The Importance of Music in Our Society

Art and music are basic human activities. Humankind can not really function without art and music. As humans we always strive to create things be they small or big. Also as humans we strive to create sound or get involved with sound in some way. People have always found meaning in music by playing, creating, listening to its emotions and to the challenges that it poses… Music, classical music in particular, has immense value for our society, whether it is known explicitly or not.It is however known worldwide that there is still a certain stigma that is attached to music by some people, it is not seen as a priority. Many people still believe for instance that classical music is for the rich, the old, or the educated. Even worse, the pretentiousness and elitism that some artists exhibit is amplified by television shows, commercials, plays, books, this distances musicians from society. While some of this stereotype may be near the truth, as with nearly any stereotype, it is not entirely true. Despite the influence that music has on society, the majority decide that music is not for them, simply because they believe it has no relevance. People need to believe that everyone can find enjoyment in music.The most common way one could involve himself or herself with music is by listening to or attending a concert. This is an experience that people can and do enjoy. It is also important because a concert venue creates a unique experience one can hardly find in any other place. Where else can one sit with other people and enjoy music in silence when there are no other distractions? There are so many things in music to which one can listen and bring attention. It is not only enjoyable but it stimulates and tickles the mind. One can call one’s attention to the melodies or to the themes, the harmony, the relaxing rhythms, the colour of the sounds, how the sounds are produced and how they all relate to each other, while trying to figure out how the composer contrived the piece. Classical music is not only pleasing to the ear and to the mind but it is also nurturing to the soul. It has been said that music has emotional value. Music affects one’s mood as it has many characteristics. Music in most cases makes people feel good and calm as well as evoking other emotional responses. It is the emotional response that draws most people to experience music. With classical music the listener has an array of options as to how to experience the music.Society at large can also experience music and can gain from it, in this case, music is usually experienced as a hobby. People play in community ensembles (orchestra, band, choir), take lessons, play, compose, and nearly do anything else a musician may do, while maintaining their regular lives. In general, to an amateur musician, music is important to him/her through enjoyment and through the thrill of playing or creating music and not having to commit the entire life to it. It is an important part of one’s life and fills a need or an urge to create music. Music can be a way of escape or a stress reliever as it can be for anyone.Through all levels of education music is extremely important. Students learn many important and necessary values for life as music challenges the mind. Learning to read music is learning a different language with abstract sonic meaning. One not only has to comprehend and decipher unique symbols on paper, one has to know how to execute them and execute them well. Those learning music also have to learn what sounds good and to develop a critical ear.With a critical ear, one knows how to practice, rehearse, analyze and to criticize a musicperformance. Also, performing music encompasses playing with others as well as alone which both necessitate certain skills. Also one can learn tremendously from studying/analyzing music, composing, reading about music, understanding the history of music and its association with historical and current trends, and knowing what to listen for in music.With all this, students of music, whether it be at the elementary, middle school, high school, at college level or studying alone, learn self discipline through study and practice. They develop technical motor skills, express themselves through sound and problem solving, cooperate and collaborate with others, ignite a creative mind, develop a critical mind that understands quality and taste, and most importantly understand that music has a lot to offer. Anyone who studies music learns some or all of these skills whether they know it or not. People who do not make a career in music but have studied it will take these skills and apply it elsewhere. Music is the only discipline in which obtaining varied skills is possible.It is a tragedy that in our society music is looked upon as an extra discipline that it is not essential to the function of our society and culture. It is usually regarded as a “fun” thing to do when one is not working and most people do not realize that one can experience and learn tremendous amount. It is up to us as artists and advocates of music to have people realize the importance of our discipline. With our society continually becoming more materialistic, superficial, quick to judge and with people not aware of its importance, it is possible that no one will be listening, no one will be watching, no one will be experiencing our art. People need to be shown the importance of our art and its value to them, especially those who have power to influence society. If society is shown the value of music, the arts will be better funded, better appreciated and will thrive even more.

Music graduates discover a new tempo; TERTIARY STUDY

TUNING in to what industry and professionals need in music graduates has been an evolutionary process. It used to be that a degree in music was more tailored for those who wanted to perform but today’s bachelor of music graduates are being tutored in all aspects of the industry including production, marketing, teaching, and of course performing…Previously musicians tended to gravitate towards the city, where they could continue to learn and grow as performers and teachers. But a new program at the University of New England in Armidale is hoping to keep their talented graduates in regional centres.The UNE’s bachelor of music is also geared towards producing a new breed of musicteachers after refining its curriculum to meet the demands of the education system.“The degree is focused on training teachers for regional schools,” says Andrew Alter, UNE’s convenor of musicstudies. “There has been a lack of music teachers in regional areas because generally, if you take a specialist music degree say at the Sydney Conservatorium, those graduates usually want to move into a musical career associated with urban type things.“A hot-shot performer for example doesn’t really go to a regional area because the opportunities are not there and music teachers have in the past generally gravitated towards the city as well.”Alter says the UNE bachelor of music includes subjects such as performance, composition and musicology, as well as allowing students to specialise in their instrument, as other standard music degrees do. And there’s the chance to do a graduate diploma in education.Just as importantly, students are encouraged to participate in the rich musical community in Armidale.Australian National University’s three-year bachelor of music offers study of all orchestral instruments, as well as keyboard and voice, and now also has opened up more subjects in the area of world music, including folk and jazz.About three years ago the university also decided to create a combined degree linking music students to other faculties including law, commerce and even Asian studies.“Students can now link their music with a more academic or industry related course,” says ANU head of music John Luxton.“Even with the straight music degree they can move into a variety of things like recording engineering, program writing, producing for the ABC, instrumental teaching or complete a diploma of education and do classroom teaching.The Australian Institute of Music in Sydney has seen a number of highly successful performers and musicians come through its doors. The private college has undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, with a strong emphasis on practical experience.The institute’s bachelor of music course is designed to prepare graduates for a career in the music industry or to continue studies.“Students study contemporary performance, classical performance, music theatre, arts management and composition and music production,” says AIM recruiting officer Louise Wilson.“There is also music producing, arranging, composing and work with digital music software programs.”The college is also offering a master of arts management in conjunction with the Sydney Opera House.Students apply directly to AIM and Wilson says performance based subjects require an audition.After working as a music teacher and studying for a degree in music, Sarah Christopher knew most graduates were just not hitting the right note when it came to teaching.As a member of the Music Teachers’ Association in Armidale and a student in bachelor of music at the University of New England, she had first-hand experience about what was needed to be able to teach more effectively.“Graduates were lacking skills for classroom teaching when they finished,” says Christopher, who graduated last year. With her own experience as a private tutor, Christopher offered to help restructure the degree, which is now geared to producemusic teachers for high schools around Australia.