Its always been acknowledged that there are intrinsic qualities to the study of music. But to go to school and make a career of it has always been a questionable decision. The precarity of employment juxtaposed with the liberty of a creative occupation. Going back to Moorish Spain, the great Maimonides who took the hard line against music and song of all sorts, yet at the same time counseled the Egyptian sultan who suffered from depression ( black bile he called it ) to enhance his psychological well-being through the arts, which included music as part of a maintenance of good health. Though as a general rule, he thought music was of questionable moral virtue unless there was a spiritual element. What would he have thought of Jimi Hendrix?
Although Maimonidies left the back door open to music, the modern day student is equally in need of “a guide for the perplexed”. The business model of music, the structural changes, have made careers even less certain. We may be at that stage that Donald Kuspit called “the end of art” and even music as a strictly business proposition, a monetized value, does not seem totally convincing. We have bright people forsaking careers in fields thy like to take jobs in finance and investment because the money is the best anywhere. The value for the community and society be dammed, the “creative destruction” and wealth creation of finance capitalism will drain the arts; it won’t kill it, but its going back around the kitchen table, friends and family and under the radar.
Nevertheless, Maimonides contends, the Sages urge this “unique human being,” that is, this human being “who directs all the powers of his soul solely toward God,” who finds himself in this rare situation to listen to the songs and melodies even though he is thereby “from a certain point of view … commit[ting] a transgression,” since he is acting “for the sake of Heaven,” inasmuch as his sole goal in engaging in this activity is “the truth.” We thus see manifested here the subordination of obedience to virtue. To restrain the appetitive power, the Law forbids listening to songs and melodies. That is, disobeying this command will lead to moral vice. Read More:http://www.edah.org/backend/coldfusion/search/document.cfm?