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Does Music Create Change?

“Cultural ethics are the responsibilities that arise from our encounters with other people.” – Emmanuel Levina

There are many controversies surrounding the composition of music and its role in society. From country to city, the perspective and necessity for the advancement of music differs. There has been many a circumstance, where a student will be accredited, as a highly acclaimed young musician, during their school years; and thereafter be dissuaded, from pursuing music in a professional capacity. This misconception is based on the idea that music does not contribute to a sustainable society and living.

However, history is riddled with music. If we take care to notice, we will immediately realise that music has been at the foreground of almost all our awe- inspiring movements; ensuring that our beloved freedom, rights and value of living has been exponentially improved by music’s affiliation. The beginning of civilisation, as we know it, was due to a few intellectuals, who understood how music could help move a society to rebel against their government, such that democracy was founded.

In the 19th century, the greatest trade in the world was crippled by the songs (like Swing low, Sweet chariot” and “Go Down Moses) of a people who lived their lives as slaves. Sixties folk and rock music rallied people against the Vietnam war, whilst millions of South African’s took to the street to sing against Apartheid.

As a composer and songwriter, it is difficult to look at history and not see the thread music’s ability has had to immeasurably improve conditions. Every generation has had different obstacles to overcome, but I believe it is our responsibility to remember that our generation is “in-process” and that all the answers to our complaints are within reach. As a body, we all have different talents and uses that collaborate to ordain a greater initiative. My personal endeavour is to build a company that promotes the fact that music and the arts are powerful transformation tools. I hope to harness my talents to venture the attainment of our society’s improved living conditions, perspectives and the embarking of new adventures.

How do we bring about change? It is a fearsome thought that we would be able to try and succeed in implementing anything that could potentially affect other people positively. However, aren’t each of us privy to the normalities of our daily lives and do we not all get frustrated over the inconsistencies of our organisations and structures? We all know the needs, but the solutions evade us. Perhaps if we are better equipped, it will be easier to solve the problems that confront us. In belonging to our community, we also need to develop an awareness of how to respond and what that decision will entail. I believe that this principle guides my foremost thought when I compose. Eventually, I would like to have accumulated the skills and relationships; I need, in order so that I can respond to the economic and political climate around me. Endeavouring to write music to empathise and inspire. Through my company, Tune Roads, I hope to educate the South African community by illustrating how the art forms can be developed and used in today’s industry. Tune Roads will also be a platform where we can interchange the arts and develop a stronger correlation between arts, drama, music, dance and sport. For example, we could develop concert series where playwrights can work with a composer to write new materials for shows, and thereafter work with musicians, actors and dancers. This merger will be a uniting force, not only for the artist, but also for the community where the concerts take place in. This will: design a means in which, musicians, companies, employees, family members and citizens can correlate and exchange ideas and concepts.

Life is worth living when we discover that which keeps us ticking and motivated. It is often difficult to find out how we can represent that magic to the other people around us. Jeff Warren says that, “Revealing the diverse roles that music plays in the experience of encountering others.” Warren argues that musicians, researchers, and listeners should place ethical responsibility at the heart of musical practices. The way in which I represent the moments I encounter in my daily life, is by embedding those emotions in my music. By way of the harmony, style, lyrical content and melody. Pieces have the amazing power of reconnecting a listener to a time in which they were feeling a certain set of emotions. Thus my music is a collage/picture frame capturing the different times in my life. This is by far, the best means I have to remind myself of living in each moment and experiencing today, as if there’s never been another quite like it.

Diversity is key. Engaging is the platform for relationships to exist. These principals exist across all platforms of interest. However the language of art, coexists in all spheres. It communicates to every individual on a unique level. Thus I believe that I would love to learn to use my art to speak to a wide range of people. I believe this is possible through the connections I make with engineers and musicians. This would involve working in the studio-tracking as well as working in mixing sessions. Thereafter learning to co-ordinate the transfer of music to other musicians and public alike. This process will enable my music to speak to the intended audience. As Illustrated above, I will use compositional tools to continue and evolve the language of art and ensuring I correctly analyse what the listeners preferences are as well as what they would like to hear.

Like a tapestry, the artwork, society and our individualities need to cement and combine in order to achieve real provision. I highly believe, that art has the highest transformational power in today’s society and would like to use to that extent.

“The imagination is more important than the knowledge” – Albert Einstein