Thursday, August 31, 2023

Why Music Matters

After my short TV interview last week, I had another short radio interview in which I was challenged to describe why music education is important in 30 seconds or so. Kind of like John Coltrane being given just 8 bars of music to express everything he has to say in his solo. I did what I could and the feedback from fellow music teachers has been positive. But with a little bit more lead time as to the question, I could have written something out that would have been a bit more articulate. Though truth be told, probably too dense for the audience’s expectation of a casual sound-byte. Nevertheless, it might have gone something like this:


Why does music matter? Amongst a thousand reasons, here are a few:


• When wholly attentive and immersed in music, the chaos of the world is brought into a comprehensible clarity. Musical forms sing of a world that makes sense and gives us a moment’s release from the confusion and commotion and messy unruliness that is much of our daily life. They unscramble the mind’s jumble and bring it into an intelligible lucidity.


• Musical rhythms enervate our muscles and invite them into the ordered response of foot taps, finger snaps, hand claps and dance moves. 


• Musical melodies soothe our nervous systems and vibrate the inner strings that create the inner motions that evoke e-motion. 


• Musical harmonies create the tensions and releases that tell the stories we are built to hear. 


• All of it together spins out threads of connection— with our fellow players, with a listening audience, with the ancestors who played, sang and dance the same or similar music, with the descendants who will continue to play it, with the full measure of our whole self- yearning to say that which is unsayable in the only language that comes close. And at the end of all these threads of connection woven together is that rare and beautiful garment we call Community. 


If you haven’t yet heard the interview or seen the TV news clip, here they are. Enjoy!


• Radio interview:


• T.V. interview:


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