Insight Innovates a Blog

Music Meditation

By Andre Todman

The power of music is demonstrated all around us, and can trigger a wide spectrum of emotions in the human mind. As a child, I remember how playing random notes, sitting at a piano with my brother and sister, created a joyous break from the stressful routine of family drama. In an imaginary example, a horn signifying the last moments of a soldiers life at a funeral service, might trigger tears of respect or give closure to loved ones. As a performing musician, I also realize that melodies not only affect listeners, but the act of creating them also has an internal effect. In similar ways, music can be used to address emotional needs on a clinical level. This is the concept of music therapy. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy uses the act of creating music, or the effect of melodies and sound to tend to a patients needs socially, mentally, or physically. Not only can music therapy address areas in the disabled, or mentally ill people of all ages, but it can also help healthy individuals. They list that therapy sessions could be customized to deal with stress, distract the mind from a painful feeling, help those in need to show emotion, improve memory, help communication skills and can also help individuals physically. Music therapy is a legitimate therapy that can improve the quality of life for those suffering, and should be covered by all major health insurance and Medicare.

 

Why does Music Therapy seem to be a new concept among the general public? Although the use of music therapy in the medical field is growing and it is still considered by many to be a new alternative, the concept of music therapy dates back to Plato and Aristotle’s literature. Following World War I and II, artists of many genres visited veterans hospitalized for post war psychological trauma. The reactions that music had on hospitalized veterans proved to be successful, causing medical professionals to employ musicians. However, they realized that hired artists needed education prior to working in a medical environment, thus creating a need for university courses. The first music therapy degree program was instituted in 1944 at Michigan State University. More than half a decade later, in 1998, The American Music Therapy Association was established (American Music Therapy Association). There had to be a way to make sure every hired music therapist fully understood this reason and the principles behind it.

 Andre Todman
>>>sight

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Art is Music & NOT What the Industry Conditions Listeners to Accept

By Andre Todman

Over twenty years later, publicists routinely market artists to convince the public on their behalf. A major artist’s marketing campaign is designed to gain them publicity, generating sales for their product and sponsors. Rap, being under hip-hop music’s umbrella, seems to contradict its early spirit. In a genre driven on word rhymes, the term, poet is less marketed less than aggressive influence to build reputation. Many young listeners who become artists may recognize this as an opportunity to become characters depicted in their favorite songs. Although image may sell records, in a timeless universe, quality music matters more. After all, no matter when it was made, even if by unknown artists, you’ll know a good song when you hear one.

Sure one can argue that some artists are responsible for further damaging hip hop’s true essence, but what about the companies financing the million dollar campaigns? Who will they sign next? It seems that there will always be a new extremes set, pushing limits in any direction as long as revenues increase.  Some music industry executives justify marketing violence by saying it’s just entertainment. It’s up to the songwriter, where they draw the line between creativity and music business. The intentions behind a product and a good song can be different but I believe that it’s up to each artist to decide how their inner expressions are reflected.

 

Andre Todman
>>>sight

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Remove the Music

By Andre Todman

Words are the basic element of language and poetry. I always found it ironic that hip-hop/rap musicians claim to have mastered their craft without a passion for language. The master of ceremony, an emcee, is supposed to have the ability to control crowds (Move The Crowd -Rakim). To do that, one must master language and understand the connotations of his or her choice of words on the intended audience. When an emcee enters a stage, he or she should get a sense of the audience to approach the stage appropriately.  Artists who can’t do this are usually considered to be “whacked”, lacking fundamental skills. This usually happens in a “hip-hop” or “rap” setting, where image, and ignorance is marketed rather than “passion for language, poetry and music.” I love the potential of hip hop/rap artistry, and I choose not tinker with matters based on fake music business connections, egos, stereotypes. My perspective that music is art means that Insight may not be on on a pop chart or with the “in crowd. Though its essence is as pure as poetry and it’s culture has unified youth worldwide, the misunderstanding of its fundamentals slows its acceptance on an academic level. The greatest speakers were emcees including Gahndi, Jesus, Mohamed, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X. Though this may not make them hip-hop artists, no one can deny that they have moved more crowds than any hip-hop artist so far; they moved the world. The lesson to be learned here is that hip-hop/rap genre still has much room to grow, but the forum must expand.  Although creative writing may not be easily embraced in major markets, I encourage artists to be themselves instead of trying to fit into what seems to be standard in this industry.  Hip-hip/rap has been hijacked to the point where it’s nothing more than shoes to match a new jacket; it’s jewelry or an expensive watch. That’s not to say I don’t like commercial music. Of coarse some of the most talented rappers are mainstream. There is just no balance on a major level to reflect the talented artists that I see and the demand for it. Where does the passionate writer fit in? I think I found an answer by removing the music. The next time you watch a music video, mute the volume to get an idea what point is being made.  Read lyrics or listen to the cappella of your favorite song. Experience the artists creative writing and embrace the true essence of it’s poetic innocence.

Andre Todman
>>>sight

2012

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