When Did We Stop Enjoying Music?
The music scene is full of some of the most caring, compassionate, and intelligent people in the world. We have some of the largest organizational gatherings with experts in education, performance, industry…you name it! But let’s face it; you have either heard or been involved in one of the biggest pit-falls for a musician…
*Big Music Clinic Performing Ensemble Plays First Tune*
Audience Member #1– “Ugh, why would he program that!?”
Audience Member #2– “The ____ was out of tune”
Audience Member #3– “I don’t think they understand the harmonic shift at M.23"
Audience Member #4– “Do they even…”
When did this happen? When did we, as individuals, stop appreciating a good performance and become so critical? At the lowest level of our musical experience lives what should be the highest priority in our musical purpose: enjoyment. Maybe it is because a lot of us are on the side of education, and constantly find ourselves critical of our own ensemble’s performance. After all, we should always strive to improve the sound of our groups and those we work with but, when do you turn it off?
I would venture to bet that most large clinic ensembles are pretty top notch. Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to keep your opinions to yourself, but I do think it allows us to take a step back and enjoy what’s happening in front of us. These ensembles have worked extremely hard in order to entertain you.
I challenge you to let yourself be fully engaged with the aesthetic quality of the music you are listening to without being critical of the performance. Go to a concert and try not to judge the ensemble’s articulation, or intonation, or whatever pedagogic point bombards your brain with red sirens. It’s challenging for us as musicians to sit back and just enjoy the music; but I believe it is extremely important to our musical purpose. I spend my entire day being critical of other’s music. When I leave the office, the last thing I want to do is think about music for work. Instead, I make it a point to put my headphones on and jam out to my iPod.
Do yourself, and those around you, a favor the next time you’re in the audience and try to enjoy music for music’s sake. Find all the good you can and elevate the aesthetic quality of music to the highest level of your musical experience. You will appreciate it more!