Friday, March 24, 2006

rediscovering music

My dear friend Anthony the Monster (what a misleading name for a really sweet guy) left a comment on my recent post on Muzak and other back-ground sound that reminded me why I love what I'm studying so much. The beauty of ethnomusicology is that it is interdisciplinary, it is real world, and it involves interaction with people who are not ethnomusicologists. They teach us why music is important by showing us how they interact with it. It is so easy to forget from within the discipline why we are doing what we are doing, and to get caught up in the theory. It is easy to start taking the music we are supposed ot be studying for granted, and to stop learning about it as a result. I teach music students who are in love with what they do. Many of them had to struggle financially, and against family and social pressure, to study what they are studying. They can't afford to take music for granted. But at the same time, I study with people who are not musicians. I forget that what I take for granted, many of them are only discovering, and occasionally, in an anthropology or public culture class, I have the privelage of guiding them to these discoveries. The rest of the time, they guide me there. That really is exciting. Thank you, Anthony, for reminding me of that. You don't know what a difference that has made to me.

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