Let me just get this out of the way…
No elephants were harmed in the creation of this blog. I am in no way affiliated with any known poachers or big game hunters, and I don’t know anything about jewelry of any kind. This blog has nothing to do with ivory at all, actually. So if you’re an angry PETA member looking for someone on the internet to harass, look elsewhere.
No, what I am is a musician and an educator. I have a very expensive piece of paper from an accredited university that says so, and right now there are 36 students who can vouch for me.
Musician and Educator. These seem like formal, businesslike words to attach to myself. On the surface, they only flatly spell out my occupation, and a person is more than just a job, right? I teach music. Big deal. Well, these words have a powerful, almost holy meaning to me. I see what I’m doing (really what we’re doing, as I must include the millions of fine arts teachers out there) as some of the most important work being done in the world right now.
Really. I mean it.
Music (and I really mean all art forms here; like I said, I’m a musician, so I’ll just rant about music) is a part of human nature. Yeah, it’s a cliche, but it’s true. Think about it: how has music aided mankind in it’s quest for survival? Has it lead to any significant breakthroughs in science, medicine, or industry? Has it persuaded governments to instate any meaningful laws or processes that have helped us to flourish as a society? Has it taught us to live in peace and acceptance of one another and brought an end to any conflicts or acts of violence?
In short: no. It has done none of these things. And yet it has also flourished and adapted and evolved and continues to evolve just as we have. It may not have been necessary to our survival, and yet it persisted throughout our existence, through every culture and religion. Why? I think part of the answer is simply that it’s a part of who we are. Musical breakthroughs happen every day, and while they may not bring about world peace or universal health care, they represent something woven deep within our essence. They contain all of our love, rage, jealousy, melancholy, and the whole spectrum of emotion.
But music is much more than just a vessel for emotion. Music is emotion. It is who we are. And we privileged few who teach it are its protectors, cultivators, and advocates. We are responsible for passing on mankind’s oldest and most sacred tradition, perhaps the only thing left that unifies us all.
I’m not naive; I don’t believe that if we all sit around a campfire and sing songs we will somehow stop the bloodshed in the Middle East, and I’ll spare you the tirade about making music a mandatory part of the public education system (for now). But I’ll leave you with this: musicians have already broken cultural barriers, developed new, effective forms of therapy, and held massive audiences of people in awe-struck silence. And I think we’ve just barely scratched the surface of what we can really do.