"Whatever form of music making or listening we care to engage in, we may be sure that we are taking part in some way in a ritual which affirms the values we ourselves hold. Unless we grasp the essentially ritual nature of all (our musical life), we shall not begin to understand the forces that make it as it is."This quote, from Christopher Small, who coined the term "musicking", is the springboard for yoru second essay.
A very important insight to be gleaned from this class is the importance of self-awareness in our approach to familiar musical rituals. Our rituals--musical and other--are an important guide to the values we hold. In every area of our lives, including listening to music, we affirm the values we hold by the rituals in which we engage.
Rituals are not themselves entirely culturally determined. We do have choice in how we listen, what we seek in our contact with music; but our choice is very much bound up with broader social and cultural attitudes that we may not even realize we hold. Conversely, the choice of music which celebrates values to which we aspire serves to reinforce those values, and can be an important means of establishing our values.
Indeed, music itself has the power to shape us in modes that reach beyond the aesthetic to include the social; how we understand ourselves as relating to each other and to the world around us is modeled by, and mirrored in, what we listen for, and find, in music. It is this power of music to project, reflect and evoke our deepest sense of being, both as individuals and as a part of society, that makes it matter so much to us.
Your second Personal Essay asks you explore your own most practiced music ritual--that is the way you use music most commonly and most intensely. A short and very incomplete list of possibilities: performing music either by yourself or with others; practicing music; listening to music in any venue--at home, on a walkman, in church; on the radio; working out to music; studying to music; going to conerts; dancing to music at a club; listening and singing in the car--the list goes on and on.
Write a detailed description (3-4 pages typed) of your most practiced musical activity--that is, the way you most commonly are involved actively with music. Choose ONE activity to explore, not a range of activities.
As a point of departure, use the following questions as a basis for describing the details of your ritual and the values it celebrates.
In what sort of surroundings does the ritual take place? Can its location be anywhere? What special spatial or technical requirements are there for the ritual to occur?
How much control do you have over the choice of music? What kinds of restrictions exist? If you make the choices, describe your criteria and standards; if others do, describe their criteria and standards, as you understand them.
Describe your behavior in the ritual. How do you show your involvement in the ritual?
RITUAL AND SOCIAL VALUES
What values does this ritual celebrate? How is that celebration projected by the music? by the participants in the ritual?
Include your essay in your second Journal submission.to be submitted in an e-mail by Thursday May 24.