It would be incredibly easy for me to dismiss almost all of today’s popular music as a fad. I would call it “fad-pop” and I’d say that fat corporate bureaucrats and attach-carrying businessmen created it in a devious scheme to control the music industry.
Unfortunately, the current overwhelming deluge of “fad-pop” fails to offer any worthwhile artists, new art or real talent.
I hate criticizing any institution that brings so much entertainment and happiness to our great society ? however, all that this “fad-pop” seems to do is dumb down everything it touches. It would be even easier for me to point fingers at the artists themselves and dismiss them as corporate puppets. Is pop music even about music or art? What is the purpose of pop music or MTV?
Please don’t peg me as some kind of classical-music-listening hermit. I do listen to many types of music besides just classical and jazz. I was psyched to hear that Weezer is coming to Rochester next month and I enjoy listening to hip-hop with friends at parties or in the car.
I also can’t claim to be an expert in any kind of music ? I am just a concerned music lover.
In addition, I am not saying that there is no art in pop music. At any given point, you can turn on MTV and see artistic filmmaking, choreographed dance moves, music and poetry.
As my friend Nick always says, “sometimes bands do some really cool stuff musically, and they might not even realize it.”
However, I really don’t feel that the majority of blue-collared working-class America can differentiate any of those attributes.
For example, one of my co-workers told me last summer that she enjoyed classical music because it is relaxing.
This generalization frustrates me to no end. Although there is nothing wrong with relaxing to classical music, art has the power to do much more. It has done so much for me that I can’t help but desire to pass the gift along, in accordance with the motto of the Music Educators National Conference for this year ? “Music, pass it on!”
So what’s my point? I guess I’m trying to say that I don’t think “fad-pop” has to be useless. It could be a great thing.
When Eastman students arrive as freshmen, they are greeted by a very important lecture and pep-talk by James Undercofler, Eastman’s director and dean. He states, “whether you plan to be an educator or not, if you are pursuing any career involving music, you will teach.”
These words have never been more important. Before we worry about anything else, we need to figure out how to reclaim the airwaves and fill our orchestra halls, jazz clubs and recital halls in this new century.
This is not just a job for public school teachers ? this is a job for all musicians. We are in danger of ignoring a growing cultural gap that will continually divide us in terms of artistic expression, understanding and appreciation.
My music history teacher makes the same cringing face listening to Mandy Moore as my mom makes when she listens to George Crumb. There has to be a bridge between the two. The fact that pop music has already reached so many makes it the perfect vehicle for us to use.
I regret that I can’t offer any complete solutions to this problem at present, except that we should use already-existing vehicles for musical sharing like Eastman’s Music for All program. However, I think that my friend Nick is on the right track. We can analyze pop music and juxtapose it to the music that touches us ? maybe through this we will be able to share it with everyone else.
I don’t think that everybody has to like every type of music, but we need to bring our art to the masses. They aren’t going to make any effort to come to us when they have a bombshell like Britney.
Meyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.