You’ve certainly heard of air pollution – but have you heard of music pollution? You probably haven’t because it’s a term I’ve coined for something that is a pervasive problem in our society. I am very interested in all of your opinions on this subject – and particularly viewers and readers from around the world because I’m not sure if other counties have this problem to the extent we have in the U.S.A.
So what is music pollution? Well everywhere you go in America there is music playing: restaurants, stores, sporting events, movie theaters even parking lots! Almost everywhere you go in America is filled with music. You might think that since I am a musician I would be in heaven. Yet nothing could be further from the truth!
Obviously, music can offer a phenomenal experience and I am a big proponent of people being exposed to different types of music. But having no choice in the music that is being played and having it played constantly wherever you go makes you learn how to tune out music. People get used to hearing music so much that they learn that it’s OK to ignore it. Many times you’ll see people talking at concerts or texting on their phones because they have learned how to tune out music.
I do not have the ability of being able to ignore music. Everywhere I go where there is music playing I break it down analyzing every note because that’s what I’ve been trained to do. It’s almost impossible for me to ignore music and I imagine this can be a problem for other musicians. I personally would much rather be able to put all my attention to the people around me and what I’m doing. When I listen to music, I like to focus 100% of my attention.
Listening is an active experience and we have a whole generation of people who are being brought up learning how to tune out music. This is extremely troubling in concerts where people don’t listen to the music and become a distraction to others.
Certainly there are times and places for background music, but it has truly been taken to an extreme level in modern American culture. Everywhere you go has music playing in your ears and you can’t escape it. The worst example of this is Christmas shopping – everywhere you go has the same music playing over and over again and it can become extremely tedious.
I am very interested in whether or not I am alone in my feelings about this subject. I really believe that music pollution is detrimental for future generations and will lead to music being less regarded as an art form and more as something that is relegated to the background.
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