I am very grateful for all the support that people have given me over the years, emotionally, and financially. I am regularly given great opportunities to play music with the wonderful musicians in Massachusetts and have grown deep roots to the area I love so much. I have made it a goal to promote music and arts within my own community in the hopes of building a culture that understands and embraces the deeper humanity that music can bring. There is something within the psyche which demands beauty, expression, and the existence of art for the sake of art. We musicians and artists tend to understand the need for arts within a community because we know the depth that they bring to us individually and societally.
The argument for the arts in education often comes down to a place of promoting the development of other skills and not directly to the art itself. The debate of why music is important often goes to a place of what it will help a student to accomplish outside of music. Learning an instrument will help students focus, develop more neural pathways, have better problem-solving skills, etcetera. These are all things that certainly will benefit students but it loses the fact that music is just important. I am not against defending music for its merits, after all, we must meet people with where they are with their own understanding of things. A person that has never been moved by music will not understand the importance of that feeling, and what it can bring to existence. It makes sense to explain the benefits of music in terms of what they value. A society that values wealth, competition, and financial success will rate everything against these aspects. There is a subtle blind spot within our collective unconscious which values all aspect of reality against a framework of what we have decided is important societally. I do not feel we collectively value music and art, so we must work to promote it against what society does value.
The American dream is based around the notion that financial success and material goods is what humanity must strive for to be happy and fulfilled. Owning a house, having a car, supporting a family are all the value systems that we have collectively agreed to be priorities. I certainly do not condemn these as individual dreams, or even that as a society we should not value them, but a society that places the material existence over the internal realm will never truly value that which cannot be quantified. Art cannot be quantified as it naturally exists, so we must relate it to things which can. Test scores, neural scans, bank accounts, are all things that art is related to show its quantifiable value.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow said that people strive toward a state of self-actualization, what a person can do, they must do. We strive towards a state of fulfillment, beyond the material needs of food shelter and safety. Music is a higher need within the human psyche. It is beyond the material needs of the individual or the society. When we are trying to fill out basic needs we may not have the privilege of music, we are too focused on where the next meal must come from, or when we will get the next paycheck. An individual or society that has the basic needs met will stive for deeper element of existence. Discontent surfaces when the deeper elements of existence are not realized. I feel we currently live in a society where our material needs are being met, yet we are societally discontent with the lack of depth to our experience. Many people still live in a state of “survival” even though all of their needs are met. We value everything against what it will bring to survival, and not what is worth surviving for. We have reached a point of survival being fairly easy, but many people have not discovered what they are surviving for.
The beauty of music is something at the height of human existence, it is something that does not bring survival, but is perhaps what our survival is for.
I could go on and on about the benefits of music as it related to a person’s personal development or quantifiable data, and I am happy to have those conversations, but it is not because I believe that is why anyone should play music. It does get more people interested in music though, so the ends justify the means. We must experience the deeper elements of what music can bring to our existence to understand it. The more people that experience beauty, the less we need to explain the benefits, but we are not at that place within society at this current time.
I teach and play music because I love it very deeply. It makes me very happy to share my passion with students and think that they will be sharing their passion with generations after I have been laid to rest. The passing of love for art from teacher to student is a very important cycle that must not be broken if we hope for a society that promotes individual and collective self-actualization. I would love to share my passion freely with nothing in exchange, but I have rent to pay, need gas for my car, and food for my belly. My basic needs must be met in order to share my perspective on the importance of music in itself.
I put a lot of time, energy, and love into this site, my performance, reed making and teaching. The information provided within this blog is provided for free because I feel it is important that everyone has access to it. There may be a time when I need to charge for sharing information, but for now, I am experimenting with putting everything out there and seeing what happens. I would not have been someone that could have purchased the information if it was not free and accessible, so I am doing my part to ensure everyone has the same access.
You can help me to bring content to readers, lessons to students, and performance to the community by supporting the blog with a financial donation. I am one person doing all aspects of web design, writing, and sharing ideas and perspective. The content is all original and based on my own experience as an oboist and reed maker. I have invested a lot financially into my own education and am happy to share what I have learned with others. What I share does come at a great personal cost to me. I live an incredibly modest lifestyle, but I am very happy with my life. I am very happy to be making a career as a musician, I am at a point where I cannot imagine a different path.
I have created this “support page” for those people that would like to help me with my goals, and the goals of this website. I would like to continue to bring high-quality content to my readers, and music to my community. Please feel free to show your support for what I do with a direct financial contribution, or by clicking on my amazon or sheet music plus links before making any regular purchases from either of those sites. Consider becoming a patron if you see the value in promoting my ideas, and have the means to support music within local communities. I have dedicated myself promoting music and the arts with my time, financial support, and energy already, you can help me.
The financial contributions you make are not a donation, but payment for what you may get from the content provided. It is payment for living in a society with individuals that share freely and want equal access to information. It is payment for individuals promoting a life beyond living just to exist. Thank you for reading. Happy oboe-ing.