Many of the most important events in our lives are associated with music. Who hasn’t had the experience of suddenly humming or moving to the rhythm of a tune heard for the first time long ago? Baby boomers that grew up in the 50s and 60s have indelible memories of the songs they heard on the legendary Rock and Roll radio stations of that era. Many who served in the military never forget the stirring cadence of a military march, the Marine Hymn or The Star-Spangled Banner.
Perhaps it’s the song you danced to at the high school prom with the person who later became your lifetime partner. Maybe it’s the tune that was playing as you danced with your new spouse at your wedding party. It may be a song or two that was sung by a famous entertainer whose performance you saw many years ago.
I clearly remember seeing Billy Joel perform back in the 70s. I went with a friend who attended high school with him in New York. I wasn’t that much of a fan before seeing him in concert, but I came away with a far greater appreciation of his talent after seeing this piano virtuoso live and in his element. To this day, Piano Man is one of my all-time favorite songs.
The web has created an important venue for music. Despite the legitimate claims by performers and producers about file sharing and diminishing revenue, new business models are being created. And it amazes me to see that the lyrics to just about every song ever written has been archived and can be easily accessed with a simple Google search. Venues like Pandora or last.fm (which claims the world’s largest online music catalogue) can provide access to a treasure trove of new listening experiences. For me, YouTube is the favorite. Here you can see film and TV performances of the musical stars from the good old days as well as the top talent of today.
People all over the world love their music. You can bet there is as much enthusiasm for a new Jay-Z rap song among Hip Hop fans as there is for a jazz or a classical piano performance among more traditional music fans
The power of music can be a strong unifying force in the world. Peoples of the world should rejoice in the rich heritage that music and musicians brings to every culture. The increased availability of music over the internet can help bring diverse cultures together through shared experience and appreciation. Its positive influence on the human spirit should not be underestimated.
As the saying goes: ‘Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.’