When we speak of good music, two of the essential elements of what makes that music good are the intellectual content and validity of the music. Intellectual content isn’t always lyrical by the way. Some of the most profound statements have been made with instrumental music; just as a silent movie or art with no words can speak volumes, so to can music.

In some cases, artists and composers will combine art forms to convey meaning. But what matters is regard to intellectual content (“the “S” factor) and the validity music is what the music means, the value it represents, and what it speaks. If you missed my post on this or it has been a while, you may want to go back and read it.

When our “S” factor is shaped by what we value, there is a good chance that it will add value to the community offer something far more meaningful than music that is made solely for amusement sake. We should recognize, appreciate, and even share this kind of music: music with significant and important value.

When musicians make music that matters the result is beautiful, on multiple levels. I was encouraged recently when I came across this. Freedom in the Air is an excellent example of good music (in technical excellence and form/function of curse), but also in the intellectual content or “S” factor, and validity. This piece, shaped by a value that we at the academy share with Barry (justice), this piece clearly speaks a valid and significant message; that is good music on all four levels.

I had the blessing of playing with Barry Long at Berklee. He’s a genuine guy, and I am thankful for his contribution here. This is the kind of work we should celebrate and share, and learn from as to how we to can create work that is meant for more than amusement, but music that matters and makes a difference.

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