Ashley Garofalo  

Vision 2020: The Future of Music

Ashley Garofalo
October 3, 2019

Editor's Abstract (Click to Hide)

This "article" is a series of 3 papers written by students in an Entrepreneurship in Music course. The topic of the paper is "Music in 2020." In other words, where do you think music will be in 2020? What will be new? How will the musical landscape have changed and evolved, and how should we prepare for that now? The three authors all express unique ideas and perspectives on the future of music. I suppose none of us know with certainty what the future will hold, but with innovative thinking and careful planning, perhaps we can influence that future just a little bit!

- Stephen Danyew

Vision 2020: The Future of Music

Music. It is difficult to find a place where music does not exist in some form. From car radios to television commercials, restaurants to shopping destinations, elevators to airplanes; music plays an active role in today’s society. While certainly styles and preferences have changed through the years, the over-arching category of “music” has remained relevant by changing with the times. Will this change in the next decade? Will certain genres of music become obsolete or out-dated in favor of other, newer styles? Will music become more individualized, voiding the opportunity for collaboration and social interaction? Will particular types of music be reserved for a focused group of individuals? These questions and more are the focus as I seek to address the issues music may face in the next decade.

In the realm of classical music, technology has made great strides. The development of the digital piano (will this grow to be more popular and commonplace than the acoustic piano?), score digitization, online streaming of classical works, and even a USB pedal page-turner. However, technology is often the vehicle for remote and isolated forms of communication. With its influence, music has become portable and personable with digital music files, ipods, all-in-one cell phones, transportable televisions, and other devices. Some say these are all positives; however, the effect is that music often blends into the background of daily activity. Are those who walk down the street with earbuds in their ears actively listening to the music streaming through their ipod or does it catch their attention only once in a while? Similarly, the dialogue element of conversation – listening, responding, and full engagement is lacking for many students due to limited understanding and experience. Online dialogue and texting are quite different than face-to-face interactions, as the former often permit multi-tasking: multiple conversations with different people occurring simultaneously. Can you imagine this in person? The type of listening and interaction that take place in a private piano lesson is quite different than what students experience in the world of technology. As I sit down with 7th grader, Ben, I realize this has become the norm. “Listen to me play this phrase and then repeat it back to me,” I explain. After one measure, Ben jumps in to repeat. “Be sure you listen to the whole phrase first before repeating it, okay?” I clarify. The situation repeats itself. Why is listening – true listening – such a difficult task for students today?

Music is a language. In centuries past, it was a common language spoken not only by performers and composers but by the audience, many of whom were amateur musicians. Concert attendance was comprised of knowledgeable enthusiasts who understood what was happening onstage. Today, that luxury is limited to a small percentage of our society. Concert attendees nowadays are often in it more for the social experience because they cannot understand the musical language as it is communicated. This divide between the performers and the audience is similar in private teaching; parents with little musical background can offer moral support at home but they are unable to assist their children in practice during the week and therefore become less involved in the learning that takes place.In addition, singing, music-making, and music-listening at home are most likely limited or non-existent in these situations. The true language of music is becoming foreign to many in our society and with that comes the loss of its value in schools, churches, and communities. Communication cannot be effective with an audience lacking understanding of and experience in music-making.

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