A LONG TIME AGO…
Welcome! My name is Phil, and I’m really excited to be partnering with Sean on this adventure we call Suggestion Vox. I wanted to write a little bit about who we are, and why we’re here in the first place. I can hardly believe it, but we met almost 13 years ago through my brother, who at the time was attending The College of New Jersey. In between visits to the dining hall and bouts of Halo, Sean and I would talk about nerdy music theory things, and so we immediately got along really well. It was only recently, though, that we started collaborating on pieces, and the results have been pretty stellar. And we don't just create music, we teach it, too. We do these things because we both feel so strongly about their importance. On that front, there's a bit of good news... and a bit of bad.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that music is more accessible than ever! It's easier to find new music, easier to learn it, and easier to make your own. For example, music discovery is as simple as firing up your favorite streaming service (I prefer Xbox Music, but there are of course bigger players like Spotify) and browsing through millions of artists. No longer is it necessary to run out to the record store, sift through unorganized shelves of albums, and when you find something you like, buy it in the hopes that it's something worthwhile. Of course, there's a certain charm to that process that some people enjoy, but that's a discussion for another time. Likewise, the rise of the internet has enabled people to learn anything from music history to instrument technique. Much of this content is available for free.
Finally, the tools for music creation have been made almost comically simple to get. Most people can’t afford a $100,000 grand piano that you'd find in Alicia Keys' studio. But most people could afford a $100 software version of the instrument. No normal person could afford a big mixing console, but an iPad app that costs as much as a cup of coffee? That’s doable. This is a luxury that has been made possible only through the amazing advances in computers over the past 20 years. Obviously, the tools don’t make the musician, as I'll be talking about soon. Still, there’s been an increase in the amount of great music – the truly creative, quality stuff – from people who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to produce it.
THE BAD NEWS
Unfortunately, kids in school are taught that language arts, math, and science are of prime importance. Anything else is an afterthought, not that any school administrator would admit to that. Maybe it’s not even intentional, who knows? Whatever the case, it’s a tragic oversight, and one that needs to be questioned.
I mean, seriously, it’s a problem. The notion that you can't make a living from music is completely wrong-headed, but I worry that it becomes true simply because that’s what people want to think. It’s like global warming – almost everyone agrees it’s a huge problem, but no one wants to step up to the plate and do something about it; everyone likes to say music is important, but when it comes to education, people want their kids to be doctors and pharmacists.
YOU SHOULD LOVE MUSIC TOO
Can you imagine movies – you know, that multi-billion dollar industry – without music or audio? Or what about the latest mobile game craze? Audio is an enormous part of the experience. In fact, this article about a recent update to the Facebook app shows how those little sounds you hear become part of the brand identity. They are critical pieces of the user experience. And Facebook, a social network with more than a billion active users, saw fit to implement an improved audio experience.
There are so many aspects of our lives that are affected by music, and more generally speaking, by audio design. Because if you’re really honest, it’s easy to see that this stuff is important, not some head-in-the-clouds nonsense for the self-indulgent. So please show some love, in whatever capacity that may be.