Music has accompanied people from time immemorial. In ancient times, music was part of religious ritual; in the Middles Ages, the first polyphonic compositions were written to praise God, and from the Renaissance, the world has seen an enormous development of different music forms. Today, you can hear music everywhere, at a concert, at home and even in a supermarket. It is difficult to imagine what the world would be like if there were no music.
In this essay, I will examine this subject from the point of view of the professional musician and the music teacher, and to make the picture more complete, I will give my views. What, then, is music or how is this concept understood? If you ask a graduate of a conservatoire, or consult an encyclopaedia, you will know that music is the art of combining sounds into a unified whole, usually for an aesthetic purpose. This definition means that any piece of music has to be written by someone. For most of us, however, music is something we take for granted.
You can buy a CD for a tiny fraction of your salary, or using your computer, at the flick of a switch, you can get the latest hits for free. Therefore, it is no wonder that the status of music has diminished substantially in the last fifty years. Professional musicians – who, as usual in such cases, should earn fame and fortune – are fighting a losing battle with ever cheaper sound systems. For most of them, it is not easy to get an opportunity to play live, let alone to find a place in a classical orchestra.
Only few are lucky enough to make a career and big money; the rest end up as music teachers or have to retrain for jobs which will make them employable. As far as music teachers are concerned, whether retrained or otherwise, they cannot understand why so little emphasis is placed on aesthetic values in education today. They feel very disappointed as they see music giving way to mathematics and foreign languages. They claim that in the long run music can develop children’s creativity and imagination. Another benefit of musical skills, according to teachers, is making new friends.
Music, they add, is a universal language which bridges the gaps in human relationships. It is often said that people from opposing factions are on common ground when they play or talk about music. Having presented the views of professional musicians and music teachers, I want to offer my thoughts on the subject. I have attended a music school, and I have to say that those were very important years in the formation of my character, temperament and stamina. On many occasions, being dejected and dispirited, I tried to seek and then I found refuge in my music.
Also, through music, I have made a lot of friends and been to many places in the world. Last but not least, playing music is a good exercise for your brain and body and is more enjoyable than listening to it. The status of music would be raised if we made a concerted effort to give it due attention: music lessons as important as mathematics and languages, more financial support to professional musicians, less publicity surrounding the release of a new hit and more programmes about classical music.