Music is a magnet. We are all attracted. No one is exempt. This doesn’t mean that people want to be exempt. Music has many sides to it: the sophisticated classical side, the mellow, hip alternative folky size, the jazzy side, the rap and hip hop side, and the rock side. No matter what, there is a side that attracts a human being. Because of this, I view music as a core of something civic. Schudson says we become civic if and when the civic penetrates into everyday life. Music is in most people’s everyday life. I listen to music when I study, when I walk across the street, when I go on long bike rides. I jam out to it with my friends, and dance to it like there is no tomorrow (I am a fantastic crumper). It surrounds us in our everyday life and sometimes brings us up in a swirl and we forget where we are and all we do is listen.
When music is live, we reach a whole new level of civic. Exhibit A: Why hello Jack Johnson. As I walked away from my last class of the day, I saw the huge line for him, and said “WOW there are so many people, ay!” All these people are die-hard Jack Johnson fans and or friends of people who are. His music is famous and I can assure you it is played everyday somewhere around the world. This concept of a concert is an ideal way to see civic engagement in music. People packed in a room, sharing their love of music, jamming, dancing, expressing a love for an aspect of a nation’s culture. Schudson describes citizenship as “an emotional identification with a nation and its…culture” And not even is it for a nation. Now it cuts across boundaries and unites the entire world (Exhibit B, Gangnam Style!!!).
What’s also interesting about music is that it can be viewed as an mode of expression of emotions. Lyrics have meaning (for the most part..okay maybe not for the most part, but definitely for some). The artist might be urging for a greener persona for America, or fighting for people to become informed and make a difference. For example, John Mayer in his song “Waiting For the World To Change” exclaims that it is up to us to make the changes in the world, rather than just waiting. Music is rhetoric that brings a community together. It’s a perfect blend of what this class is all about.