Music

For those of you who might just be jumping in here or for those of you who just don’t know, I have been a ‘musician” my whole life. I started playing the piano at age 3 when my parents bought me a little “toy piano” and I sat down and apparently sightread the whole music book. (I had a similar experience when I was in 4th grade going into 5th grade – in 5th grade, we started having “band” and “orchestra” and we got to “test out” the instruments – I wanted to try the cello and I sat down and played a song without even knowing which strings were what; I chose to play the violin instead because I already lugged around a ton of books in 2 backpacks, but I ultimately ended up coming back to the cello). I “outplayed” several piano teachers by the time my age hit double digits and I started taking lessons from the “best” teacher in the area – one who had a waiting list that I sort of bypassed somehow just by playing and sightreading as something of an “audition.” We did not get along very well – I learned from him, at any rate, but I stopped taking lessons too early. I self-taught for several years (I didn’t get too, too far – I made some headway in Beethoven sonatas which were, by the way, the “straw” that broke the camel’s back – my former piano teacher had no interest in my interest in playing Beethoven – he wanted me to play contemporary “difficult-sounding” pieces – and I had no interest in his interest). I then had my IV infiltration debacle which rendered me basically unable to use my left arm for many, many years. *By the by, pumping a substance known to cause lymphoma into your lymph system is probably not … anything good….* However, I have just started up again and the hiatus has actually given me room for improvement – my major obstacle at the moment is returning to my former very high level of dexterity and physical conditioning.

At any rate, I have also been a “singer” most of my life, starting in elementary school. I am friends with some of my “idols” and I couldn’t be happier to say that I have been able to make those connections. I hope one day to actually BE ABLE to go (DECEMBER – FINGERS ARE CROSSED; AND FEBRUARY – FINGERS ARE CROSSED!) see them. At any rate, I have been getting into this “BTS ARMY” thing and I can genuinely say I appreciate the guys and they have put a little “pep back in my step” that really hasn’t been there for several months now (after … something about which I cannot yet talk….). It just feels like I have *snapped* back into reality, so-to-speak, and there really isn’t anything more someone who has been as sick as I have been for so many years can really ASK for for “nothing.”

In all of this – including my former discussions on Lady Gaga and how she really “should” get listening to ME an US given her close “connection” with chronic illness (and the Allure cover from sometime this year!! – I will have to write a post about that soon!) – I have thought about how the art of MUSIC seems to have been generally lost. There are groups that are very good (see the above) and there are individuals within otherwise “bad” groups that are amazing musicians. However, it seems that the “art” of songwriting (something I have also been doing for many years – I actually used to sit and write the songs that were going through my head at the end of physics tests when I would be done early – I’d scribble out my own staff paper on the back and write out melodies and harmonies ON the bars …) and the ACT of singing and playing the piano or guitar or whatever instrument one might play has become something of … a lost art? That is to say, it seems that “contemporary” music is, more or less, about making money – which, in terms of women, tends to automatically mean objectification. There are certain women – allusion to the aforementioned “ARMY” – who have been through horrible times who have, in my personal opinion, allowed themselves to be overly objectified by “sexuality. “

I realize I might sound a little hypocritical in all of this – especially if you know me personally. However, there is – at least to me – a difference between being “sexual” and expressing your sexuality and ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE SEXUALIZED in the context of other things entirely (namely in the “name” of “art”). The latter all comes down to objectification. Which I suppose brings me to the ultimate point; that aside from the Ariana Grandes of the world who will always appear as little girls, however scantily clad, female artists, however TALENTED, seem always to fall into that wearing next-to-nothing in videos and for performances. Which brings me to ANOTHER point about the “art” of music – that is, that the “art of music” has become less of an art and more of an ACT. I think BTS and K-Pop (KPop) in general proves this point – that dancing, for one, is almost inevitably first and foremost. I have actually started to read vocal critiques by serious musicians who actually CRITICIZE artists for being unable to dance hardcore while maintaining an “even” vocal tone. I understand the way the breath is “supported” has a lot to do with singing in general, but if you have ever tried some of those dances, you will know that you are huffing and puffing by the end of them and certainly not able to sing! I mean, I used to run cross country as well … and I would be running miles and miles in the woods and singing but it wasn’t SINGING it was more of little bumps of songs (that is, actually, the mark of a “good” cardiovascular workout – that you can speak but you can’t SING!). It is just interested to me how we have made a true “art” into something that is more or less based on bringing in money, based on objectification in many ways – which isn’t to say there are not talented musicians at all – it is just that we have kind of muddled up the mix, if you will. How many AMAZING singers are we missing out on because they cannot dance? Or how many AMAZING SINGERS AND DANCERS are we missing out on because they refuse to prance around in “panties” on stage? I am far from a “prude,” but until “men” singers start ROUTINELY dancing around w/half of their “junk” hanging out, I would never do such a thing. I don’t really want to see said “junk” … but I usually don’t want to see as much of women’s bodies as are exposed routinely in videos and performances.

I will leave you with those questions and thoughts. Which is also not to put down the dancing some of these people manage to accomplish – as aforementioned, it is HARDCORE. Some of that goes way beyond “years of training;” it is DIFFICULT STUFF! At any rate, I just wanted to throw that current thought out there since it is something I have been thinking about a lot recently. Oh, and by the by, I also did dance for quite a few years! Not my forte, but I did it! I always associated that kind of singing and dancing thing with Broadway and show choir (yes, I was briefly in show choir) – but years later it has taken on a new life altogether. It is interesting and it seems to be less objectifying for men. At any rate, I’d love to know what others think and I’d just love to hear about your musical “experiences” or history or if you play any instruments or sing and just whatever kind of information you have so I can get to know YOU more!

I hope you are having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world! I was awakened abruptly and far too early this morning by VERY loud leafblowers and now there is a constant truck rumbling outside … I am exhausted and I have a LONG day ahead of me after a LONG yesterday and a LONG week! So let’s hope today is just a good one for all of us! Thanks much for taking the time to read this and I will be back soon!

❤ Always, Beth

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