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Thread: Does getting older make music more irrelevant or is it the other way around?

  1. #1
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Does getting older make music more irrelevant or is it the other way around?

    I was wondering because I see myself, a college student, that my treating of music has been more on the consumerism side lately. I hum less and it's more difficult to get impressed, although it happens. Also I'm tossing between the "hook" pop music and more authentic music and can't decide where to settle to or continue listening to both.

    What do you say, is there a trend or it depends on the person? Maybe some kinds of music become less relevant and others gain more approval?

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati View Post
    I was wondering because I see myself, a college student, that my treating of music has been more on the consumerism side lately. I hum less and it's more difficult to get impressed, although it happens. Also I'm tossing between the "hook" pop music and more authentic music and can't decide where to settle to or continue listening to both.

    What do you say, is there a trend or it depends on the person? Maybe some kinds of music become less relevant and others gain more approval?
    I'll throw this into the discussion. The music we listened to in our teen and young adult years is music we will always enjoy. Why do I say that? I play a lot of nursing homes. The average age is somewhere around 80. Which means they were teenagers and young adults in the 1950's.

    Play a song from the 50's, 60's perhaps 70's and you will see them singing along. Those are the songs they grew up with and will always relate to. Now that does not mean they do not appreciate other music, but, IMO their core value does not stray far from what they listened to as teenagers. OK, set that aside and lets go on.....

    As a college student you are moving from teenager to young adult - and your tastes and priorities are changing. You said; "... my treating of music has been more on the consumerism side lately."

    I'm sure you have heard this; "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11 You will always relate to the music you grew up with, but, are now ready to explore new fields. Open to new understandings. Ever wonder why you want to know all this music theory you have been asking about? I can understand your movement from just listening and enjoying to wondering what type of music sells. Your priorities are changing, you are growing up.

    Enjoy the journey.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 01-08-2011 at 11:16 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati View Post
    I was wondering because I see myself, a college student, that my treating of music has been more on the consumerism side lately. I hum less and it's more difficult to get impressed, although it happens. Also I'm tossing between the "hook" pop music and more authentic music and can't decide where to settle to or continue listening to both.

    What do you say, is there a trend or it depends on the person? Maybe some kinds of music become less relevant and others gain more approval?
    Depends on the person, of course, but obviously tastes change. I'm now 61 and music has been central to my life since around 12 - I started playing at 16, and it's been the love of my life since then (athough only my main career for the last 7 years or so).
    As Malcolm says, the music of your teenage years stays with you, as the most resonant and memorable. For me of course that's the 1960s - I can remember the music of the mid-60s almost month by month. I got into vintage blues and jazz in the early 1970s, then had another brief resurgence of pop passion around punk in the late 70s. But since then my awareness of - and interest in - popular music has slowly grown fuzzier. I still like a lot of new music - there's some really great stuff around today - but I'm no way obsessed with trends and sounds of the moment the way a teenager will be. I can appreciate it, but don't connect automatically with it.
    I teach kids and they keep me aware of what's happening to some extent. (I was suprised to find I actually like some of Lady Gaga's songs.) At the same, vintage guitar rock (mostly 70s period) is still alive for a lot of kids (boys anyhow) largely thanks to games like guitar hero. So I can relate to that. They think I'm cool because I can show them Smoke on the Water, which seems ironic to me; they're 10, and that tune is 40 years old. That would have been like me in the early 1960s thinking 1920s jazz was cool (actually I did...).

    As a young man, I kind of expected my taste in rock'n'roll would steadily give way to an appreciation of classical music as I matured. But that hasn't happened. Even jazz, I still have a kind of arm's length appreciation for. (I always liked some kinds of jazz, and still do.) I do like some classical - but no more than the few pieces I liked as a young man.
    I've gained more understanding of course; but not really any deeper appreciation. I still don't "get it".

    I love composer Erik Satie's quote on this. He was known as an avant garde rebel as a young man. He said "When I was young, people told me: you'll see when you're 50. Now I'm 50: I've seen nothing."
    IOW, youthful passion is not necessarily something you outgrow. It can be (and probably is) the real you.

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    My advice would be to keep an open mind, but not to force anything (assuming music is a hobby for you, not something you're formally studying in school etc.) - simply listen to what you enjoy, regardless of how "authentic" you or anyone else may perceive it to be.

    Sure your tastes may/will change, and you may find your interest in various kinds of music waxes and wanes - nothing wrong with that. (And you may also someday look back and smile at the notion that as a college student you described yourself as "getting older" )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati View Post
    I was wondering because I see myself, a college student, that my treating of music has been more on the consumerism side lately. I hum less and it's more difficult to get impressed, although it happens. Also I'm tossing between the "hook" pop music and more authentic music and can't decide where to settle to or continue listening to both.

