School’s Out

“Most people stop for signs, but I’ve driven through it:
If it don’t touch my soul, then I can’t listen to it.” – Big K.R.I.T., The Vent

Music so often becomes accidentally, inextricably linked with moments from our lives – a first kiss, a worst day, a best friend a last goodbye – so why not use those tendencies to create meaningful, even philosophical, connections? We’ve talked about social change as a function of music before, but a listener’s interior, personal changes, while less immediately obvious, are equally important.

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates is credited as having said that “musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul – on which they mightily fasten – imparting grace.” And even today, music maintains an important role in learning, from Mother Goose rhymes in preschool to the Top 40 lyrics that become impossible to forget when the notes we’re desperately highlighting for finals seem impossible to remember.

In their song Waiting for the Beat to Kick In, which deals with subjects as diverse and as universal as sleep, kindness, serenity, anger, integrity, and inertia, the hip hop duo Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip state their mission thus: “Silently I step up with a subversive subtext, / Trying to feed the need for more than just remedial subjects: / Place my faith in the belief that the general public / Will open up their minds to more than just an industry puppet.” The idea, then, is to write – and to listen to – music that has meaning as well as entertainment value for the listener, something that will improve not only the hearer’s mood but also his mind, changing not just a day, but a life.

Happy listening – happy learning.

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