Pop Music VS Classical Snobs

Pop Music VS Classical Snobs

A case for simplicity.
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Luther College, and really the entire town, is well known as a bastion for music. Our choirs, bands, and orchestras are all top-notch and travel the world to show their abilities. It’s a amazing blessing, but it comes with its own problems. For example, the average person will come across way more classical music snobs.

You know the type. “Oh, you haven’t heard 'Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor'? Well, you simply must! So much better than the schlock we hear today.” They’re the kind of people who’ll crap on any music made after the 1950’s even though they haven’t listened to a song made after 1920.

Keep in mind, this isn’t about people who like classical music. It’s, of course, a high quality art form with a deep history and centuries-worth of literature. This is about the people who not only love classical music, but look down from the top of their contrabass clarinet on anyone who doesn’t listen exclusively to Giuseppe Verdi or some other random Italian.

“Pop is the slow destruction of music as an art,” they’ll say. Well, I’ve got news for you. Pop and modern music is exactly what music was meant to be.

A friend of mine recently had the gall to say Beyoncé was overrated and untalented. His biggest complaint and the one I hear most often about pop music is that it’s all simple and is made for people to just party and dance around. Ignoring the fact that Beyoncé’s last two albums were critically acclaimed art pieces and not dance songs at all, music you can dance to and sing along with isn’t a bad thing.

Think about the origins of music, of sound and rhythm. I’m talking the beginnings of human history. Music was a tool for celebration! Entire tribes of people would gather together to sing and dance. If not that, music was a tool for sadness or mourning. Woeful wails would bring the entire community into a shared grief. I’m sure you’re catching on. Music was always supposed to be simple, a tool for everyone to express emotions whether they be happy or sad.

So where does classical music fit? Let’s look at the time period. Classical music’s heyday was a time of great innovation musically, but it was also a time when music stopped being communal. It would be composed to be performed at giant churches or at symphony performances or for rich people’s entertainment. In other words, it was largely for the elites. Knowledge of classical music and the ability to play the instruments in a symphony were often lessons taught to the children of nobles and the rich. Your average layman would be lucky to have heard it live, let alone be able to participate and understand the intense complexity of the music.

Classical music’s great at creating an ambience, but what good is it if it’s not for the entire community? At the time, the communal music, the music of old, was taking form in folk songs. Sure, they were simple. They were happy or sad, easy to play, and easy to listen to. That’s what made them great, and that’s why people remember "Scarborough Fair" more than Dietrich Buxtehude’s "Chaconne in E minor".

The equivalent to classical music today is, well, classical music. The equivalent to folk music today, the music that upheld the traditions all music was built on, is pop. I can’t begin to count how many times friends and I have belted "Crazy In Love" like madmen, and everyone around us who heard knew exactly what was happening. Some pop even transcends language with the energy and spirit of K-pop and J-pop being a hit in the USA (sly anime joke). Sure, some pop music is bad, but there’s something magical about that sensation of knowing that no matter who you are, you share the same spirit of music.

Of course, you can enjoy classical music without being elitist and pretentious. As someone who basically only performs classical music (outside of showtunes), I know I do. It has so much to appreciate and learn from, and without it, modern music may not be in the shape it is today. Just remember, as much as it seems so superior to simple layman’s music, it’s the pop songs that can really feel like music to everyone.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important

"Literature Is One Of The Most Interesting And Significant Expressions Of Humanity." -P. T. Barnum
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Today, there are too many people who believe that literature is simply not important or underestimate its abilities to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life, and that one who is more passionate toward literature and other art forms will be destined to a life of low-paying jobs and unsatisfying careers. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is insignificant. To me, however, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world. Here are just a few reasons why literature is important.

1. Expanding horizons

First and foremost, literature opens our eyes and makes us see more than just what the front door shows. It helps us realize the wide world outside, surrounding us. With this, we begin to learn, ask questions, and build our intuitions and instincts. We expand our minds.

2. Building critical thinking skills

Many of us learn what critical thinking is in our language arts classes. When we read, we learn to look between the lines. We are taught to find symbols, make connections, find themes, learn about characters. Reading expands these skills, and we begin to look at a sentence with a larger sense of detail and depth and realize the importance of hidden meanings so that we may come to a conclusion.

3. A leap into the past

History and literature are entwined with each other. History is not just about power struggles, wars, names, and dates. It is about people who are products of their time, with their own lives. Today the world is nothing like it was in the 15th century; people have changed largely. Without literature, we would not know about our past, our families, the people who came before and walked on the same ground as us.

4. Appreciation for other cultures and beliefs

Reading about history, anthropology, or religious studies provides a method of learning about cultures and beliefs other than our own. It allows you to understand and experience these other systems of living and other worlds. We get a view of the inside looking out, a personal view and insight into the minds and reasoning of someone else. We can learn, understand, and appreciate it.

5. Better writing skills

When you open a book, when your eyes read the words and you take in its contents, do you ask yourself: How did this person imagine and write this? Well, many of those authors, poets, or playwrights used literature to expand their writing.

6. Addressing humanity

All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection. We learn that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring. We learn that life must be lived to the fullest. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity.

Literature is important and necessary. It provides growth, strengthens our minds and gives us the ability to think outside the box.

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Rider University's Hypnotist Show With Sailesh The Hypnotist Begs The Question, 'Is Hypnosis Real?'

"One, two, three, wide awake."

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On September 6th, 2018, Rider University had a real-life hypnotist come. Honestly, I'm not a huge believer in these types of things. I've been to similar shows in the past, but I still wanted to go. I went with one of my best friends, and we sat together towards the middle of the theater and got settled for the two-hour show.

The hypnotist's name is Sailesh, and he was called the "best hypnotist on the planet," by MTV Europe. Additionally, he has been featured on TV and in documentaries, and consistently showcase at the prestigious National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and the Association for Campus Activities (APCA) conferences. Sailesh has several nominations for America's Best Campus Live Novelty Act and America's Best Campus Entertainer of the Year. So this guy is the "bee's knees," basically.

Well, I don't believe it. Naturally, I went to prove my point. Here's my summary.

It was a lot of fun. I went with my roommate, who seemed more open to the experience than me, but we both really enjoyed it. Sailesh hypnotized a lot of people, not me, however. As much as I tried to focus on his words and his hand movements, I just couldn't do it. I think that was a good thing because the stuff he made some of the students who were successful to hypnosis would have embarrassed me for the rest of my college career.

Sailesh brought the students of Rider on a journey. We saw someone pretend he was a "hot girl," and witnessed multiple people slap their own faces anytime they had a dirty thought that involved this "hot girl" coming to mind. There was more, but I'd rather not talk about it on this platform.

In the end, if you are like me and were a skeptic, you at least enjoyed a good show. To this day, I will still remember some of my favorite highlights; from a girl calling out her boyfriend, to watching two guys slap each other's butts, there is not a dull memory I can think of.

I would totally recommend Sailesh to anyone and I hope he comes back again, so maybe I can be hypnotized then.

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