by: Konner Scott
Imagine explaining music to somebody who was unfamiliar with the concept. Where would you even begin? Would you explain the nature of creating patterned sounds that resonate with the human brain? Would you talk about the cultural impact? Would you dive deep into Western music theory and discuss chords, intervals, and rhythm patterns?
At face value, music seems like a relatively simple concept, but once you start examining the scope, breadth, history, and psychology, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s a mind-blowingly expansive field, and no one individual can master it all.
For those with a passing interest in music who want to explore it more deeply, wondering where to start their learning can be overwhelming. In most cases, people tend to let their passion take the driver’s seat. For example, I have an adult student in his 60’s on the verge of retirement who adores classic rock music. Looking for a new hobby to fill his time, he’s decided to pick up guitar and learn how to play some of his favorite songs.
Similarly, you’ll often see students gravitate towards the genres, learning styles, instruments, and concepts that most deeply resonate with them. Some students will choose to hyper-focus on a single narrow subject (for example: becoming a progressive metal rhythm guitar virtuoso). Others will begin with a cluster of interests (perhaps writing and composing pop songs), and let the web stretch out and broaden as they develop more interests and proficiency. Maybe, after learning to write reasonably professional pop songs, they might explore some rock music styles and infuse it into their sound.
My personal philosophy when faced with this sort of decision paralysis is: go where your heart leads you! People tend to be the most successful and content when pursuing things that spark their interest and passion. If you’re a metal musician through and through, then getting a master’s degree in 16th century lute music may be a daunting and torturous task. Just because something exists within the field of music doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for all musical people.
Find the specific thing you love about, and pursue it relentlessly. You’ll find deep meaning and satisfaction by doing do!