I was watching Begin Again when Keira Knightley said “Music is about ears not eyes.” and those words just really stuck on me. How true is that. Music is meant to be felt and experienced, not stared at or made artificial. I think it reflects on the previous article, where I talked about how we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, because it’s the words that really reflect the depth and message. Music today often comes a long with a music video, that has been made visually pleasing. There is so much music today that becomes viral, listened to constantly then three months later we might forget about it. As someone who loves classical music, I grew up listening to Beethoven, Mozart and Bach on tape. It would be my meditative way to fall asleep as a child.
I loved listening (and still do) to The Carpenters, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Bruceck, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, She & Him and I could go on. A part of my heart feels that a lot of music today has become more superficial and shallow. There is a flooding amount of music that talks about sex, money, appearances and fame. I can’t deny I have music on my iPod that has several songs about those things, as there is music from Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Drake, The Weeknd and various other artists. A while ago I was watching an interview with Alessia Cara, who has one of the most unique and soulful voices I’ve heard in a long time. It just made me smile and love her, when she was asked why she doesn’t wear much makeup. She talked about how she likes to keep it simple and not let it distract from the message of the music.
That’s what it is about and that’s what’s important. The music. I remember performing from a young age. The dressing was usually subtle and many times it was in black (especially if you perform in an orchestra), as to keep the focus on the music itself. For example, when you listen to Debussy, Chopin, Liszt and various other Romantic period composers music, there is something about it that really moves one when they soak up the music. Sometimes I wonder how we would hear the music, as an audience, if each person closed their eyes. Unless it were a musical, dance, opera or elaborate performance, we tend to want to see the story that one is telling with all the visuals and music combined. But, so much of music today has lost depth. Not to say all, but even I am one to listen to an easy going pop song.
Listening is something magical in itself, just as silence can be. When we sit in the audience to listen to an orchestra or a band, and really listen, the music touches us all in different ways. It’s such a wonderful way of bringing people together and connecting people in a way that can be universally experienced. In the similar experience of art, staring at a Monet piece always makes me think of Debussy’s music. When we look at art, we are feeling it. When we listen to music, we are feeling it. When eyes do matter, it is only through presentation and stage presence. The reality is that part of the experience of seeing a classical musician perform, is to see what they are wearing and how they hold themselves. In all respects to that, music at its heart, is something we can only feel, if we are to listen.