Just as reading novels or short stories will make you fall in love with written language and ultimately enable you to more effectively communicate as well as comprehend the world around you, a similarly immersive experience with music will make you fall in love with listening and ultimately enable you to more effectively pay attention to others.
A musical reflexivity exists between genre and locale, a fact that is supported by concepts like: “Chicago” versus [Mississippi] “Delta” blues or “West Coast” versus “East Coast” jazz. In this paradigm, musicians, especially those who improvise, can act as a nexus of many stylistic affectations that might be realized in a unique artistic voice.
Although the president of Local 802 implied that “abandon[ing] an accessible repertoire … resulted in financial disaster” for New York City Opera, most NYCO premiere performances I have attended over the years were packed. In fact, every opera company in the United States would better serve American audiences by presenting more contemporary American operas.
I have had a somewhat ambiguous relationship to music education throughout my life. Early guitar lessons were more of a straitjacket than a path to musical creativity, and I ran away from the teacher during my sole piano lesson. I only studied composition formally for one semester and never did anything I was assigned to do. Yet I no longer brag about being self-taught, because many teachers have influenced me.