Music as the Voice of our Greatness

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

Although Charles Darwin’s quotation was written more than 100 years before our time, it can be claimed that inside his words you can find the essence and the purpose of many musicians and music scholars of today.

As you can read the quotation, Darwin himself fully understood the importance of being emotionally developed by exposing himself to the refined arts like music and poetry.

More than that, even though he was one of the most brilliant naturalists in history, he deeply understood the need for expanding the realm of his soul in order to keep himself from damaging his brain and morality.

For him, music wasn’t only an entertainment, but an instrument that can be used to optimize one’s mental wellness.

But in my opinion, the most important word in that quotation is the word “IF”. This two letter long word expresses the dominant attitude of our generation regarding music. We are surrounded by music all the time, but we almost never stop to listen to it deeply. Today, hardly anybody searches for unique and different types of music besides what is being heard on the radio, on the web or in the dance clubs. And I am sure, for example, only in random times somebody analyzes the structure of the music with lyrics. The music just goes in one ear and out the other, stimulating the senses, but not the intellect.

Nevertheless, I am sure that the reason for this is not our indifference to music (actually I have never met someone in my life that was not a musical person), but our overwhelming exposure to the amount of categorized information we receive in our daily routine. When I was a young girl, I knew for sure which composers I should know in order to have a proper musical education. These times are gone forever now, but I can say that although we don’t have the canon for musical pieces anymore, we have the richness of information, which is priceless. Even though with one push of a button on the computer we can access any style, era or performance of music we want, people don’t know what to ask for.

In this chaotic intellectual world, the purpose of my blog is give to you the first entrance of the magnificent world of music. My plan is to take you on an exciting step by step tour of the existing, but untouchable world of music. Through this journey, I will introduce you to the world of music comprehension. Although my musical educational roots are planted from classical music, I will reveal diverse styles of music, from the early stages until the latest innovations.

I will begin my musical voyage from the beginning of my own musical private biography. In the course of my writing, I will investigate subjects such as: musical mental development; musical intelligence; music appreciation; and implications of music practice on the abilities to concentrate, creating self-esteem, and gaining knowledge.

Writing a blog rather than a book, enables free information transformation. By having your comments, insights and your suggestions, I will be able to deepen my investigation as well as improve and expand the subjects that will be discussed.

Feel free to write to me whatever comes into your head, and together we will have the opportunity to discover the marvelous world of music.

Wishing you a pleasant experience of making music, reading music and thinking about music.

Yours,

Maya Liberman

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9 thoughts on “Music as the Voice of our Greatness

  1. True musicianship is more than the physical accomplishment of playing the notes to perfection as most of the technically proficient do these days. Profound musicianship’s performance stir audiences deeper emotions beyond the simple amazement of technical perfection. Recorded music has produced all of these technical wizards in imitation of what has been heard on recordings that have been edited for perfection. Meanwhile we are losing those qualities of emotional profundity conveyed by such greats as Horowitz, Rubenstein, Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein, etc. If all we hear now is something akin to a performance from a mechanized piano, then perhaps we should be sticking to Mr. Darwin’s suggestion of poetry exclusively where we can find some emotional depth.

  2. Great share Maya! Just wanted to add some quick nore regarding a perfect pitch – in professional music world the thing that we calling a ‘perfect’ pitch is not quite good sometimes! Just immagine that you are all the time looking at the monitor that is out of refresh rate. Soon you will get headache and problems with your health. So, it is the same with perfect pitch – some Orchestra conductors shared with me, that they have problems with some records, orchestra groups and other musical appearances as they rarely are together with this ‘perfect pitch!’

    You have my Kind regards,
    Rihards

  3. Maya, I’m glad you feel that way about these discussions. Personally, I try not to intrude too much as I realize that I stumbled upon this discussion group much by accident and that its goals are decidedly in a different direction than my own, but parallel. I do love the music and am in full support of the artists involved. However, once in a while a subject comse to the surface that I feel I can contribute to in some small way.

  4. Maya, your attitude is quite refreshing. As a former musician now turned recording engineer, I feel I stepped from the “ivory tower” many years ago. I was raised on classical music but trouble was, that I loved many other types as well. While many of my clients, these days, are classical musicians/producers, I have recorded everything from Rock’n’Roll to Gamelon, much, of which, I have thoroughly enjoyed.

    In my work, I come into contact with chamber music societies and festival presenters on a regular basis and the one recurring theme is that classical music is dying. My answer is for them to start stretching out and including more modern and less restrictive forms in their programs. Start building a new member base by appealing to younger people who usually have a broader music experince. I’m in my mid 60s, and as much as I love music of the masters, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky etc., etc…, I also love The Beetles, Phil Collins, Earth Wind and Fire, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Parliment Funkadelic and the beat goes on.

    Now I’m not saying that chamber societies have to hire rock groups but many are opposed to wind ensembles, brass ensembles, classical or flamenco guitar, singers and anything that doesn’t follow the ,so called, mainstream. A group I’ve come to know in the last few years is “Ethel”.

    They bill themselves as an electric band, even though they play traditional stringed instruments in a quartet type setting, electrified of course. Now what really sets them apart is that they both compose original music, introduce works by other modern composers, but collaborate, as well with Native American artists and others. These guys are well familiar with the standard repetoir and play it brilliantly when called upon to do so, but their attractiveness is in bringing music to an audience not usually exposed to classical approaches.., they do it by mixing it up. There are many convertees due to them, but Ethel is but one example.., and we need more.

  5. Pingback: Can’t You be Born a Musician??!! | My Musical Talent

  6. I was teaching music for the past 6 years. One of the general music classes was for a High School elective. The curriculum was built for optimum exposure of music and vocabulary building. I used the fundamentals of music such as, rhythm, Melody and Harmony (Texture) , Form, timbre and dynamics as large units to build lessons that introduced many examples of music. I designed a project that allowed students to pick any piece of music and create a display that expresses the fundamentals of music that they observe in the music. For instance, using string to show the high and low points of the melody and its repetition or variation, creating graphs that describe an episode of the music by measure number or time, writing paragraphs, etc.

    An administrator observing this class had one positive comment about my “depth of knowledge” but completely disliked the course based on what she thought to be a lack of my ‘checking for knowledge’ and my lack of understanding the urban child. I realized that many of my students have little exposure to genres such as classical, jazz, folkloric or world music. Exposure and discourse are not always measurable, period. It would take years to understand what exposure means to a person. I know that in my life the books and music in my home, theater experiences of my youth, trips by car to other cities, etc. had an enormous effect on building my knowledge base and interests as an adult. No one ever tested me, “checked for understanding”.

    Regarding the notion that I don’t understand the urban child, I grew up in a working/middle class section of Brooklyn. My father worked in the garment center. Last time I checked it was urban. I raised two boys in New Bedford, MA. this is urban, right? The administrator in her attempt to convert me, handed me a book by Ruby Payne, a non-peered, self proclaimed expert on poverty and It was suggested that I teach “rap music”.

    I am reconsidering my career choice as a music teacher.
    Nancy

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