I'm not a musician but love music. My husband plays guitar and I grew up in a household filled with music. (My father was a bass player and my brother followed in his footsteps.) I tried piano lessons but had a old, bumbling man who had halitosis and kept nodding off during my lessons. A budding musical prodigy, I was not.
But thankfully, I have ears. And I can follow the energy of the music, understand it to an extent, and appreciate it when it is shaped by talented hands. It is why I am disappointed when I see older adults flock to such mindless schlock such as pop ditties that have all the substance of cheese doodle. Here is a hilarious rendition of one of those pop songs by the delightful "Cavey" of the blog, "Lair of the Catholic Cavemen."
The Lost Art of Writing Poetry (ha!)
And if you were wondering about his thanks to Steve Allen, here is the original:
Music of excellence, of style and skill - makes you think. It makes you feel and lifts you above the norm. It isn't catering to the lowest denominator of human existence, which in my mind is an "entertain me" rather than a "challenge me." Challenging music (and really, this goes for any pursuit) will help you grow. And challenging music is entertaining. Sort of like having a delicious Orange Roughy fillet and knowing it's good for your body. Do you know the image I get when I hear some bland pop song that is running on three chords? The mobile that is hanging above a baby's crib. It's shiny, and pretty to look at but it just hangs there, moving around the air with no purpose. Of course it's a good thing to capture a baby's eyes and make her giggle. But that's about it. Thankfully babies grow and start to appreciate higher forms of entertainment such as crayons and a piece of paper. (One of my favorites!)
I have a collection of videos this morning to share. First are the ones by Bernstein. (mantilla nod to Joseph Susanka of Inside Catholic and his great post, "Bernstein Breaks Down Beethoven.")
For those who have a little more time, take a listen to one of my favorite TED talks. Benjamin Zander talking about music and passion, reminding us why we all really do love Classical music.
Finally, did you realize that the famous Lady Gaga really does have an amazing voice? Watch the video below. It struck me that she made a very conscience choice to switch from becoming a phenomenal pianist/singer to the pop star all the young kids love today. When I listened to her playing the piano (which held a few clunkers but still was pretty good), I was reminded of Diane Krall. Krall is of course, a very talented jazz pianist, but honed her voice together with her musicianship to create a dynamite performance. (Interesting that she wanted to "hide" her voice when she was trying to snag piano gigs early in her career. She wanted to play much more than sing.)
So here is Stefani Germanotta, before she became "Lady Gaga," with all the passion and energy of a hopeful young star.
Now that, was music to my ears.