Muse Power: How Recreational Music Making Heals Depression and Other Symptoms of Modern Culture (Chapter 4, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 4

"If the USA is any guide to what is happening in the rest of the industrialized world, more and more people do less and less music making for themselves year by year from around 1927 to the present." (17)

"We need to persuade our fellow artists and humanists that there is a critical loss of music making going on that is not 'natural' or 'inevitable' nor is it natural that just the 'talented' few are doing something and the 'untalented' many are applauding, as usual." (17)

"An article written in 2004, "The Unprecedented Decline of Music Education in California Public Schools" unveiled a 50 percent decline in the percentage of students in music education programs from 1999-2004, representing an actual student loss of over one-half million students. During this same period the total California public school student population increased by 5.8%. This decline is the largest of any academic subject area. "(27) As a society, we are taught that we "Go and see" music, that there is an "appropriate" place to "go and see" music (bars, nightclubs, etc.), and that we have to "Pay" to see people "Perform" or "Pay" to have lessons for the privilege of learning. The free sharing of information that happens in more traditional cultures with music, the passing on, generation to generation of rhythms, songs, dances and musical etiquette, just isn't prevalent in western culture. Music has seen a progression, over time, of commercial interests, again need and greed on the part of artists, and corporations, and the seemingly always present concept of the western mindset that everything has a price and can be bought and/or sold. Music and the arts have suffered tremendously from this way of being. It has shifted the consciousness of creativity from one of a playful exploratory child to a business man making deals for big bucks.

Prior to the 20th century, the concept of selling music wasn't really commonplace. One of the very first to consider music as a marketable commodity, was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. "In the mid-to-late 1700s, performers and composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began to seek commercial opportunities to market their music and performances to the general public." (5 Wikipedia /Dear Constanze The Guardian) Before that, in more traditional cultures, the Griots, bards, and musicians were cared for by their communities, as equals in the tribe doing their part to contribute. In Europe, up until the 1700's music was supported by patronage from the aristocracy, or the church, and so there was no need for artists to sell themselves; and so the concept of selling music had just not yet come to be.

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