Defending arts education funding: we’re doing it wrong

image credit: derrick86.deviantart.com

Oh, there’s good reasons for that. We’ve fallen into a trap, you see. The justification for funding education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is “it prepares our children to get a job in tomorrow’s economy.” And we don’t need justification for training doctors, lawyers, or financial gurus. Everybody nods their heads and says “oh yeah, we need those.”

This trap has two snares in it. Ones is the idea that people are typed by their profession. But consider humans about 10k-30k years ago: there was no such thing as “science” as a separate activity from just “being human.” There must have been some division of labor roles, sure, based in part on physiology and age. Men probably didn’t nurse babies, and the very old probably didn’t hunt. You ask the big person to carry the heavy thing. But apart from the tribal leader and maybe also a shaman-type, when it came to architecture or clothing, hunting or gathering—you did it, or you died. The professions weren’t siloed. To simplify, and adopt a bit of an idyllic view: people were just people.

The other snare is the idea that the sole (or primary) role of education is to prepare children to perform a job in the economy for about 50 years. We no longer make an investment in developing people to be fully human; that’s an extra-vocational activity, done by few and on a purely voluntary basis, largely on their own dime—a dime they earn from participating in the economy. Continue reading “Defending arts education funding: we’re doing it wrong”

The State of my Method

without-following-the-recipeMy last post about my Daily Song Project was over a year ago. I’ve become one of those bloggers. The kind that doesn’t keep up, that promises that they’ll try to blog more regularly…

Wait, no I haven’t. Such statements smack if disingenuity, when I see them on other blogs.

I’ll simply say: I haven’t had much to say. Not much meta-commentary to make that hasn’t fit within the songs themselves, the ones I still make every day—or in the comments about them I leave on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and Patreon.

Plus, life has been full of changes, and waxing poetic online has not been a priority. Moving, my day-job, enrolling in a Master’s program in Music, planning a career change, doing my daily songs, travelling to DC/Baltimore every month to co-lead circlesinging—these things have taken priority.

But today I steal a few minutes to write. Today’s song has given me something to discuss, and events from this past month have given me a context for it. Plus, it’s been so long since I’ve given you an update; you may be wondering how things are going, or whether they’re still going at all. Continue reading “The State of my Method”

The Dangers of Daily Practice

Yesterday was the first day that I’d repeated the previous day’s musical idea quite so closely.

I’ve repeated myself before. Sometimes intentionally, but just as often “by mistake” (let’s call it “without conscious intention” instead). Similar tempos, similar grooves, pretty close on the tone-center, same mode. Melodic motifs—now there’s a pitfall. I’m discovering that I’m going to my go-to melodic gestures quite a bit.

But two days in a row?

It gets worse. Continue reading “The Dangers of Daily Practice”

Process Evolution of the Daily Song Project

My Daily Song Project turns 0.4167 today. It feels like far too long since an update. People have asked: “what’s your process? how’s it going?” It’s high time I answer.

It’s going fine, thanks.

Heh, no, I’m not going to leave it at that. Read on for the gritty details. Continue reading “Process Evolution of the Daily Song Project”

A Modest Request of Major-Label Musicians

I recently experienced a few days of more concentrated pop-music exposure, and at the tail end of it I had a realization I found a little surprising. Subconsciously, I’ve been holding the music that makes it to places like the radio and the grocery-store background soundtrack to certain minimum standards.

Understand that I think of the Music Industry as being as much about music as agribusiness is about a nice meal. In the end, the music (or the meal) is what the end-user consumes, but the business of it is all about generating massive revenue from people’s need for the end-product. Not a good environment for fostering the production of the highest-quality food (neither music), but it’s here and it’s in our faces and we have to figure out what to do with it. (Topic for another day, perhaps.)

My point is, I don’t expect really profound music from the Music Industry. But it does have musicians in it. Instrumentalists (including singers), composers, arrangers. There’s somebody in the machine that’s responsible for producing the commodity on offer. Continue reading “A Modest Request of Major-Label Musicians”