January 21, 2015
Music in the Community
Art commonly falls to the idea that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, however the innocence of this saying becomes barely apparent with the societal views of today. Whether it be paintings, poetry, or music, art can fall victim to the bandwagon effect. While opinions are part of any kind of art form, the persuasive pull they create can form a social construct on something that was made to be free of rules. Especially with music, an ego can appear superficially on what music should be respected and what music should be undermined. However, there are positive effects that come from opinions, like the spread of new ideas and music, which ultimately betters the industry. Yet it is the social pyramid we establish in music that can ultimately deter the music from being something purely for the individual. It can be thought of as another way, as humans, we can not escape conformity.
Primarily, I do not believe people shouldn’t hold opinions on music and should not share them. Instead I believe we should reflect on how we approach our opinions of music and be conscious of not letting others sway us or being close-minded to our own opinions. Since music is essential to culture and has, “important in formation, and remembrance, of a wide range of social movements” in society (Eyerman). Music is another form of communication and spreads ideas of humanity making it a very important concept of culture. Therefore by limiting our opinions on music, we are limiting our communication and freedom of speech only to fit in with our community. We must not take it for granted by letting society have a stronghold on making our opinions for us. To accept that having others decide what the opinions of music should be is not a form of culture and community, it should be thought of as a form of oppression since it deters our own form of expression. However, we do not need to make a complete stand against society, but we should be aware of especially when it comes to art that was not made to have only one viewpoint. There should be a respect for music, that has evolved humanity, that allows us to understand the importance of our own expression of it. It is the open mindedness music brings to our lives should be valued enough that we do not take for granted the freedom of expression. Music is too important to let society take hold of it and oppress the listener through a social construct that limits an art form.
With “1,264 genres of popular music”, it is actually quite an impressive feat that our society can have a collective idea on which music should and shouldn’t be listened too (Fitzpatrick). Yet, the problem arises when we allow our society to shape an opinion on something that was made to effect the individual. Using music, “tastes to function as markers of ‘class’ and allows a “socially recognized hierarchy of the arts” that “corresponds [to] a hierarchy of the consumers”, should be something we are trying to avoid (Bourdieu). With this “hierarchy” we absolve to society rather than enforcing our own personal preference. It causes the market to gain control by recognizing what “sells” in music and making the art become commercial. Yet, a person can still have a favorable opinion on what could be considered “commercial” music, the goal of the market is based on greed rather than passion. Not only can the consumer be negatively affected, but also the artist. With the pressure to please an audience that shares the same opinions an artist must find a pattern to appease everyone. This creates a sense of responsibility to the listener not to make “good” opinions but to not be afraid to think of a different opinion. At the same time opinions should be shared and not everyone will have a different opinion otherwise we fall back into consciously making our views on other’s point of view. We should want to form our own ideas rather than piggyback of the ideas of others. Music should not have to follow the unspoken rules of society, but roam free and explore the limitless possibilities of expression. Ultimately the distinctions we make on music should be made by our own view rather than blindly agreeing with society’s view.
To lead towards a goal of maintaining music as a personal experience rather than something dictated by what others believe is “good”, we must first realize the problem in ourselves. We should still be able to listen to different opinions, yet our ultimate opinion should come from our own thought since music is a paradoxal art that can be shared and taken personally. To continue an evolution of limitless expression we must spread it in our community and let an open mind be appreciated when it comes to music. By not being fixed in our opinions or changing others views we can show a respect for not only the art form but also the people around us and by not jumping on the bandwagon of what others listen too and not forming own own opinions we reveal a respect for our own though. Therefore, as individuals it becomes a self respect to listen to ourselves rather than a communal opinion when it comes to viewing art and appreciate it to it’s fullest extent.
Eyerman, Ron, and Andrew Jamison. Music and social movements: Mobilizing traditions in the twentieth century. Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard University Press, 1984.
Fitzpatrick, Rob. "From Charred Death to Deep Filthstep: The 1,264 Genres That Make Modern Music." The Guardian. Guardian News, 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.