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Music identity and the importance of Music Spaces

Written by on December 6, 2018

The importance of having music identity


Why are musical spaces important? 

Music spaces are unique in that they allow for anyone to have somewhere to present them self with music.  The idea of a space is for self expression. Street music has probably been around as long as there have been streets. The economics of playing for music next to an open guitar case has an ancient simplicity. There is no middleman, no stockholder, and no investment bank involved in the process; just a pure and direct exchange between artist and audience, and this might be why street music is so important.

So it begs the question, why aren’t their more spaces in NYC where music can be expressed? It triggers emotions, nerves, feelings and mood. When you approached one of these musical spaces, they tend to change how you were feeling that very moment. In NYC where I am, these spaces are very limited, mostly to the subway, some random pop up spot, times square. It’s never consistent and it’s usually when you least expect it, and exploring the city do you come across this type of space. 

Lori explained how she is trying to understand culture’s function in her work, “I think [culture] is sort of a consciousness of the way that people think, the way they understand the place that they live in and the way that they interact with one another. It’s the way they express their interaction or the way they sing, the way they write, or the way they perform. It’s a way of internalizing and understanding the way things are. And to change that internal hegemonic perception of [culture] is a big piece, I think. Social change then to me is identifying more of the actual policies, practices, and laws. … With that definition, the Neutral Zone is really functioning more on the cultural change [side]. It’s raising the consciousness of young people, [affirming] that they are competent, capable individuals, that they should have ownership. They don’t have to wait to be adults.”


Lori Roddy: Neutral Zone – Los Angeles

The idea of self care and music?

      We respond to music on a deep and fundamental level – even below our level of consciousness.  It can affect our bodies and brains in profound ways without us needing to do much more than sit and listen. 

We all have the ability and capacity to respond to music (despite what your crusty, old music teacher might have implied in grade school). This is because music is a human invention – made by humans, for humans – and has been around for many, many moons. There are even some who suggest that humans may have been singing before they ever spoke a word. To quote Oliver Sacks from his fascinating book Musicophillia: Tales of Music and the Brain  – “music is part of being human.” 

The study of music and the brain is a growing area of research. Here are just a few of the cool things researchers are discovering about music:

What can you do? 

*Help get the knowledge out there today! 

*Reach out to your government official and spread the word

*Get them to release the rules and support more open musical spaces in the city.  Let them know it helps lighten the tone of the city and bings more happiness. 

*Post on your social media using the hashtag #MusicalSpacesAreImportantNYC

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