Why do we study music? (Please read 1st post)

For discussion of all general music topics, Favored Nations artists, Vai-related musicians and all other artists and bands.
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Henrique Henriques
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Why do we study music? (Please read 1st post)

#1 Post by Henrique Henriques » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:20 pm

For those who study music...

Why do you study music? What for?
A person goes to Medical school to take care of the ill. A person studies law to garantee someone's right, and to know how move through the burocratic maze that is the society. A person learns Physics, Math, Biology, whatever to discover the mysteries of the world that surrounds us.

Why in the HELL would someone study music and take it so damn serious?!

Your P.O.V. is welcome...

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#2 Post by DiMarzio » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:45 pm

To bring joy and laughter to all the kids when we can write crappy comercial pop songs for flashy popstars!

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#3 Post by PureVa| » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:21 pm

cause its fun? :roll:

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#4 Post by mi2tom » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:51 pm

cos I have to..... no nnot really cos I want to

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#5 Post by Gastric Sumo » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:12 pm

It's a bit of a joke to seriously have music as a career. But since we are going to waste so many precious hours of our short lives endulging in music, might as well learn it so at least you can waste your life more efficiently. :roll: I think the real goal is to have something that stays around long after we die, like Mozart or beethoven or Hendrix.

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More... Let's develop this topic

#6 Post by Henrique Henriques » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:44 pm

Interesting, but “main stream” will always change. And there is no need to actually be such a good musician for that kind of music. I find it sad and ironic that we learn loads of stuff, and never reach the absolute knowledge, just to play three chords. Besides entertaining others don’t seem to be the goal for hard work over the studies of the art it’s techniques and it’s social aesthetic. I don’t think Mozart and Beethoven and many others from those days (or Jimi) weren’t worried about been immortals…
I found myself with only one answer. Selfishness. We learn music for ourselves, and ourselves alone.
I don’t think what we do have social aesthetics in mind, neither are we really worried about political or social point of view. And saying that we have to express joy, or sorrow over some organized form of sound is extremely subjective. Which makes it even harder to figure out.

How can something so subjective as interpreting music be any reason to make music, or even listen to it?

Which brings another question. When can you say something is a work of art and when can we say that what has been created is totally industrialized? ‘Cause you know, the main characteristic of the industry is mass production.

Any more thoughts?

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#7 Post by Nikkoe » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:53 pm

Gastric Sumo wrote:It's a bit of a joke to seriously have music as a career. But since we are going to waste so many precious hours of our short lives endulging in music, might as well learn it so at least you can waste your life more efficiently. :roll: I think the real goal is to have something that stays around long after we die, like Mozart or beethoven or Hendrix.
I have to say I truly disagree with this! It's like saying all of the artists are stupid people. While some really are, it's not the truth...

The study of music is a study as serious as the study of litterature or visual arts. It's one of the greatest means of communication, as well as windows through the ages.

Beside, music is also related to medecine. Ever heard of musical therapy?

It's also a great way to relax. Or to make others relax, to appease them.

It's also a peaceful way to protest or to share our values in our lyrics.

Music is a powerful tool

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#8 Post by Henrique Henriques » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:26 pm

Nikkoe wrote:
Gastric Sumo wrote:It's a bit of a joke to seriously have music as a career. But since we are going to waste so many precious hours of our short lives endulging in music, might as well learn it so at least you can waste your life more efficiently. :roll: I think the real goal is to have something that stays around long after we die, like Mozart or beethoven or Hendrix.
Nikkoe wrote: I have to say I truly disagree with this! It's like saying all of the artists are stupid people. While some really are, it's not the truth...
Ok, don’t mean to be a prick (even if it seems that way), but you have to explain what is art and what do you consider to be art, to confirm that some art (or artists) is stupid and some isn’t.
Nikkoe wrote:
The study of music is a study as serious as the study of litterature or visual arts. It's one of the greatest means of communication, as well as windows through the ages.
And now you have to explain how music communicates. Especially when we are talking about deferent cultures and intercultural exchanges. And how is art (music) a window?
Nikkoe wrote:
Beside, music is also related to medecine. Ever heard of musical therapy?
Prove that to be true, and after you do so you have to argue why? Does music only have a real meaning as a medical resource? If so, why isn’t music taught to all doctors in med school? Or why is musical aesthetic taught? At least that should be taught, to explain why music works as a healing factor. And does music taste has anything to do with that, and how does it have to do with that (aesthetically speaking)
Nikkoe wrote: It's also a great way to relax. Or to make others relax, to appease them.

It's also a peaceful way to protest or to share our values in our lyrics.

Music is a powerful tool
Wasn’t Frank Zappa that said something in the likes of:
“There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we'd all love one another.

