Music as art unifies cultures, has power to open minds

The phrase “art for art’s sake” has always stood out to me ever since I took a music appreciation course here at NKU a few years ago. Oxford Dictionaries define the phrase as: “used to convey the idea that the chief or only aim of a work of art is the self-expression of the individual artist who creates it.”

In other words, the only purpose of art should be for artists to express themselves. I have come across other slightly different definitions for “art for art’s sake,” but I believe there is a much deeper meaning than what you see on the surface. I agree with the idea of how important self-expression is, but I think art has surpassed being solely confined.

When I think about the term “art for art’s sake,” it reminds me of the artists who I believe make music for the love, respect and well-being of the music itself, as well as the fans, not just to make money as a business by selling out to whatever is considered popular day-by-day.

The idea of self-expression by diverse individuals makes music that much better, but I don’t know why people would want to limit the magic and power that music has.

Art, specifically music, has the power to make people happy or sad, peaceful or violent, and even relaxed or energized. But, more importantly… It brings people together who are from different backgrounds and cultures in a positive and inspiring way.

To me, that eliminates “individualism” and we have proof from the special ceremony– the 2014 Grammy Awards– which this year took place Jan. 26. This event brought people from all over the world together to celebrate something the world would be lost without: music.

There are too many legendary music and pop icons to name, but it was ineffaceable watching the diverse collaborations of older and younger artists throughout the entire show, from the performances to the different people paired up to announce the awards.

Even though some of the entertainers could barely move around or use their voice, the newer generation of artists were completely ecstatic by the chance of working with them. You even got to see a star-studded audience, mostly from different cultures, but all enjoying the music and dancing simultaneously to music outside of their own genre.

Before opening my eyes and learning about the history of specific genres in multiple music and pop culture courses, I was very close-minded, like a lot of people out there.

I didn’t particularly like reading poetry at first, but I have come to love studying it and learning about it. Now, I feel the same way about all kinds of music.

I always loved discussing and arguing about music. I still do, but now I have learned to appreciate it a lot more in general, even if it is not my preferred style. I’ll still joke with friends about our musical differences, but it’s all in fun.

I encourage close-minded people to expand their horizons when it comes to different genres, as well as fanbases. You might be surprised by what you’ll like after you learn about it. I consider myself lucky for being able to witness artists of my time and having access to the ones before me. I have truly learned to appreciate music as art. This is history being made and music will outlive us all.