you with all the places you find music these days, but that’s not what this is about. Well, it might be. If I’m being honest, I’ve not really thought about what it’s about, hence the rambling.
I THINK that my point is that music, other than mathematics, is the only universal language. Before Apple changed what it meant to be top of the charts, or heck, before Top Of The Pops changed what it meant to be a musician, music was an art form. And very rightfully so, I might add. Some people can look at some beautifully constructed painting and feel nothing, and there are those who don’t watch a play or read a book and experience what the author intended on them feeling. With music however, everyone feels something. The journey only BEGINS at the ear. Any talented musician (note that I used the word talented; this doesn’t necessarily apply to today’s Top 40) has not only the ability, but the intention of inviting the listener to feel the emotion that went into their composition. The eager semiquaver, the hesitant rest, the ‘minor fourth and the major fifth’ (Brownie points to anyone who understood that reference) are all placed with utmost care and attention, to produce a metaphorical picture on the blank canvas that is silence.
I know this all sounds very dramatic, but I get dramatic when I get passionate. And this is me being passionate. Hence the crazy metaphors and over-indulgence on artsy quotes.
To think of life without music is to think of a Rubik’s Cube with only one colour – it exists, but is about as fun as tax returns and pea soup. And of course, playing an instrument just makes the experience of music all the sweeter. In the immortal words of John Cage, ‘it is better to make a piece of music than it is to perform one, better to perform one than to listen to one, better to listen to one than to misuse it as a means of distraction, entertainment, or acquisition of “culture”.’ Music is fully appreciated by those who try to make it themselves, because it is then that you can feel it. I for one couldn’t care less that I’m not the best guitarist in the world; to really get to grips with music, you don’t need to be able to shred until your fingers bleed. You need to acknowledge that all music derives from classical stuff; you need the delicate melody of a broken chord and the pleasure of being able to FEEL where the next note should come from. Making music isn’t about what people want to hear, it’s about what you want to free yourself of. There is no better stress relief than picking up an instrument and noodling your frustrations away, and I’m sure a lot of musicians will say the same.
If you find rehearsing your instrument a chore, then music isn’t for you. Of all the years that I’ve played guitar, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten bored of practicing. To play and to not enjoy an instrument is something which I can’t comprehend. Music is about freedom, and anyone who hasn’t experienced that is playing for the wrong reasons. Music is something which everyone should feel to its full capacity, and I don’t mean turning the volume up to 11.
Music isn’t just entertainment. It’s not just media, it’s not just money. It’s a “language that the soul alone understands, but which the soul can never translate.” I’ve never been able to explain how calming playing guitar is, or how any day can be turned on its head if I plug in my iPod. It sort of fills you up. That one song which gives you goosebumps, which makes you feel homesick for something you’ve never had. The friendships you’ve made over liking the same songs, the people you don’t like because they don’t understand your favourite artists. Music isn’t just a soundtrack to be put on as background noise. It’s a way of life, and I seriously struggle to go a day without it.
Photo: All Rights Reserved by Emily Bean