“It’s not about being perfect…”

14 Feb

At the Grammy Awards this past Sunday, the band Foo Fighters won the awards for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and a few others. The lead singer, Dave Grohl, said something incredible during an acceptance speech: “The human element of making music it’s what’s most important…It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding absolutely correct. It’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [pointing to his heart] and it’s about what goes on in here [pointing to his head].”

The music industry, and its ever-more refining production techniques, have resulted in a proliferation of recorded music that no human can really, truly sound like. When “regular” people listen to that music–and compare the music they make to that recorded product–they come away thinking that only people who sing or play like the recording have the right to make music. And, since that “music” is created by a team of technicians, computers, and other equipment, the truth is that no one person can ever sound like the recording. It’s an impossible standard that leaves the millions of musical people in this world feeling like they aren’t musical at all.

Baloney! “It’s not about being perfect…It’s about what goes on in [your heart] and it’s about what goes on in [your head].” If we can impart to our children the core belief that the music they make is valuable in it’s own right, exactly as it is–without alterations or corrections or auto-tuning (please, no auto-tuning)–then we will have given them the power to express their musical selves, the freedom to enjoy the music around them, and the armor to deflect the cultural expectations of unachieveable perfection. Now, that’s something that’s pretty close to perfect, if you ask me.

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