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Real instruments or real noise...

posted May 11, 2013, 3:13 PM by Keith Johnson   [ updated May 30, 2013, 6:11 PM ]
"It's difficult to appreciate the artistry and beauty of real instrumental music -- or the talent of those who create it -- when you're constantly inundated with music from electronic devices." (American Teacher, Feb. 2006).
I'd never quite thought of this, but after reading this, I have to agree that students I know are saturated with electronic noise (music). Given the chance, they'll open up iTunes or Garage Band and easily play or create original electronic sounds. It's fun and it's nice in a virtual sandbox sort of way, and yet it is electronic (mechanical) sound, not created by an instrument, but from a computer. It's not the warm sound of an acoustic guitar. There is a website devoted to trying to help this current generation of students who are stuck on electronic sounds, and don't know the sound of a cello, clarinet, autoharp, or flute. The project and website are called "The Plight of the American Music Initiative" (at and its aim is to make up some lost ground in the fight to orient students to the authentic sound of genuine instruments, versus the manufactured, digital sounds of a computer. One of the modest goals of this movement is to connect with hip hop and rap artists and encourage them to use real instruments in their recordings. Without their effort, these people believe that traditional instruments are in danger of obsolescence.