Hi there, pop fans!
Smile, smile, smile
It's all over
I have got the furious needle
I am always fascinated by the Expert. There are Experts in this and Experts in that. They never appear to do anything; they just let forth with unending cascades of technical opinions regarding their particular subjects.
Now, in certain circumstances, Experts are handy fellows. Ask them a question and out come their slide–rules, four–figure tables and micrometers and before you can say Einstein! they give you their expert advice. But beware. The opinion they give you is only “considered”, and most of their calculations are only “well–informed”. That’s the weird thing about Experts. Lesser mortals have to make decisions and stand by them.
I’d like to have a go at the Musical Expert, be he critic, teacher, lecturer or instrumental exponent. I don’t believe these people are necessary to the making of music. True, the experts know their onions, better than a Breton, but do they know their music? They know their subject like the back of their hand, but do they know our music? I think it was Hindemith who outlined the danger of being an Expert when he became a teacher, realising that if you if you teach someone what you know they will only end up as smart as yourself. You should teach them what they don’t know; then, you both learn! It makes damned good sense to me, especially when it comes to music.
Just consider the nature of music. What is it—the strange marks on the reams of paper that fill all the drawers and cupboards in my home? The dozens and dozens of books that line my bookshelves? No—it is simply a personal sensation entering our bodies aurally, nothing more, nothing less. And ain’t it enough? Sounds beat themselves to death on your eardrums and if the ensuing sensation is pleasant you call it good music: if it should displease you, it is rubbish.
Your mate receives the same vibrations and gets the opposite reaction. Music is all so bloody personal. God only knows why certain sets of vibrations should get such diverse reactions from different people, but, what the brain does to the messages it receives has confounded man from the beginning of time. Because this diversity of opinion exists, we find ourselves in a state of acute uncertainty, and humans being what they are must be sure what it all means. So we appoint Experts. The Experts fill a social and psychological need—but only when you feel it necessary to be sure you are not liking the wrong music.
Think of the feeling of shame you suffer should you let it be known that your brain translates the vibrations that hit your eardrums when a particular musician blows his horn in a totally different way than they affect your with–it friends. Be safe—consult the Expert first. Read what he thinks–100 to 1 all your with–it friends have. Repeat parrot fashion what you’ve read and—bingo!–no shame: no matter what you really feel about what you’ve heard. Isn’t it more important to socially acceptable than to be honest to your ears? I don’t give a Friar what people think about the sort of music I like. I’ve become my own, personal Expert. I know what I like and, to me, that’s what music is all about. As long as I hear something now and again that does me a power of good that’s enough for me.
Statistics show that one in seven members of the male population will need psychiatric treatment at some time during his lifetime. So if you are in a septet—watch it!
Copyright © 1968, Kenny Graham. All Rights Reserved