Music Is Important Because of Its Influence


The Forged Unity of Music and Experience


There is the small matter of an election in the USA this week and a lot of last minute prognosticators working double overtime to “help us” understand and sort through what is important. As the crescendo of voices and angles increases and the very real possibility of physical activity around this country-wide decision increases, I bring you thoughts about art and beauty that outlast every government and outweigh the cares of the world. Our uniquely creative human selves will be creating this week and making art and lovely things and dark thoughts released and tender, sweet promises through music.

I’ve seen the videos of a variety of rallies and concerts and meme wars and news clips where music is used to set up entrances and outs of candidates for all sorts of political events. As a musician, I am always curious to hear the choice of songs for all events, but especially for some so segregated by life viewpoint as political actions. I’m surprised by the very old songs used and the very new songs. We tend to focus on uplifting and “feel good” songs that we all relate to in some way, or at least the particular audience does. We know that the event planners were just trying to get emotional responses going, but we don’t care, because we are emotional. It works.

Music for political rallies are positive, and that is a great example of the power and importance of songs in our culture. Their use demonstrates the unity that can be forged by music and experience around positive messages. We don’t get enough of this actually. I’m not in favor of constant politicking, at all, but the rise in popular and positive music does bring to the fore the need we have for community and engagement and uplifting )mostly) discourse, at least with those with whom we agree. Ah, the beauty of that great song blaring. And then the lawsuits. Musicians determined to not have their music associated with certain movements. Understandable. In every day life, musicians (and most creative people) have their intellectual property misused and under-compensated daily. Let’s wrap up this session with a big, happy request to everyone to consider how to compensate the performers and writers of music every time we enjoy their great benefits. It’s easy to find out how and starts with generosity – while you’re feeling “up” from the music.

Music is important.



Photo courtesy of Ken Steorts. Dr. Ken records a new Christmas song with student producer Cale Griffin in Studio One at Visible Music College, Memphis.


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