Student Question

How is music used today to propagate both good and bad teachings?

Expert Answers

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One of the things about music is that each individual that listens to a piece of music can interpret it in whatever way they understand the music. The artist has written it to mean what they what it to mean but like other art it is still left up to the interpretation of the listener to take what they can from it.

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I think that music, like all art, can reveal aspects of reality that can be seen as both good and not so good elements of being in the world.  Much of music can be used to reveal personal pain and trauma.  In this way, music can be seen as almost cathartic aspects of personal experience.  Music that discusses loss, breakup, separation, or abuse can reveal and serve as testimony to the human spirit.  By the same example, some might point to this as so- called "bad" teachings because of the very nature of what is being revealed.  For example, if we examine the song, "Numb" by Linkin Park, the so called "good" teachings present is that the song gives voice to the predicament of those who are isolated.  Yet, the very same reasoning could be used to examine its bad elements present because it discusses aspects of reality that are not desirable.  Along these lines, many can and have argued that gangster rap is an example of music that depicts harsh conditions of life, allowing it to teach "good" and depict aspects of being that could be seen as "bad."

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