Music is a Weird Thing

Music is weird because even babies know that it is great. It is in our blood to sing and to dance. Music is used by all people in the world, too. Dinosaurs didn’t have it though, which is sad but makes it more special. What I would like to know is when did the first guy start making rhythm? It had to start with one guy and spread from there, as music methods are cultural. Did Neanderthal and Homo Habilis bang a drum? If a generation of humans went by with absolutely no music and all records and memory of music were lost, how long would it take for someone to figure out again that music exists? These are things I cannot know. I do know however, that primitive human cultures have music that is mainly rhythm; drums and shakers. Then after a while they might develop some sort of wind instrument like a wooden flute. Next in cultural advancement comes along stringed instruments; lute, zither, banjo, piano. As the culture advances from tribal to civilized so does the instrumentation of the people as well as any fine art, and the access to and privilege of using these instruments opens up. Individual humans work the same way. Infants can follow along to music, toddlers can make gross motor movements to bang a drum, and as they develop their ability to play finer and finer instruments comes too. Not too often would an adventurer discover an indigenous tribe with anything stringed. These were European and Asian inventions almost exclusively. Probably Homo Sapien’s tendency for war brought together music. War chants will fire any listener up and give rise to some ancient fighting chemicals that run with fire throughout the body. On the other hand, music might come from times of peace, as soothing music calms the mind and brings focus to the self and community. 

The problem I am seeing is that not enough people are exposed to music; it is not a large part of American culture. Yes, we have frequently changing eras of popular music like dixie, jazz, rock n’ roll, and pop, so in that sense music is still just as much a part of a culture than ever before. While more unique genres thrive, the culture is more of a listening than a producing one. I can’t say if it is worse, but I think that children are not exposed to enough music creation, which goes hand-in-hand with consumer culture. We are spoon fed music, rather than playing it. This seems like a non-problem at first glance, but the problem lies in that the person making music has the influence. They lead our minds in the morning on the way to work, and all day long. When so many people listen to 90% the same music, we all think the culture is what is said in that music. The writers are the ones who drive culture, just like the big media companies decide what content and what news the mass of people listen to. The false belief is that the music producers and the media are a reflection of the culture, but the truth is that the culture reflects their ideas based on what the media exposes them to. Popular music is good undeniably, which of course is fine. It was made to be that way. It is probably a good thing that we all know the same 100 songs word for word, because it brings together the people. So listening to other people’s music is very important, yes. But us Americans do not make a whole lot compared to the amount we listen to, as per usual. It is not hard to make music, folks. You just need to stomp your foot and slap your knee. I find that most people in my life have no clue how to find a beat and keep time, let alone sing a tune. Children need to be indoctrinated at a young age and kept with it. Children are really only exposed to making music in a few cases. Singing at church is one, and the other is from music class at their elementary school for an hour per week.  I will argue that in 3rd grade music is far more important than any academic subject. It is relaxing, it is fine motor building, and it is community strengthening. Music is an outlet for all emotions, which is something kids take a long time to figure out. Keep them pent up all day in a classroom learning math they don’t need, keeping quiet with their hands folded nicely, when even a 6 hour recess would do them far better than any classroom teacher could. One of the only practical skills a little kid can learn that will help them in the long run is to play music. Instead they get graded on how well they play with others and learn how to form a straight line and how to be quiet which they would figure out on their own regardless. It does no good. Music is the key to producing functioning, cooperating citizens in a tightly knit community. Us older degenerates might not be savable, but it is never too late to start pumping out children that can cope with their own feelings in a productive manner.