    What do you say, is there a trend or it depends on the person? Maybe some kinds of music become less relevant and others gain more approval?
    It depends what you mean. Eg, you mentioned "consumerism" and you said you were "deciding" what to choose in commercial vs what you call "more authentic" ... I never really had those as my main priorities when listening to contemporary music (I never really listened to classical, and still don't listen to it much now in my mid 50's).

    OK, well any comment from me on this subject is likely to look more like an old git reminiscing about 40 years of how he came to play guitar LoL! ... but I guess that's inevitable given the nature of the question, so .....

    Of course it's true that when I first became interested in listening to pop songs and chart songs on the radio & TV, eg from the age of about 10 years, I probably liked whatever the big hits of the day were. So that would not really have been my own independent personal opinion at that age. For the next 2 or 3 years I had some pocket money used that to buy my favourite 45's ie "singles" (LP's were a bit expensive!), and I guess that was the time when I was talking a lot about pop music with other kids at school etc.

    But then about age 14 someone played me the Clapton Beano LP and also a Jeff Beck LP (with a song called the Nazz Are Blue). That changed my view of "pop" music, and I very quickly became hooked on that blues-rock guitar sound. It was also a time/age when I was becoming very interested in art, style & fashion anyway. That led me to buying my first electric guitar (using mostly pocket money saved from a couple of paper rounds). That of course was the start of a lifelong musical guitar journey of trying to learn to how play.

    So that was the period when I was buying chart records and when I was enthusiastically talking about those records with my mates. Though there wasn't the range of different stuff that kids listen to now. So it was mainly pop-chart "hits", but with the guitar stuff taking over.


    I worked a couple of years before going to Univ. about age 20, and then spent the next 25 years working, during which time the guitar was mostly forgotten about. It still sat in the corner of the room, and I still picked it up once or twice a month spending 30 min. trying/failing to improvise something, but that was all..

    About 8 years ago I found myself working from home and with a lot more time on my hands. Then some other things happened in my life which made me decide to get back into playing guitar and really learning to play properly (unlike my "fumbling around in the dark" efforts of years before).

    Only now, I suddenly found the world of contemporary music had changed. There were loads of new guitarists who I had never heard of, guys whose names had passed me by in the 1980's. And also, unlike when I first started, there was now a fantastic mass of brilliant self-teaching stuff on DVD, and instructional songbooks with full TAB etc.

    So after a lot of hard work (more than I ever imagined possible lol!) I finally did learn to play all those favourite Clapton, Beck, Hendrix tracks from my youth. And then to take the next step it just seemed natural to branch out into all those new guitarists who'd appeared, ie Satriani, Van Halen, Vai, Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert etc. So the last few years I've spent a lot of time learning that sort of stuff. And along with that, also began to get into Jazz fusion guitar and players like Holdsworth, Shawn Lane, Scott Henderson, so I work on that stuff too. That's also lead me into playing various short classical pieces, the sort of things that players like Gilbert often include in the middle of his songs ... so there are also now several classical pieces which I play/practice as sort of technical warm-up exercises (and becasue they sound nice).

    But I don't actually listen to any music just for relaxation. I think there are two reasons - although it might seem strange, and perhaps something guys here would criticise, my interest is vastly more in actually playing for pleasure and for achieving "goals, rather than listening for pleasure. And secondly, after practicing typically 6 hours a day, I don't really want to relax by listening to yet more music.

    The last thing is, I now teach a couple of 14 year-old students, and of course they bring me stuff by bands like Linkin Park and Children of Bodom etc., so now I sometimes listen to that and we work out how to play that stuff too (they actually like Nirvana as well, so that get's in there too).

    So really, the whole thing has been totally determined by that obsessive desire to play guitar ... and itís that which has lead me through those various styles of music, from blues, to rock, to metal, shred, jazz-fusion, classical, grunge etc. All of which means that now in my mid 50ís Iím vastly more involved in guitar/music than I ever was before.

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    Also I'm tossing between the "hook" pop music and more authentic music and can't decide where to settle to or continue listening to both.
    Why do you have to decide? Why don't you simply listen to what you like?

  7. #7
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Crossroads, interesting read. That "reaching goals" I think most musicians feel. Its not only what you hear playing and the mechanics, technical wizardry at first, but the actual hard work put to reach there that adds up.

    What worked for me and made me a better player is that at some point I "lived" more than I played and could care less about mistakes in my playing and then it happened. I could compose. Melodies flowed and fingers obeyed, sure it doesn't happen all the time but its that epiphany that each of us can have that I believe are responsible for Voodoo chile, Pjanoo, Estranged and Love thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Why do you have to decide? Why don't you simply listen to what you like?
    It's not that I feel I have to decide rather than I sometimes can't connect at all with one of the two. It's a circular thing.

    I certainly have a soft spot for unique compositions with pop(ular) sensibilities. You know, to be accessible to everyone but yet be a bit eccentric, to have a character. That rocks.
    Last edited by ragasaraswati; 01-10-2011 at 02:46 PM.

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