Who Cares about Music? Issues of Value Given the enormity of young people's concerns, who cares about music? Why do I harp on this aspect of life? In this book I have tried to emphaSize the range that music and dance have to offer and, further, have empha- sized the value of participatory music and dance as, by design, the most potentially available to the most people. So who cares? One of the first things adults in the United States ask when they initially meet is "What do you do?" and they expect to hear about profeSSional oc- cupation, not the fact that you are an avid tennis player, gardener, kayaker, 231
CHAPTER EIGHT contra dancer, or garage-band guitarist if the activity is not the means of your livelihood, even if it is at the center of your life. Work is considered se- rious, important, and basic to identity; leisure, by definition, is less impor- tant and to be fit in around work. These two culturally relative concepts strongly shape how people in the capitalist cosmopolitan formation spend, conceptualize, and value their time, which is to say, their lives. The ethics that promote economic competitiveness as the key to suc- cess deemphasize another necessary side of being successful and happy: the social bonding, nurturing, and cooperation upon which adult as well as infant survival depends. There is a saying in the United States that "few people on their deathbeds wished they bad spent more time in the office." Yet many people do not live day to day with this thought i)) mind , and th underlying confusion of exchange value with value in general powerfully influences many fields of social practice. It is striking how few aspects of life the music business students were able name that should not be associ- ated with money. By contrast, Anthony Seeger (1979) describes how the Suya of the Am- azon rain forest are able to meet their subsistence needs in relatively few hours a day and how they spend a large portion of their time in ceremony, music making, dancing, and other social activities. Nonprofessional, non- specialized music making, dancing, sports (e.g., log rolling), and ceremo- nies are centrally important occupations in this society, reversing the "liv- ing to work" ethos to one of working so that they can live expressive social lives. In the Aymara peasant communities of Conima, Peru, reciprocity rather than competition constitutes a foundational habit of thought that influences many fields of social practice. Acts of reciprocity and the idea of cause and effect in relation to the Earth,2 spiritual forces, and other com- munity members pervade daily social life. For Aymara peasants, daily life is hard, but this is balanced with festivals on the average of once a month in which communal musical performance and davcing are highly valued activities that bring joy and excitement to life.
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