Recently I finished reading the book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade from renowned psychologist Robert Cialdini. His specialty is persuasion and marketing. In the book he writes also about the research program designed to answer the question “What is language principally for?” Cialdini continues: “… the renowned psycholinguist Gün Semin, whose conclusion, in my view, comes down to this: the main purpose of speech is to direct listeners’ attention to a selected sector of reality. Once that is accomplished, the listeners’ existing associations to the now-spotlighted sector will take over to determine the reaction.”
This explanation got me thinking – if this would be what effective messaging in a language is for, then how is it with music? Music is the topic of my interest and has been all my life. I try to better understand what role music plays in peoples’ lives, and subsequently what role it could and should play. I worry that active playing music is neglected by most of the population and thus left to “professionals and professional artists”. Music has become a “spectators sport”. And that to the detriment to the general population, to you as an individual and to the society as well.
I started Musicably with a goal to do something about this – to change it. For now, as the first step, I write about the situation. I want you to understand benefits music playing can bring to your life. But understanding is just the beginning. Because I want you to get intrigued and excited and finally encouraged to do something actively. I want you to play, to sing, to dance.
And there is one more ingredient I want to add – mindfulness. Why? Because, on one side, I see the current evolution of the whole ‘music industry’ going the direction that brings benefits to only a few. And on the other side, because it makes the whole process of music making more meaningful and simpler.
If you accept my proposal to start making music mindfully – focusing on the present, being authentic and non-judgmental (more about this in my further writings), there is a whole new world out there ready to be opened for you. And no previous music education is required!
I see this need for more spreading active playing music a.k.a. “musicking” more and more clear.
The further clarification appeared to me recently, when reading one of my favorite authors James Altucher on Medium. In his post Self-Publish The Bestseller Inside Of You: a How-To he is explaining his writing and publishing history and successes. And, in the first place, his reasons for writing.
When reading his post, it hit me again. There are thousands and probably millions of people who feel they have a song, a melody, a rhythm in them, similar to those who have a bestseller inside themselves. But with the current stage of the media and culture, they are falsely made believe, that if they are to play music, they have to do it to become successful. Become stars, become rich and famous. That they have to do it for others. Neither is TRUE!
Altucher finishes his post with clarifying “Why do I care so Much?”, when one of his points is: “But I love books. I love writing. I want to share that with you. I want you to have the pleasure I have felt from seeing my own book out there. … Ultimately a book is a love letter. From me/you to all the strangers in the world I am afraid to talk to but I want to. I really want to.”
And guess what? Playing music, or musicking, can do the same for you and more! And faster and possibly easier than writing and publishing a blog or a book.
Here I come back to the professor Semin’s research on language, where he sees its role to direct attentions to a sector of reality. Writing deals with language, it deals with reality, whether it it real, fictional or virtual. But music doesn’t! Music is free of this restriction. Sure, it also aims to stimulate you reaction, but this is purely on emotional basis. Words, or song lyrics, can support this emotional reaction, but are not essential. Music can “speak” for itself.
And although, ideally, musicking is a social activity, this is not crucial either. You can play your music only for you and still get many of the benefits the mindful music making offers. But that is not the same with writing. Sure, you can benefit from journaling, without the need to get anyone else reading your stuff.
But you can play your music again and again, with every repetition being different from the previous one. Because that is the inherent nature of playing music. With every repetition you can discover something new, something different – and get better. Or you just can get lost in the flow – and enjoy it that way.
And if you dare to get out and play with someone else – the experience multiplies. It is hard to imagine writing a book by two (or twenty) authors at the same time. But in music it is possible and common. And if done right – it is great every time.
So here you have it. I have done my writing for now and it feels great. I also hope that I have accomplished my goal to persuade you and direct your attention to a different possibility for your self-expression – to the mindful music making. Have I?
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