The dictionary says:
!. an idea, especially an abstract idea:
Most students have no concept of jazz, classical, or ethnic music, except for their use in motion pictures and other media, where they are mostly not aware of the music, because of all the dialogue and sound effects.
I don’t think there is a need in this article to cite all the studies that show how music is important in the nurturing of the brain and creative thinking in all areas. Those ideas are an accepted truth.
So where does someone get a music concept?
Generally, concept comes from family, school, and private teachers, environment, and from the student simply listening to something new without prejudice.
So concept then, can create prejudice. We are comfortable with what we know. Being confronted with new knowledge, feelings, and new experiences can be painful, as it may be in opposition to our normal concept.
Most people have never heard live instruments, a symphony, a jazz band, rock & roll, ethnic music or, in some instances, live music of any kind. The question then becomes how to present the importance of music to students and people of all ages. That takes time and effort.
Arranging to have live Music in the schools by presenting musical groups is a start. So is a school music program, if it happens to exist, what with today's limited school budgets. In the case of beginning students, time is spent on just getting a sound out of the instrument and little time is given to the idea of listening to develop a concept. All the better reason, of course, for having a private instructor right from the beginning, and music in the home.
The better the concept, the better the understanding of the available musical panorama.
It becomes the role of parents and teachers to improve their own concept of music, and play that music in the home, and during rest breaks at school, thereby enhancing the gestalt, the concept, the understanding, and enjoyment of the student.
Most youngsters listen to the music that is presented to them on pop music stations, and use that music as the basis for social interaction. At about the age of 20-25, when people start the time consuming duties of being an adult, they stop growing musically and hold on to the music of their youth for the rest of their lives. That becomes their “good” music. This usually limits what they can offer their offspring and is usually at odds to what the young person is listening to. This is repeated generation after generation.
Thankfully, and for the first time in the history of mankind, the current free media has every type of music one can imagine, if one wants to take advantage of giving different types of music a chance. My suggestion to parents, teachers, and even youngsters, is to tune in to radio and new streaming stations, and even music stations on television, and gently try for a few minutes, to listen to something that is new, just for the experience. If you find something you like, buy a CD and learn to live the music.
What is Good Music?
Defending “Good” music, or the music each of us has accepted as our own, is a dead end street. All music is “good”. Gaining more musical understanding may affect our listening preferences, as we become more sophisticated listeners, but that certainly does not negate our favorites from youth.
Concepts are so important because we use them daily. They are our Constant Filters. They include what we eat and how much, if we are basically happy people or not, how we perceive ourselves and others, our religion, or lack of same. Other concepts include our idea of honesty, use of money, treatment of others, and virtually every action we take. We justify them all for the sake of our concept.
Are your concepts based on some sort of truth or just something you have been told and chosen to believe? It is an important distinction for growth in our lives.
A murderer usually kills because he / she thinks that the other person deserves it for some reason, not because they consider themselves to be a bad person doing a bad deed. An extreme concept gone wrong. Then again, I assume your concept does not include murder.
It is important for each of us to examine all of our concepts from time to time, making sure that they are still valid and have not morphed into mistaken beliefs that we continue to hold.
As far as music, let’s all agree to try to expand our concepts. It's worth a few minutes a day, and may give us a little more understanding of ourselves and of the world.
Let’s discuss for a moment, you as a music student, or as a music teacher. After all, we are teachers and students all the time and with every action we take.
As a teacher, are you solely the product of your teacher? Are you passing on to your students only what your teacher taught you or adding concepts that you have learned through your own experiences?
As a student, are you playing on a mouthpiece, instrument, or reed that your teacher told you to use, even though it makes you uncomfortable? Does your teacher give you rigid concepts, or allow you to develop your own concepts, along with him/her. As a student, do you follow your teacher strictly, or do you use your own ideas to help develop your concept, and discuss these ideas with your teacher.
Your musical concept comes from listening, practicing, maturing, having a good instrument, reflection, environment, and many other factors. If one listens to only Dixieland music and practices only Dixieland music they become a Dixieland musician. So what happens if someone practices, Dixieland, Classical and Ethnic music?
We become what we do on a daily basis.
I was a dedicated student well into my early 30’s, and at one point, went to a new teacher who said to me, “you seem to have the same problems as I do, so why don’t you just take some political lessons from all the leading teachers around, and see if they can get you some work.” That most likely, was the best lesson I ever had, despite many years of great private instructors. I'd had a student’s concept!
He "fired" me as a student at a time when I would have only been a student for the rest of my life. He made me responsible for learning on my own and to base my studies on what I heard. Everyone I heard or came in contact with, became my teacher in some way.
Talk amongst your friends with your ideas on how to improve the concept of music in our schools, in our homes, and for ourselves. We might become better people because of it.