Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
As the end of the year and the decade runs toward us, in advertising, tech, government pronouncements-machines in various forms-be they robots, drones, AI, are proclaimed as problem solvers, labor replacements and cost cutters throughout the world. In a number of fields this is and will be true. However, fortunately in the arts, machines cannot compare and will never be able to spontaneously create or even re-create actual human beings playing instruments, dancing in diverse styles, painting with expression or singing in an authentic, unique voice. Machines can never exchange the human touch or elicit reconciliation of emotions as human to human contact may given the "right" environment and time.
Throughout history music has been used to drum up emotions and resolve for battle as well as stirring crowds to celebrate victories or wail against defeat. There is some form/style of music for every culture, every occasion and every emotion. The 'language' of music, particularly written music, is easily read. It requires few words and the "notes" are translatable to every instrument for anyone who takes the time to learn. How they are interpreted is entirely individual. The braver an individual is infusing their instrument with their own experience, skill and humanity-the more depth and resonance the music will project as a soloist or as part of an ensemble.
Musical traditions which require mastery of the instrument (including the human voice) discipline in listening to others, following a "leader" or conductor, recognizing harmonies, sensing rhythm, pitch, certain physical postures, breath control, tuning/tone and stamina; are ones which elevate the human being and potentially our human condition.
Music, more than any other of the performing arts-is able to bring people of all "sizes, colors, shapes and backgrounds" together. If children are taught well and/or encouraged in their natural abilities in music-this foundation can last for their lifetime and serve as a means of communication and rapport building wherever they live or travel. Often by attempting to sing, play music and dance from different traditions/cultures-one gains a kinesthetic understanding more profound than from speech or documents. Music and dance exchange energy in a uniquely human realm. These arts also have the effect of releasing emotions including "joy", "harmony", "hope" and "wonder".
In terms of sheer numbers, the United States of America has many and diverse "youth music programs and organizations" (from orchestras, to jazz ensembles, drumming and choral groups) . However, in terms of importance placed on music education and teacher's training in music the USA, Canada and the UK are not in the lead.
"Many countries have strong, well-funded music programmes that are supported by a national belief in the value of music (and arts) education. For example, music education thrives in countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, where it often extends beyond the classroom to include extra-curricular musical instruction that is publicly subsidised.
350 hours in music for trainee teachers in Finland, and 160 hours in South Korea which is in contrast with less than 20 hours in Canada, England and the USA.
In Canada, England and the United States, music education is less consistent; varying from district to district and, indeed, from school to school. In Canada, 38 per cent of respondents to a recent survey reported that music is either taught by teachers with no musical background or not taught at all.
In the United States, music programmes, particularly in public schools, are often underfunded or abandoned altogether under budgetary pressure. While funding is still an issue for music education in England, a network of 123 music hubs was set up by the government across the country in 2012; enabling access to a musical instrument for more than 1 million children." musiceducationworks.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/music-education-compared-in-countries-around-the-world/
Extensive research has proved the benefit of music/music education on health, on expanding human capabilities including cognitive function, social skills and motor/task competencies. Yet, school systems (in most of the world) continue to push computer/tech education and cut funding to music and arts programs, even physical education/movement programs...consistently.
There is no substitute for human interaction in terms of reconciliation. When words fail to reach another human being, music and/or art may be a more "open hand". Music has proved to have healing qualities for the body, mind and spirit. Music can open repressed memories, soothe wounded souls and stimulate "movement" on all levels.
Music can support reconciling the "self" and reconciliation between human beings. After experiencing grief, trauma, violence, torture, rape, imprisonment, displacement, addiction-music can be one tool for recovery-especially for children. Music is used to "program" children and "recruits" (from government military units to terrorist and criminal groups) and can be utilized to "re-program" rewire neural circuits to de-escalate rather than charge aggressive actions and decision making.
"Music and art therapy can be implemented anywhere, from counseling offices to classrooms. For example, one common technique is to incorporate art therapy into primary school classrooms to help children access and process their emotions. By bringing safe art supplies into the classroom, art therapy can be used to encourage both healing and learning without feeling the need to micromanage, which might have the opposite effect.
Music therapy can also be used in hospitals to aid in healing for people of all ages. Whether utilized in a children’s ward play area or in a group of elderly people, using music to heal is an effective therapy that could really make a difference for someone suffering from trauma.
Music and art therapy can also be combined with journaling or painting to music. These techniques can help people affected by trauma learn to create more and express emotions that otherwise might overwhelm them." www.musicthinktank.com/blog/music-therapy-as-a-way-to-process-trauma.html
“When I paint, I become more comfortable, my dreams become stronger,” reports one young Yezidi refugee in the Bajed Kandala refugee camp in Iraq. www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/14122019
Machines and AI don't dream. Don't let them crush or replace our human ones, our humanity.
Last year at this time I was in Henan province just before the Chinese President declared Christmas "forbidden", but we had a Christmas concert up in the Yuntai mountains and I taught the children "Jingle bells" at their teachers' request. It brought smiles to all our faces whilst learning and singing.
Closing with scenes most media won't show you of Christmas celebrations in Syria openly practiced after the first "defeat of Daesh/ISIS" in December 2017-2018. Music, artistic decorations and celebrations can be seen from Damascus to Homs to Aleppo. The common song here is the American "Jingle Bells".
Please watch this short video with open eyes, heart and mind:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, Happy Holidays to you and yours!