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My experience of music
My experience of musicPosted by Paul on June 23, 2023 at 8:17 pm
My life seems to be organised around music. I have worked in music as a professional and a teacher. All of the most important moments in my life have been guided by, imbued with and centred around music in some way. Perhaps we can all say that, I don’t know.
For me music is an enduring mystery but one I somehow ‘know’. I am deeply divided about the way music is treated in Western culture and horrified at how cultural commercialism wreaks havoc upon it, raising it status to high art, whilst failing to encourage its study in children; converting it to a ‘product’ with all the negative trappings that brings (reproducability, uniformity); treating musicians on the whole with utter disdain.
I believe one of the strongest contenders for the worst thing this brings is the concept of ‘Ownership’. Yes, of course I think that musicians should be paid for the work they do and should be credited appropriately but there is a very dark side to this seemingly innocent and just institution. I observe that it corrupts the very nature of this wondrous and magical influence on all of our lives.
Recently I wrote an email to a friend attempting to summarise my thoughts on this and I thought I would share this here. Please, I would be very interested to know how others think and feel about what I say here. (expletives edited) Thanks.
I’m on a bit of a musical pilgrimage which puts flesh on the bone of my experience going back to my earliest years: nothing you play is you. It doesn’t represent you nor is it yours, except in the smallest possible way that you happen to be there as it is happening. The opposite is much truer I feel: that the job is to fully hear the music, to be absorbed and enchanted, carried away, seduced by it and from there to respond as it suggests. ‘You’ actually have to get the f*ck out of the way.
When I think like this as I pick up the bass, the instrument teaches me, guides my hands, says, hey listen to this, isn’t this great? I’m like, yeah. Wow! But If I get all prideful, ‘practicey’ and up my own ar*e, I am alone, useless, clumsy, slow.
But in the other space, music is alive. If I have to practice something, it is being in this state of mind.
This is the only way I can explain how I can play music at all, because I don’t ‘write’ anything, you know? I actually ‘know’ next to nothing ‘about’ music. I know music though. Personally. My oldest, most trusted friend and deepest romantic relationship of my life.
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