Music is a place

I’m always on the lookout for great ways to talk about music and the music education experience. I recently heard an interview with American composer Philip Glass on NPR’s Morning Edition. I learned that he spent a lot of time with the legendary Indian sitarist, and father of Nora Jones, Ravi Shankar in the 1960’s. This fueled his interest in learning about the rhythms that drive certain musical styles.

Toward the end of the interview, Arun Rath asked him about a question he once asked Ravi Shankar – Where does music really come from? His current response is that “Music is a place. As real as Chicago or New Delhi.”

Putting a Friends of Music lens over this statement puts into focus what I see as the biggest benefit of music education. As “a place,” it can be a starting point, a stop along the way of a journey, or a final destination. It can benefit a student – or any human being for that matter – in so many ways as they embark on their educational journey. It can certainly help them leave some place and help them along the way. Stimulating brain growth and enhancing neuroplasticity certainly helps everyone. When music is the “final destination,” all of the skills developed to achieve that goal are equally applicable to any other pursuit. Adding the performance element to that taps into the fundamentally human experience based upon the conveyance of emotion and feeling.

Whether your student, or you, are leaving a place or are heading to a new place on the horizon, music can get you there.