The August Bloggers for Peace challenge on Everyday Gurus this month stumped me, I’ll admit it. While I love music—I grew up learning classical singing, had a piano at home which my mother played by ear, have learnt piano and guitar and have an eclectic personal music collection—I didn’t know what I could add to a discussion about how music can bring or promote peace.
I could state the obvious: Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon and loads of hippie songs from the 1960s and so on. But everyone knows that.
Music is probably the world’s most universally understood medium, thus it’s arguably the most powerful. The challenge, and my inability to come up with a worthwhile contribution, made me think, What do I really know about modern music?
This week, when my regular email from Coursera arrived, I clicked on it, and skimmed the list of courses offered. (If you haven’t heard, Coursera is an online organisation that offers free university-level courses from many different universities to anyone who wants to sign up). My eye hit ‘The History of Rock Music’, and now I’m enrolled for the seven-week free music appreciation course starting Monday.
I know you don’t need to do a course to appreciate music, but I’m interested in finding out more of the background to great US music from the 1950s on. The course instructor has done the hard work for me, and promises I will discover musical tastes and directions I never knew existed. It’s a free course, so I have absolutely nothing to lose.
Plus, it seems to me that spending a few hours a week listening to wonderful music will help promote harmony in my life–in the same way as my painting takes me away from rules, words, work, timetables, worries. I will keep you posted on how it goes!
Update, October 20: I’ve finished the first ‘History of Music’ course on Coursera and got 100%! I’ve now enrolled for part two of the course coming up soon. It was fascinating the way the course covered so much in such a short time. I’d imagine the most difficult part was deciding what to leave out. I can now appreciate much more strongly the musicians of the 1960s, who I’d not had much time for previously.