The changing landscape of music and education

images-1I spent the first semester of my junior year in college in London.  It was an incredible experience.  It was the first time I had been outside of the US.  It began my life long obsession with travel and that includes traveling in my own home town.  I made it a point to spend one day a week exploring new neighborhoods and going to a new museum.  It opened my eyes to the world.

The other thing to note that back then music traveled slower.  What was the latest and greatest that semester became the latest and greatest the semester I returned to Boston.  There was a delay of about six months in jumping over the Atlantic.  Now of course there is zero delay.  You can find and listen to music from all over the globe on Soundcloud and other music sites.  Technology has given musicians a platform to share their sounds with the world without having to land a deal with a record label.  Their audience might be huge or small and community can be built around that.

One thing that I was always fascinated by while I lived in England was how the country bred so many musicians.  Was is because of the education system?  I always thought it had to do with the youths reaction to the economy.  Britain’s first king was back in 924.  So the history is long.  At one point Britain ruled the world with their fingers in colonies throughout the globe.  Art comes from within but no doubt art can be reactionary to ones surroundings.

I happened to see this channel on NPR that highlights Americans from across the country playing their own music.  I doubt that there is anything on there that will go mainstream (although Death Cab for Cutie has a piece on there) but it is worth noting the surge of creativity happening across the US in music.  I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with the curriculum being taught in our public schools but a reaction to the world around us.

We are seeing a lot of creativity this days from music, food, art and companies being built.  It is a combo of open platforms of technology to built on and the mortgage downfall in 2008.  Whatever the reason, it is something I have been thinking about.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Mario Cantin

    Technology is such an enabler for musicians in so many ways.Beyond social media and platforms such as SoundCloud for dissemination, software makes it possible to do away with the traditional studio, and that is a huge deal.I’ve been playing music since I was 15 but when I was in my 20’s or so it would cost $10,000 at least to get a demo CD done in a modest studio — not realistic for many people.In 2001, I started on the path of learning to become a self-taught sound engineer to the point that I can now record, mix and produce albums with good results in my home studio — and this is simply a hobby at this point; so the barriers to entry have absolutely been reduced.It still takes talent though 🙂

  2. awaldstein

    I don’t believe that the web makes things easier.I do strongly believe that it makes the impossible possible.That to me is the catalyst for the innovation of our era.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it makes the impossible possible. love that

    2. Mario Cantin

      As you’ve once said to me in reply to one of my Disqus comments a few months back, “You’ve said it better than I did” :-)That’s a great observation indeed.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      There is a sense in which the Internet opens up the playing field, and to some extent levels it.Definitely provides a platform for expression, for commerce, etc., to those who might not otherwise have access, or not as feasibly.”Makes the impossible possible. ” Yep!

    4. Matt Kruza

      Making the impossible, possible is true mainly and a cool thought. but important to challenge false statements, lest we get the wrong ideas about reality. It isn’t easier to send to a 30 second video recorded on your web browser to a friend / business contact than it would be 1980’s style to have a massive shoulder video camera (after going down to the store to get new tapes), then package up the tape, put in the mail (maybe having to drive down to post office to get a big enough pakckge for the tape) and then wait 3-14 days for them to recieve? You may challenge and say that this is making the “impossible”, possible, but no, what it really is doing is making sharing video information insanely easier / cheaper/ more efficient.

  3. Jeff Jones

    The challenge now is there is so much great music available through Spotify, Pandora, Soundcloud, YouTube, Apple Music etc. that it makes discovery a challenge. I’ve found that listening to KCRW out of Los Angeles and following curated playlists on Spotify yields the best results for me. How about you?

  4. Etienne Fiset

    For years I thought the Brits were exceptional at music simply because they wanted to escape the bad weather… your economical hypothesis makes much more sense : )Speaking of making the impossible possible, as we get surrounded by more and more music, I wonder if the future of the industry wouldn’t be to have musicians being fans of other musicians and not having to go mainstream at all to “live from their art”.Sort of a self-sustainable system that doesn’t really need anybody else to survive.The irony is I am not sure there are enough bands yet to support this. The channels are there, though.

    1. Gotham Gal

      the channels are definitely there

  5. rebeccastees

    In the news……..” (July 16, 2015)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is deeply pleased with this afternoon’s development that the United States Senate has passed its bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), by a final vote count of 81 to 17. The Senate’s action today is an important step forward in ensuring that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status—experience the demonstrable positive impact that music education has on learning and life.”via

    1. Gotham Gal

      That’s fantastic. Finally something worthy comes out of congress towards education.

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