Posted by on February 20, 2013

Female GuitaristsThe summer after my eighth grade year, my boyfriend introduced me to Led Zeppelin. I loved them. Of course, my parents had some concerns. But to me it was all about the guitar and screaming. Before that I’d mostly listened to Johnny Cash and Tanya Tucker. It was a whole new world. That was until my mom took me to an “Evils of Rock Music” lecture that scared me into the mellow arms of Amy Grant. 

I wonder what that guy giving the lecture would think about today’s music. Artist’s don’t even bother laying down tracks to play backwards to poison young hearts. They just come right out and say anything and everything. 

That’s freedom of speech. And although I’m not the biggest Kanye West fan, I can appreciate that he knows how to rhyme and can definitely tell a story. 

Music is art. And whether it’s some broken-hearted, revenge seeking pseudo-country singer or a geeky tenor crooning ballads, it puts something out into the world. I don’t really think most musicians set out to “teach”, but rather they paint life. Playing with legos, a love that lasts 10,000 years, or the desperate need for someone to stay–all those things create pictures, tell stories, and live in their own way. 

Woman Enjoying Her MP3 PlayerI like that. That’s what I do—tell stories. But I think we’re naïve if we think none of it affects us. It can. I’ve been down, put on some Rich Mullins and started to feel better. For practically a year, when I was in my little pit, I didn’t listen to music. . .except maybe some Eminem and the Fray. 

The other day, I listened to a new artist, and by the end of the album, I was feeling depressed. The poor guy had sung about his baby dying, his girl leaving him, and how he gets way too drunk a lot. Maybe it should’ve made me grateful for what I have, but my empathy was in overdrive, and I felt really bad for him. 

Music, like the stories we read, the TV we watch, and the pictures we look at, affects us. It puts something into us. We’re unwise to believe otherwise. All of it does something to our soul. Some of it enriches us, makes us see things, and takes us to the brink of deeper truths. And some of it takes truth from us, depletes us, and leaves us with more questions than insights.  Of course, some of it might just be entertaining and nothing more. . .

What do you think about music?   

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Cynthia Howerter
Cynthia Howerter
11 years ago

I’m very selective with the music I listen to. While I love to listen to classical music, especially the Baroque Period, I also love to some movie soundtracks that don’t contain vocals, and Christian music, both contemporary and traditional, as long as it’s well done. I only choose music that will lift me up because I don’t need to go to dark places. Well-written and thought-provoking article, Mary Beth.

11 years ago

Recently, I played a concert with Barber’s Adagio on the program, and later I found out about these two elderly gentlemen that were in the audience. When we started playing the piece, one of them teared up slightly and said to the other, “remember when they played this at FDR’s funeral?”
I think that’s crazy that I can work to play the piece beautifully and perfectly, yet I will never understand what it means to certain people.

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