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Where are all the real musicians?

Like Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” In music, this is totally true. Today more than ever, it’s easier to find and listen to great music. Digital technology makes it possible to record and share tons of songs. And it seems like everybody has an iPod or some kind of MP3 player. In fact, the average teenager listens to music about two to four hours per day. Honestly, music has never been so cool … and it’s never been more accessible.

 So why is it still so hard to actually play music? I mean, with all our new technology, why can’t we just pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and actually make a song? Well, that’s because technology has done a better job of helping us listen to music … not actually play it.

Don’t get me wrong—technology is awesome. It’s given us things like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. But no matter how cool those games are, we’re still just faking it, right? I mean, it’s just a glorified air guitar. Which, honestly, ain’t that great. Real musicians know that actually playing an instrument is a lot more fun than just pretending like you can.

 But the truth is that “real” musicians are going extinct. Which is why, in the past few years, some people have gotten nervous. Music teachers are dropping like flies and schools across the country have been cutting their music classes. People still like the arts, of course. It’s just that they’re abandoning music for things like painting, theater, and dance. The arts in general haven’t suffered; just music.

Why is that? Well, if you’ve ever tried to play an instrument, the answer is sort of obvious. Music is hard to learn. And that’s because modern music education isn’t very modern at all. It’s totally outdated. In fact, it hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages. That’s right, we’re still stuck in medieval times when it comes to studying music. And, frankly, that’s just sad.

Unlike in many other subjects, music teachers are very resistant to change. Not everyone is … but most. And I suspect that’s because a lot of music teachers don’t exactly know what they’re doing. They’ve just memorized a lot of things, so they have a hard time passing on any useful information. And it looks like they’re not about to change. So more people today would rather learn about acting, dance, or graphic design. At least those subjects make a little more sense.

 Real musicians are becoming rare because the old way of learning just isn’t good enough anymore. Let’s face it, “modern” music education could improve. People today are more visual. And they’re more impatient. They expect results … and fast. If music is to survive, and (dare I say it?) get even better, then music education has to keep up with these changes. In other words, it is time for a revolution.

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