It’s been a while…

I haven’t blogged in a while.

Self-reflection is a practice that is heavily stressed in Teacher’s College – to the point where its value is often depreciated.  Many complain.

But today was the second day in a row where I took time to listen to music for the sake of listening.  As a musician and music student teacher, I rarely make time to enjoy or use music as therapy (un-wind, relax, comfort) and I seem to forget how affective and wonderful it is to listen to music.

I have a forty-five minute subway ride back downtown from my teaching placement and its been refreshing to listen to Iron and Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days these past two days.  Soft guitar playing and relaxing melodies with the occasional heavier bluesy track, it has brought peace and calm to my busy and restless heart and mind.

Writing reflections on my day in this mood is a very effective use of my time.

Take some time to listen to what you need to.  Take some time to reflect.

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Not about Harry Potter

In reading, “Harry Potter and the Functions of Popular Culture,” none of the thoughts I came away with were about Harry Potter.

I was more absorbed in the primary reason for popular culture that Kidd isolated — capitalism.

Today, my roommate (a composer and fellow musician), asked me for my opinion on an introduction for something he was working on.  I knew he had been working on the soundtrack for a video game, so I was guessing it was for a specific map or level.  The synth had the slightest distortion, the timpani sounded awesome, the strings came in perfectly — I really liked it.

In finding out that this particular introduction was for a ‘CD-only promotion’, I had to let him know what was wrong.

The synths took too long to build, the timpani didn’t come in soon enough, the stings weren’t catchy enough.  I told him, “If you’re trying to sell me something, you’ve got 8 seconds, and you really only sold me two notes.”

A couple minutes later, I said to him from my room, “It’s too bad we have to write music to sell it.”  He agreed.

Popular music, as a manifestation of pop culture, has certainly generated norms, established boundaries, created rituals, produced innovation, and even led the way for social change — all components of social cohesion, a “necessary and healthy element[s] [of] modern society.”  Right?

For arguments’ sake:

Pop culture — ‘the man’ in his desire for prosperity, in this case, has set a standard for music: we won’t listen to something if it doesn’t catch our attention in 8 seconds.  It limits us…

Things that have the potential to be art, like most ‘things’ pop culture, aren’t necessary or healthy for a role in social cohesion.  Social cohesion in art is conformity.  Art flourishes in non-conformity: diversity.

Diversity is also healthy and necessary for social health, is it not?


An aside:

The music of heavy metal music is not a threat to children, nor rap music as a threat to society, nor even the medium of the music video as a framework that justifies rape and other forms of sexual violence.  It is the content.

Is it even logical to compare Durkheim’s argument for crime as a necessary and healthy element of society because of its function of social cohesion with popular culture?  I think crime threatens society in a much different way than popular culture.


Article: Harry Potter and the Functions of Popular Culture, Dustin Kidd, The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2007