Words Matter (or, What Is “Serious” Music Anyway?)

Oh dear, I picked a nit when I probably shouldn’t have. 😐

It was over using the word “silly” to describe artistic creation (in this case, music). I have a problem labeling some musicians “serious” and others not.

What does a serious musician look like?
How do they behave?
Are they scowling all the time?
Do they sport complicated facial hair designs?
Are they playing “difficult” music?
Playing every note they can in every song as fast as they can?
Maybe they’re making music that only one person in 100,000 can appreciate.
Or perhaps they are “serious” because they play “classical” music.

None of those things are indications of “serious” music or a “serious” musician. If you dedicate your life to creating something, you’re serious by definition. No matter what you create.

I spent many years creating and performing music in genres that were (and still are) trivialized and marginalized. I’ve listened countless times, as countless people have dismissed what I’ve done as not “serious.” I’ve always believed in what I’ve done, so I could withstand a lot of criticism. But that doesn’t mean the criticizers were right to criticize.

And being transgender, believe me when I say that I’m up to my neck in the power of words and how they’re used. But I don’t really enjoy debating things. I used to. I used to live for it. Now, I’d rather go look at a bird or something.

Words can be tools, or words can be weapons. Too often, we casually toss them around like hand grenades without even being aware that we’re doing it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *