Music as a religion?

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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby BenG » Sun Feb 11, 2001 7:11 pm

If classical music is indeed a 'religion' then we need to do a better job of prosyletizing it--particulary to young people. (Leonard Bernstein was great at this sort of teaching). My 11 year-old son has played the violin for a year now and he's gotten quite good. He is now practicing for a district-wide honor orchestra here and naturally he likes classical music. But I know there will come a time when his peers will point out to him that such music is uncool, 'nerdy' or for sissies. This is what happened to my niece. Her friends made fun of her and she soon gave up playing for the school orchestra. We all know how vulnerable kids are to peer pressure at that age and how mean and cruel their classmates can be...mostly because of their own fear and insecurity due to lack of identity. I remember taking a music appreciation course in college down in Texas and some of the more 'rednecked' male students would actually plug their ears at times out off fear that they might somehow get infected with music they (for some reason) thought was not 'manly.' I was amazed.<P>I'm ready to help my son realize that it might be up to him to stand up for the sublime things in life and that it is indeed 'cool' to pursue music that is more noble. I've already explained to him what a hero Beethoven was to keep composing despite his deafness. True, not all composers were saints (like Wagner for example), but their music can lead to devine inspiration. We need to teach our kids...otherwise they will continue to be pressured into listening to coarse and vulgar music that lacks depth (like rap) for decades to come. As parents who like classical music, we all must teach our kids about the 'true' religion. Image<p>[This message has been edited by BenG (edited 02-11-2001).]
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby ~Leslie » Sun Feb 11, 2001 8:48 pm

You go, Ben! My boy is now fourteen.(tommorrow) He has been exposed to every salient type of music imaginable since he was in utero. <P>He can tell the difference between Beethoven & Mozart after only hearing a few bars, as well as sing the various dances of the Nutcracker note for note.<P>It is from him that I coined the expression "Beethoven Rules!" in another forum. <P>He studied sax for two years and played in the junior high school band under an inspiring teacher. <P>Alas, he has hit that age where MTV (empty TV) and VH-1, and peer pressure have taken their toll. <P>The good news is that I believe it's as temporary as the fleeting fame experienced by most of these "entertainers". (I refuse to call them musicians,.... they're not)I have yet to find myself censoring his music, as some parents do, but I still remain in control of the volume level when I'm within earshot.~
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby BenG » Sun Feb 11, 2001 9:50 pm

Leslie, that's a good point. Teenagers go through a lot of phases--like the moon. It might be best to avoid eclipsing them Image. I also like your point about pop music (or whatever they're calling it these days) being more about entertainment and less about music.
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby treebeau » Mon Feb 12, 2001 10:50 am

Ben,<P> I played violin in my youth, and I was indeed mocked and taunted by my peers. I decided to ignore the mocking and taunting and it eventually went away.<P> Only recently did I read a passage in a book called "Don't Shoot The Dog" by Karen Pryor that dealt with this kind of behavior. She calls it "extinction." Don't pay any attention (good or bad) to the undesired behavior, and it will likely become extinct. She talks specifically about whiny kids. The whining is intended to get a reaction. If there is no reaction it will go away.<P> Talk to your son about it and let him know that all he has to do is be tough skinned for awhile about whatever his peers say. It will stop if it doesn't appear to bother him.<P>Regards,<BR>Tim B.<BR>
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby shostakovich » Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:57 pm

My Music as Religion quickly prompted music IN religion. In that vein I just remembered a Far Side cartoon in 2 panels. In one panel God is greeting a newcomer. In the other, the Devil is greeting one. The captions are: "Welcome to Heaven. Here's your harp", and "Welcome to Hell. Here's your accordion".<P>That takes me to a story about (the real) Shostakovich and the accordion. I tried to confirm this from the book, Testimony, where I believe I read it. Couldn't find it. So this is from memory. During the war years, Shostakovich insisted on enlisting. But the Soviet authorities regarded him far to valuable for the front lines. Consequently he was assigned a military band to work with. For some reason the army could only provide them with accordions. Being a good soldier he arranged music for an accordion band. After his service, he confessed that he would love to become culture minister just long enough to destroy all accordions in the Soviet Union.<BR>Shos
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby serge urtizberea » Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:38 am

