There has been some discussion amongst my fellow musos as to the state of music. Much has been made of the downturn in the economy and there is some degree of nervousness in the air. I see what is happening now as a time of opportunity and I put forward a point of view that has been under the radar for some time now.
Art, in general, but specifically music, is a part of the fabric of civilized society. You hear, see and touch things every day that are a result of the creative process whether it be music in a film, the design of an auto or, the feel of a shirt. These are concrete examples that were conceived and designed by many people, not a few of whom are artists. There is another level which art exists and affects us all.
Most people can recall an event where, after witnessing art (hearing a concert, viewing a painting/sculpture), there was an emotional response. If there happened to be more people in the room that response may have been magnified and manifested as a physical response (smiling, crying) as well. This is the benefit of art. On our own we can feel something within us that has been triggered by an abstract representation. When we are lucky enough to be with others who have been affected as well suddenly the group has a moment of shared experience which can be very powerful.
There is a realization that we have too many TVs, cars, kitchen gadgets (well maybe not that), clothes etc. The purchase of these material items felt great at the time and have provided some basic pleasure, but what is the long term outcome? As an example, you can drive their car to a store, buy the latest Blue Ray version of a movie, go home and make popcorn in their popcorn maker, or microwave and watch said feature on a wide screen high definition TV while wearing silk pyjamas. Some of the art that does exist in this scenario is the design of the car, writing the script and music, acting and various scene and costume sets in the movie and the design of the pyjamas. All good and worthy of a degree of attention but removed from your immediate experience.
Now I put forward another scenario. You agree to meet friends at a venue (bar, concert hall) that has live music, make a great dinner (I strongly suggest that here is where the kitchen gadgets really come to their own), go to the show/pub/whatever, listen and react to what you are hearing, talk about it with your friends (not during the performance please). What has happened? You set up a time to be with people (a community), had a nice dinner (creative experience) and talked about what you where hearing (community interaction). I suspect that in six months time you may still be talking about this experience as opposed to movie night in.
So there you have it. Go forth and experience art first hand and acquire something abstract.