Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Privilege of Listening - What Andrea Bocelli Reminded Me About Music

The Privilege of Art - What Andrea Bocelli Reminded Me About Music

by Christopher Coleman

We may not be able to replicate a live performance perfectly, but we can certainly change our mindset from "music as a commodity to be horded" to "music as an art form to be experienced."

I live in Orlando, Florida - land of rides, resorts, and restaurants.  At any given moment there seem to be more people visiting the city than actual residents.  But for all of the attractions, I wouldn't say there is a lot of "high culture" going on in the City Beautiful.

So when an opportunity to catch an artist like Andrea Bocelli comes your way, you take it...if you can afford it.  Now, if it also happens to be your mother's 75th birthday AND she just happens to be visiting from 3000 miles away on that very day...AND she happens to love Bocelli, you find a way to afford it.

While I looked forward to the first live concert that I've attended in years, I was unprepared for a huge lesson I would learn in the process of being washed over by Bocelli, Guitierrez, and Headley's voices...not to mention the thunderous choir and orchestra.

As I sat next to a woman, who started off as refined as could be, but ended up standing, fist-pumping and "Woohooing" with the best of them (No.  Not my mother.  She was on the other side of me, but she let out a few diminutive "Woos!" of her own), I began to remember that there is something about a masterful, live performance that simply cannot be duplicated any other way.

Let's face it.  As a lover of film and game music there aren't too many opportunities to experience our beloved genre in a live setting.  Sure.  There is the Hollywood Bowl.  There is Ghent.  There is Tenerife. There is Tanglewood.  All of these are fantastic venues to hear unforgettable performances of some of the greatest pieces from the genre, but I remind you.  I live in Orlando, Florida, and save for the Star Wars Live concert, a couple of years ago, there just aren't any opportunities to hear the music I love in a live setting.

This great lack of opportunity has slowly, subconsciously, I've discovered, affected my appreciation of the art of music.  Additionally, I am lucky enough to get so much music passed my way from labels and PR agencies for review, but if there isn't something I don't get sent, it only takes two seconds to purchase it online these days.   And if that isn't sufficient enough, to find the music you're looking for, there's Youtube, Spotify, Grooveshark, Rdio,and countless others that will be able to stream us satisfied.  Recorded music is never more than a couple of clicks away.

Even a genre as obscure as "soundtrack"  is readily available...perhaps "too" available.  Somehow amidst our quad-cores, terabytes, and broadband, music has become something of a common commodity.   It's everywhere and we have to come the point where we feel listening to music is our right and not the wonderful privilege of observing art, that it really is.

Well, that whole notion was blown out of the back doors of the Amway Arena on Saturday night as Andrea Bocelli and company reminded us...reminded me...that what we heard and felt emanating from the stage and speakers was what the privilege of music is all about.  The fact is you can't download THAT experience. You can't pirate it.  You can't borrow it or loan it.  You can only experience it firsthand.

That is what are listening to music should be.  We may not be able to replicate a live performance perfectly, but we can certainly change our mindset from "music as a commodity to be horded" to "music as an art form to be experienced." There may not be 20,000 others listening, standing, clapping and "Woohooing" around you as you listen to Zimmer's "Time" or Williams' "Escape/ Chase, Saying Goodbye" or even The Chemical Brothers "Sun Collapse,"  but if we will make it a point to be there, in the moment, with our music, then we will find that not only is our experience with music one of the greatest human privileges, but also that every track, no matter how short, or how poorly mixed or edited, contains the seeds of life-altering inspiration.

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