(Big Bad Bill should help me with this quote)

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#9 Post by Nikkoe » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:30 pm

This whole post is mainly dedicated to Gtdork's answer. I think this debate is turning out quite interesting, and it's nice to discover new opinions. However, here's what I think (with the help of some sources, of course, to help me out):

What are "The Arts?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art

So, in the most rudimentary terms, anything creation of mankind (visual arts, architecture, crafts, dance, drawing, music, etc...) is Art.

I didn't mean to say that Art could be stupid; all Art is Art. What I meant, is that, sometimes, the artist might misuse his Art and communicate -- for it is over all a tool of communication -- perverted or bad values.

How does music communicate?

Obviously, no one on Earth understands all the languages spoken in the world, but everyone can feel a beat and hear a melody. It's easy to tell from a sad song to a happy song. Beside, what about classical music? What about instrumental music, such as most of Mr. Vai's work? Without any lyrics, they still transmit feelings and emotions.

Let's take, for example, the track "Liberty." There is no lyrics (excluding the spoken part at the end), but what do you feel, what images do you see in your head as you listen to the track? You see men and women walking hand in hand, not caring of the colour of their skin, their gender, their age or anything; just being free of all prejudices or harm, living in a utopia we all wish to attain one day.

After all, THAT is what matters: the images you get in your head. Even though they might not be the same as the artist's, it will most likely always be similar.

How is music a window?

Well, I was speaking of a "window through the ages," meaning that the music of a specific time in mankind's history might help us understand their life, or events that happened, etc. For examples, old songs that have been passed on from generations to generations in Africa remind us that, moons and moons ago, humans used to utilize music as a mean to appease things they did not understand (storms, diseases, etc.). The future generations, though, might remember events such as wars and disasters, or injustices, that some artists might've decided to write about in his songs; take for example U2.

About music therapy...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musicotherapy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_medicine

Why don't they teach animal therapy in medecine schools as well? And all the other kinds of therapies? Or do they?

"Increasing numbers of medical colleges have begun offering courses in alternative medicine. For example, the University of Arizona College of Medicine offers a program in Integrative Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Weil which trains physicians in various branches of alternative medicine which "neither rejects conventional medicine, nor embraces alternative practices uncritically."

After all, it is what it is: alternative medecine. It's not the main solution, but it is a therapy that might work. Plan Bs have their importances. :P

About Frank Zappa's quote...

Of course, there are a lot of love songs, but, first of all, even these songs communicate feelings ("Rescue Me or Bury Me?"). Secondly, a lot of the artists writing love songs are people who know love sells, and care only for their money. A passionated artist, I believe, would care more about the message that is transmitted in his songs; do their reflet his beliefs? Do they send the right messages?

Not meaning to contradict a master's saying, but I believe you shouldn't generalize things. :wink:

***

Alright, I think I've answered all of your requests. I wait for your answer impatiently!

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#10 Post by Christophar » Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:29 pm

I learn it because I enjoy it. The more I know the cooler the songs I write seem to be. Its as simple as that.

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#11 Post by Gastric Sumo » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:22 am

Gastric Sumo wrote:It's a bit of a joke to seriously have music as a career. But since we are going to waste so many precious hours of our short lives endulging in music, might as well learn it so at least you can waste your life more efficiently. :roll: I think the real goal is to have something that stays around long after we die, like Mozart or beethoven or Hendrix.
I meant to say that it is a joke to try to make money in music as a career, although we can always dream.

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#12 Post by Big Bad Bill » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:55 am

I'd suggest that most of us 'learn music' in the same way we learn how to fly a glider or carve stone or oil paint! It's a personally rewarding hobby, a pastime, that gives us pleasure and a sense of well being. There are only a minority of people who really study music in the depth a person studies Medicine or Neuroscience so the comparison is facile.

The other main difference is that you can take a person of average intelligence (but with a great deal of perseverence!) and train them to be a Medic or a Neuroscientist over a decade or so, whereas not everybody has that certain 'something' that allows them to become a musician no matter how hard they practice or the facilities they have at their disposal. I think you'll find that those people who are successful in music had a unique talent or perspective before they began any formal study-if they ever did!

I'm sure there will be people here who say, "Hey, I'm as serious as my music as any Medical/Neuroscience/Fine art/Sports Science student." If that is the case, I look forward to seeing you supporting Steve in concert in a few years time or buying your CD in HMV, Sheffield!

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#13 Post by Arkka » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:53 am

If it weren't for the guitar playing I could be long gone. For me studying music is to help me get better at playing and writing. If I realize I play better or wrote a better riff that I did last week I'm satisfied for a while. Sometimes I manage to write stuff that really makes me feel good.

