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Don’t stop the music! African American Music History pt-4

Don’t stop the music

By Janice Fralin-Steele



Music has always been and always will be around.  Many faces of music have changed but then so have the sounds.  Music as we’ve known it has changed tremendously.  The music that is created today is a far cry from what most of us have grown up with.  It’s hard for this younger generation to imagine a time before CD’s and MP3 players.  There was a time when music was pure unadulterated which came from raw talented individuals. 

Little boys and girls dreamed of being musicians and singers.  For generations this country has produced many of the world’s greatest musical minds.  People such as Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Prince and a host of other great musicians, of which the list is to long to share.  They all had one thing in common they all freely shared their love of music through the playing of musical instruments.  Their blood sweat and tears could be felt in their music. 

There is a respect that is given to someone who can share his or her love of music through a musical instrument.   Today’s musicians are becoming a dying bread.  Our children today are replacing instruments with many other things.  The few that pursue music are becoming rappers.  It is harder to find children today that want to take up the idea of being a musician.  Many of our school systems in this country have cut out music being taught in school. 

In some parts of the country music departments  are  a  thing of the past.  Even those schools that teach music have families that don’t have the money to buy instruments let alone rent them. Between the influence of rap on our children and the lack of qualified music teachers the face of music has changed forever. 

Our countries present circumstance has helped to influence many lives.  When we look around at the music industry we are seeing fewer of our young black males and females as musicians and more as rappers.  The idea of easy fast money and being rich has caused our youth to turn to rap.  Many have decided that the cost is more than they are willing to pay. 

What they don’t know is that anything worthwhile takes hard work and determination.  Most of them are not interested in it for the love of rap as a form of expression but they are caught up in the excitement they think rapping brings. Don’t get me wrong there is a place for rap in music and there are many poets in the rap game to whom I give much respect to like some of the pioneers of rap. 

Our youth of today must also understand that every young person can’t rap! And that rapping can’t take the place of musicians. This generation has this idea that everything has to happen for them right now. Too many of them are chasing instant fame and gratification.  Many don’t peruse being musicians because they know it will take hard work. 

Learning a musical instrument has a way of making you use a part of your brain you might otherwise not use.  Intern this new way of learning ability carries over into other areas of your life, which increase your intellect.  There is something magical about listening to a musician playing a musical piece.  Our African American heritage as musicians came from street corner musicians, church choir  members and individuals who had a message to share.

The concern here is that many of our future Miles Davis’ and Aretha Franklin’s will never be.  It is a must that our Black communities across the country encourage those young musicians to share with the world the music in their heart.  We must not allow the talented creative minds to give up.  We must help them to never loose site of the big picture.  That musical gifts are put in their life by God, and his intention is for them to share that talent with the world.