Although I have found some great apps and sites to learn how to play guitar, I am missing the human element that makes music-making so much fun. I’m used to having lessons with teachers in-person or playing and singing in an ensemble.
This led me to ask what is it about making music with others that is different from learning alone? Do I learn better in-person? Is the social experience separate from the musical experience or do they work together? So I decided to investigate.
Thanks to a study by Walter J Freeman III, published by UC Berkeley and shared through Creative Commons, I’ve found some answers. Freeman concludes that even though knowledge is formed in individual brains, “rhythmic behavioral activities that are induced by drum beats and music can lead to altered states of consciousness, through which mutual trust among members of societies is engendered.” He further states that “music together with dance have co-evolved biologically and culturally to serve as a technology of social bonding.” The entire article is fascinating, and you should definitely check it out for yourself. When people make music together, it fosters trust and bonding in ways that language cannot. The social and human experience are critical to the music-making experience.
My goal for the upcoming week is to play “Brown Eyed Girl” with a friend who already knows how to play guitar. I’m hoping that this will motivate me to continue practicing and to bring the fun back to learning and playing music. When I look back to my very first post about this project, my goal was to learn how to play some campfire songs to share with my family and friends. I didn’t simply want to learn a song; I wanted to use music to connect with people.
No matter how great technology becomes, there is no substitution for the human experience.