So I like Mozart, Tom Petty, Gabriel Faure, Felix Mendelssohn, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Beethoven, The Kingston Trio, John Denver (I am not ashamed), Led Zeppelin, Berlioz, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Buffett, etc. I like to listen and play a lot of different kinds of music. I've always thought of this as healthy. I think most of my fellow musicians agree. I once saw an interview with an anonymous rap star extolling the virtues Benjamin Brittain, Gustav Holst, and Ralph Vaughn Williams, three guys whose work I also dig. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not a close minded musician and I don't think there are many out there.

         I did run into a few close minded people this week who I don't think are really musicians, even though they claimed to be. They also claimed to have a deep understanding of music but their comments only proved the exact opposite for me. One of the fascinating things I find about music is that it is never in a vacuum. I think everyone will agree that music influences time and place and time and place influence music. Music captures history, it inspires poets, it makes people angry, and it makes people tremendously happy. Talking about music and helping people understand the context of music and history is one of my favorite pastimes. Debating it as well, and understanding it as well. Learning about music and understanding music isn't about just playing music. I love playing it, too, don't get me wrong, but understanding music takes more than just singing or playing. The stories that music history tells are fascinating. The people and places are snap shots of society. It takes only for me to think and close my eyes to picture Beethoven walking directly up the the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (and family) and shaking his hand as an equal while Beethoven's friend Goethe bowed reverently on the sidelines. The courage that must have taken on Beethoven's part to make such a statement is inspiring. A single-handed act of simple rebellion, to be treated as an equal human being and not a subserviant servant.

      What I'm getting at here is that music and history are inseperable and they should be discussed and valued together. Listen and learn about all kinds of music and the people that made it and why. I want to be in one of the cars that Tom Petty and Mudcrutch drove from Florida to LA in. I want to be in the stateroom of that ship with Benjamin Brittain as he was composing on his voyage back to England. I want to be sitting on a park bench in Vienna, watching Beethoven shaking the Emperor's hand. I want someone to be thinking that way about me and a song I wrote that effected their lives. It gives me reason to write a song, practice an aria, or learn a new chord voicing.

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