Cute. Once again, Shos, you entertain us all with your anecdotes. Oh, to be able to sit around a bonfire, beer in hand, and listen to all the stories you could tell. Well, I suppose we'll do our best to extract them here over the net!<P>If we lament the lack of exposure of c.m., we must also consider what life would be like if c.m. were much more popular than it is now. Culture would be far different. The idea of going to the bar, or having a party on grad night, or cranking the car stereo would be far different, perhaps impossible. The standards for c.m. would change if it were going to attract a wide audience. Most of all, I think "overpopularization" of c.m. would remove the cachet that exists for its devoted listeners. No longer could we claim it was more artistic than the mainstream because it would be the mainstream. Of course, I'm imagining all this from a POV where pop music already existed but somehow was overtaken by c.m. If p.m. never evolved in the first place, I couldn't begin to imagine how the world would be.<P>The truth is that I enjoy the 'popular' part of p.m. It is in its own way good to be able to groove to what clicks with your demographic, especially if its designed to make you feel, I don't know, "involved". Of course, it's music that I can only swallow in small doses. No matter how much I can feel the pain/empathy in that signature song of the 2000 grad class, Graduation, it doesn't match the same sorrow felt in a sombre Schubert lieder. In the end, for me, c.m. is the yardstick which all else gets measured up against (and falls short), and I kind of enjoy its limited appeal. It makes me (and makes us) "gifted", in a way.
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby shostakovich » Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:03 am

Hi Serge. The idea of sitting around a campfire shooting the bull has much appeal. Though we're too far apart for that, we are living in a time where we can sit around a keyboard and do it. If I have more stories than most, it's because I've been listening and reading longer than most. I enjoy your contributions. The recent one about overtures was a good starter. Take care.<BR>Shos
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby audiogirl » Wed Feb 21, 2001 3:04 pm

Hi, folks. I'm new around here. I love this topic, primarily because I have difficulty separating my religion from my love of the music that is performed in church services. I am a vocalist, therefore, I count the voice as an instrument. I think Charlotte Church is a gift from God. Anyway, I am particularly fond of my religion because my church is all about vocal music-sans other instruments. (PLEASE don't take this to mean that I'm saying that churches that have musical instruments are wrong.)One of the reasons I refuse to switches religious denominations is that the particular type of music in our services is very moving to me. Many of our congregation pay great attention to vocal harmony and dynamics-----it's taken pretty seriously. This brings me to what Shos was saying-------I think the parallel between religion and music is that we do find ourselves trying to convert others, and like religion, musical preference is largely a matter of what you're used to, what you're comfortable with, and what moves you emotionally.....I'm sorry about all the split infinitives. Hey, it's all about that right brain, where your emotions live. (It does scare me, I have to admit, that people are moved by some of the music that's out there. You guys would not believe what is considered appropriate wedding music in my part of the world.) It cannot be a coincidence that music is a right-brain function---people listen to music for some kind of emotional payoff, and like it or not, musical and religious taste depends a lot on your background and the environment in which you have lived. <BR> On a lighter note, I have a story that will encourage many of you. A lady at my workplace is going back to college, and I helped her write a paper on Handel for her music appreciation class. I was pleased when she did well on her paper, but I was even more pleased one day when she said, "You know, I have never considered myself a fan of that type of music, but after taking this class, I find that it relaxes me." Score one for the geeks of the world. The dogs may bark, but the caravan of classical music will pass on, I hope.<BR>I look forward to reading more messages.<BR>---audiogirl
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Re: Music as a religion?

Postby shostakovich » Wed Feb 21, 2001 10:44 pm

Hi Audiogirl. Welcome to the bulletin board. It's a great place. Glad you found us.<BR>Shos
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