Here are a few hard questions, but I think they are questions that anyone who creates music today must face: Is music important? Why?
Does anyone care? Does it matter?
All of those questions point back to an underlying question, and we could take that question apart in many different ways. Music is everywhere now. That’s probably a good thing (and if it’s not, we better adapt because there’s no way that genie is going back in that bottle!) It is possible to be immersed in music from the moment you wake up to the moment you sleep, each and every day.
Of course, the downside is that if something is ever-present we take it for granted. It becomes commoditized… trivial.
Just looking at the last few generations, it seems that something is different. Though music is everywhere, there’s also a dreadful sameness to so much of it. Most of it will be forgotten in five years, and it’s hard to tease out quality from the marketing machine—the latest pop megastars don’t seem to shine that brightly. A giant slice of the listening population orients their experience around video game music, and American pop idioms are reflected back, with alterations, from around the globe.
More and more people are making music, but new tools have removed the need for any skill development—anyone can download software and be a “producer” from their laptop.
The way we make music has changed dramatically in the last few hundred years. No longer are we limited to wood, string, breath, and metal—electronic media has opened sonic possibilities that were inconceivable just a few generations ago.
In this world, is there a place for someone trying to make what we might call “concert music”? Is there any point in trying to create music that might connect with a listener, and might, in the best circumstances, move that person? Are dots written on a page, intended to be played by a human holding something made of wood and metal, hopelessly old fashioned?
Is there any point at all?
Whoever does not ask these questions probably hasn’t thought very deeply about the music scene today… perhaps they do not have the courage to face the depth of these questions… or perhaps they have the wisdom to leave some stones unturned and undisturbed?