Nevermind The Posers

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What is the most significant musical experience you’ve had but your children will never have? February 3, 2011

Filed under: Music Questions — NVMP @ 9:15 AM

This week’s question: What is the most significant musical experience you’ve had but your children will never have?

The feeling you get when you open a brand new CD and play it for the first time.  With the way we listen and discover new music today, I just don’t think the feeling will be the same for the next generation.  In my mind, they’ll be thinking “Why would I bother going out to a store to buy a CD, spend five minutes trying to tear it open, find a CD player and then enjoy?  Using iTunes is an instant download”.  As this may be true, you can’t flip through the album book with your digital copy and you can’t add it to your physical music collection (although for the next generation, that will consist of a hard drive with backed up files).  They’ll have to inherit mommy’s collection.
The mix tape/CD. In a day and age when cars come out of the factories iPod compatible, the art of the mix tape/CD is a quickly fading one.  Playlists give you an unlimited amount of time to mix songs, tell a story or convey something whether it be ‘I love you’ or ‘happy birthday’.  Mix CDs give you about 18 tracks to get your point across, and depending on the occasion, making them can be an art.  Who knows if CDs will even exist when our kids come bursting forth from their matriarchal wombs?  There’s a beauty to a Valentine’s Day mix that includes the song that was playing when two people first met, or a birthday mix with a mutual favorite song.  The track limit ensures the mix creator makes each one count, and doesn’t waste precious minutes on some superfluous filler.
The most significant musical experience I’ve had but my children will not is probably seeing legendary bands like the Beach Boys, Van Halen and Santana.  I saw the Beach Boys with my parents as a kid and the same with Van Halen (the first time, second time I was college aged).  I know my kids will never get the opportunity to see them by the time they’re old enough to remember such an experience.  Maybe I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time but I was being introduced to the concert experience, something that clearly has direct bearing on the path in life I walk.  Maybe there will be artists I can take them to see that are of legendary status by the time I get around to having kids.  I’ll take them to see Green Day the same way my parents took me to the Beach Boys.
Spending $15 for one song…(but who would really miss that?)  It’s funny, because I even have trouble reminding people who are my age, let alone younger, that there was a time that taking a chance on a song could be expensive.  In the days before iTunes, and even before Napster, you didn’t have many options to check out an album before you bought it.  Unless you had a friend who bought the CD first and let you listen to it (or dare I even say make a tape of it for you…tape, yeah, remember that?) you pretty much were going into your CD purchase basically blind, with the exception of the one song you’ve heard that made you want to buy it in the first place.  Often times, especially if the band you were buying turned out to be a one-hit-wonder, you’d wind up spending $15 for the one song you like, and dealing with the 10-12 other tracks that pretty much sucked.  When you think about it in those terms, $0.99 – $1.29 for a song is quite the deal.
Although MTV is not what it used to be and we at NVMP banned the 2010 Video Music Awards, I’d have to say the birth of music television is one of the most significant musical experiences I’ve had, but my children will never have.  However good or bad we felt about MTV when it debuted, it definitely changed how we listened to and looked at music.
There are quite a few intricately significant musical experiences that I have had over the past two decades of life, but being that I can’t write a novel about these surreal experiences, the one I would have to go with would be watching one of the greatest contemporary composers perform an amazing piano/quartet set within the technological monolith that is the Apple store…and that would be the great Philip Glass.  Watching one of the true masters of piano/orchestral and experimental music was a true out-of-body experience that could only be shared with the people who were in my presence at that very point in time.  Something that I could never fully explain to my own children, as they would have to have seen the unworldly piano work of Mr. Glass to truly have taken in the monumental alignment within the musical universe that would have notated itself to life before them.  It is a sadly unfortunate miss for them.
This question is loaded, and I’d like to say something like “Saw Smokey Robinson and Cheap Trick play live,” but that would be cheating, like my parents saying “Woodstock.”  (Since obviously, I don’t have a time machine and Doc Brown is not a good friend of mine). Rather than musical experience in the sense of a concert, I want to refer to the sense of a phenomenon.  What phenomenons?  The invention and acceptance of Electronic Dance Music by millions.  The birth (and death) of modern rap (see: how we went from Nas, Tupac, Biggie, and the like to Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Autoned Hacks everywhere)…but I think the most significant musical phenomenon I’ve witness, is the impact of things like the internet on the music industry.  Nobody saw iPods or Napster coming and they changed everything in the music business, forever.

One Response to “What is the most significant musical experience you’ve had but your children will never have?”

  1. Denise Says:

    All of these are such fantastic responses. I am really going to date myself, but I remember making mixed TAPES back in the day. If I heard a song on the radio that I liked, I would record it onto a cassette tape. My children will never experience the magic of mixed tapes. Once CDs became the standard, I would make mixed CDs. In college, I made about 50 mixed Trance CDs; I was a major trance head. You just don’t make mixed tapes and CDs anymore, since you can easily make playlists in iTunes.

    Another memory is watching MTV and actually watching MUSIC VIDEOS! What a concept, huh? But I also liked liquid television—Bevis and Butthead, Daria, Aeon Flux, to name a few.. Those were the days.

    As far as artists that I know my children will never get to see—Iron Maiden, one of my favorite metal bands, will just not be around when I have children. But like Stigz said, it would be like someone who experienced Woodstock saying they wish their children would be around to see this. Ahh, I’d do ANYTHING to travel back and time to experience Woodstock.

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