It's also about acceptance and pride. This sounds idiotic, but I feel that playing is the one thing I'm really good at. Or at least I will be someday. Of course that's a subjective thing.

So at least for me, the reasons to study music are selfish. But there's nothing wrong with selfishness of this kind.

I agree mostly with BBB, but I believe pretty much everybody with a great deal of perseverance can achieve to become a great musician. Of course that's a subjective concept too.

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#14 Post by Nikkoe » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:17 am

Mmm.

Everything I wrote here was considering "music as a life career," as in, studying music at University. I felt very touched by the subject because it's what I'm soon to go in, as a study program.

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#15 Post by Henrique Henriques » Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:38 am

On a personal note.

I brought the subject up, because as many of you already know, I'm a musician that's studying music in an university and trying to have a musical career. And through this search for knowledge I’ve noticed things go way beyond the all technical stuff (Theory, “Technique”).
My major is music education, so I’m studying to be a teacher and seeing music as social reason. The thing is, I’ve had some great teachers on my way, some of them have nothing to do with music (Theatrical arts, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, etc…) And lately I’ve been questioning why I do it. I have to have a reason for being a music teacher, or a musician at all. This goes way beyond than just the pleasure of listening to music. It involves social aesthetics, politics, industry, the question of what is art and what is culture.
With all I’ve seen so far, the only reason someone studies music it’s for their own pleasure, that’s it. We don’t have a social reason. A person could easily go a whole day without listening to a song. (It’s not my case but anyway).
As the hunger for knowledge expands, I don’t really see a reasoning for studying so hard, because, I strongly feel that no matter how hard I work it just isn’t enough. So I feel really unappreciated by myself, and society. Because if you think about it, in a way, you study so you can make challenging music, and you can feel good about that, and as music was first made a social reason it should have one, and people should appreciate it. But most people won’t care, because they just don’t know (the hard work you put up, and the hours… and what not). Listening is just listening.

Think about it for second. What is art? Is everything that uses the resource of art material a work of art? If that’s so, aren’t we diminishing the meaning of the word?

If I were to through a party and after it’s over, while I’m cleaning up, I stack 13 blue plastic chairs over 13 red plastic chairs. And someone walks in and say “That’s a work of art!!!” Is that necessarily so? Art has to have a meaning, and what would be the forces behind that meaning? (Remember, that person might see a meaning on those chairs that for you was just a stack of chairs....)
Nikkoe wrote: So, in the most rudimentary terms, anything creation of mankind (visual arts, architecture, crafts, dance, drawing, music, etc...) is Art.
You see, that sentence is really hard for me. Can we consider Britney Spears, a person that uses every resource as a musician uses an artist? For me, what she does is not art, probably can’t be considered art its more like an industrialized product made for the masses.
But the question comes up. Wasn’t many things made for the masses and by the masses considered works of art? Who and what determines what’s art? Is the elite group in society?
Nikkoe wrote:
How does music communicate?

Obviously, no one on Earth understands all the languages spoken in the world, but everyone can feel a beat and hear a melody. It's easy to tell from a sad song to a happy song. Beside, what about classical music? What about instrumental music, such as most of Mr. Vai's work? Without any lyrics, they still transmit feelings and emotions.

Let's take, for example, the track "Liberty." There is no lyrics (excluding the spoken part at the end), but what do you feel, what images do you see in your head as you listen to the track? You see men and women walking hand in hand, not caring of the colour of their skin, their gender, their age or anything; just being free of all prejudices or harm, living in a utopia we all wish to attain one day.
But you are thinking about the western society.
How about people with complete different cultures? Like the Indian and Eastern cultures that don’t have the same values or that are influence independent?

Take this warning for example.

Image

What comes to your mind?
What do these images mean to you?
Big Bad Bill wrote:
The other main difference is that you can take a person of average intelligence (but with a great deal of perseverence!) and train them to be a Medic or a Neuroscientist over a decade or so, whereas not everybody has that certain 'something' that allows them to become a musician no matter how hard they practice or the facilities they have at their disposal. I think you'll find that those people who are successful in music had a unique talent or perspective before they began any formal study-if they ever did!

Bill I never got to send you the questionnaire on intelligence because I didn’t have the time (and I had a pretty tight deadline to turn in the report). I’ve be reading about the subject. Have you any idea how discouraging that sounds? It’s like saying, hey dude, give it up you have nothing to offer. Maybe there is more than what seems on your words (even if based on scientific studies). Economical and social reasons perhaps? (I’m not claiming I have the answer, just questioning this, in a good way of course)


I’m gonna stop now. I’m loosing myself in my own thoughts. Don’t know if I made any sense but it’s still open for discussion.

Please be patient and try to reply me. Thanks.
Last edited by Henrique Henriques on Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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