Recently, I’ve been inspired. The main reason for the inspiration is a concert that I’ll be performing in this upcoming weekend. All the proceeds will be going to a charity called Central Asia Institute, providing education to kids in Central Asia. I didn’t come up with idea to do this, merely agreed to it. Albeit, I wish I’d decided this myself, for the plan of playing music to raise money for a good cause feels so right! Much more than making a few bucks. I mean, I’ve done benefit concerts before but never have I gotten quite this excited about it. Maybe it’s because I’m older than last time I did a show like this. I don’t know. But more important than helping children in need, the concert inspired me to write this post!
If you haven’t heard the title of this post, you probably have been living under a rock your whole life, somehow got a hold of your first computer and were navigated to this site by mysterious circumstances. But just in case this is true, “All You Need Is Love” is a song by the Beatles released on their 1967 album, Magical Mystery Tour. The song has been hugely popular since the day it came out. Type it in on google, you get 362 million hits. However, even though I’ve heard the song many times, its message is more effective each time it enters the surrounding airwaves.
This, to me, is the ultimate use of music. It uses the medium to spread an unbelievably simple message in a way that is infinitely more powerful than speaking the words. Too often, music (and all art) is viewed as a form of expression in a very personal sense. In the pop world, this is where songwriter A writes a song about his/her troubled life only seeking sympathy and personal attention. In the classical world, this is where composer B writes an avant-garde piece simply for the sake of being weird or potentially one-upping his/her fellow haughty academics. If you write music only to make yourself happy, with no intention of reaching other people, sharing your thoughts on the human condition, or inspiring change, you shouldn't write it at all.
If I had a dollar for every minute I weighed art versus entertainment in reference to music, I would be a rich man. Is it more important to be enjoyable or meaningful? And what is my answer, after all these hours of thought? Umm…both. Sorry, even though it’s a yes or no question, that’s all I got.
It’s just about impossible to name the one thing that makes music good or not but I know for a fact that it won’t work if it isn’t honest. As I continue on and pursue a career, likely in music, the dream above all is to be successful by improving other people’s lives with music. The old cliché is that the pen is mightier than the sword but the piano is mightier than both. And using the pen to write about the piano is pretty mighty too!
*Last week's subheading was from Steely Dan's "Night By Night"