7. What are the two views about music and the other arts?


Jul, 23 2023

The Essentialist Point of View

When it comes to the essentialist perspective on music and the arts, it's all about the inherent value and fundamental essence that these pursuits provide. Essentialists believe that music and other arts are inherently valuable and essential to human life, expressing the deepest aspects of our humanity.

Essentialists argue that music and other arts are not just entertainment or frivolity, but rather a crucial part of our human experience. They say that these art forms have the power to evoke strong emotions, stimulate thought, and even change our perception of the world.

Understanding Music as a Universal Language

For essentialists, music is a universal language that can transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries. It's a way for people from different backgrounds to connect on a deeply emotional level. The melodies, harmonies, and rhythms found in music are understood and appreciated by people all around the world, making it a truly global form of expression.

The Power of Art in Reflecting and Shaping Society

Essentialists also see other arts as mirrors of society, reflecting the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of people at a given time. But more than just reflecting society, the arts can also shape it, influencing our thoughts, values, and actions. This transformative power of the arts is what makes them so important and essential, according to the essentialist viewpoint.

The Instrumentalist Point of View

On the other hand, instrumentalists see music and other arts as means to an end, rather than ends in themselves. They believe that these pursuits have practical value and serve specific purposes, such as teaching skills, promoting cultural understanding, or providing therapeutic benefits.

Instrumentalists argue that music and other arts are not just for aesthetic enjoyment but can also have tangible benefits. They see these art forms as tools that can be used to achieve certain outcomes or goals.

Music as an Educational Tool

From the instrumentalist perspective, music can be a powerful educational tool. Learning to play an instrument or sing, for example, can teach discipline, patience, and perseverance. It can also enhance cognitive skills, such as memory and attention, and foster creativity and emotional expression.

The Therapeutic Benefits of the Arts

Instrumentalists also highlight the therapeutic benefits of the arts. Art therapy, for instance, can help people express and process difficult emotions, reduce stress, and improve mental health. Similarly, music therapy can aid in physical rehabilitation, improve mood, and enhance quality of life for people with various health conditions.

Art as a Vehicle for Cultural Understanding and Social Change

Furthermore, instrumentalists see art as a vehicle for cultural understanding and social change. Through art, we can learn about different cultures, histories, and perspectives, promoting empathy and tolerance. Art can also be a powerful medium for social commentary and activism, challenging norms and advocating for change.

Conclusion: A Balanced Perspective

While the essentialist and instrumentalist perspectives on music and the arts may seem at odds, they actually complement each other. Recognizing the inherent value of these pursuits, as well as their practical benefits, can provide a more balanced and comprehensive understanding of their importance in our lives.

Music and the arts enrich our lives in many ways, from providing aesthetic enjoyment and emotional expression, to teaching skills and promoting wellbeing. Whether we see them as ends in themselves or means to an end, there's no denying their significant role in our personal and collective experience.