My new friend Andrew Gibson of Freedom Arts Education Center recently asked me some thought provoking questions that I had never really sat down and thought about before. I am thankful for Andrew’s questions (he had several), and I appreciate the purpose behind his thesis. So here’s one that I thought important to address for everyone, not just musicians and musician-educators.
“Is music actually a necessary part of human existence and reality?”
Let me first suggest that music is not a human thing to begin with. For those who believe that humans exist because a Creator created us, it is a necessary conclusion that all creativity has come from Him as the source. To that end, music flows out of human existence and reality as it is woven into who we are—creative beings made in the image of a creative God. Human history demonstrates this extensively. Because we are creative and expressive creatures, we often express ourselves through the arts. Music seems to be one of the most common and natural expressions of the human existence. Just as religion is everywhere as a natural human response, so is music. On some level, music is both transcendent and innate. Music begins beyond us and we have been created with the innate ability to recognize and at least on some level, create music.
Human history is filled with examples of people creating Essentials as Extra-curricular? to tell stories, to express and provide vehicles for their grief, sorrow, and celebration, and as a creative expression of their existence and the world around them— and we should embrace and learn from this rich history.
This fascinates me as an educator and a musician. It is incredibly freeing to know, but on another level, understanding music as a necessary part of our existence leaves me concerned for our communities, for our children, and for the world. Why? Because in many ways music education has become something extra-curricular or something exclusive to those who can afford it, as if it weren’t a necessary part of human and community existence.
We begin teaching language at a young age, and continue all the way through high school and college, because without it how could we survive? My fear is that with most modern music carrying less and less meaning and significance, being more and more amusement and commodity focused, music education has been relegated to something extra; something for those that want and can afford to do music. But with something so necessary a part of our existence as music, shouldn’t education be made available to all who yearn to understand It and better express their existence through it? I think so, and I hope to see more musician-educators, more community organizations, more businesses, and more people and music lovers seeking to do something about it.