Music, American Idol

I got hooked on watching American Idol when my adorable, and actually quite discerning, youngest daughter Arlene convinced me to watch it. At first I had too hard a time with Simon Cowell. It was difficult to get past the sense of what felt like cruelty that hurt my heart too much. But, I did get past that to enjoy the experience of watching these kids coming from anywhere and nowhere to sing their hearts out, looking for a break. So, unashamedly, I have watched this show faithfully and with great interest since Season 2. I am not sure at this point how many years that has been, but several.

I can say from my perspective, and from what I think I am hearing in a broader light, that this year the talent is at another level altogether. I feel like writing about this not so much to express my personal satisfaction, but because of something I feel emerging from the field of our collective psyche that tonight I am excited about. The kids that are showcased this year are eclectic – very. Deep traditions of music are represented which the young artists seem to be students of at the level of something pure and profound in them, way beyond the need for attention or popularity. The music calls to them, and they express it with jaw-dropping soulfulness and talent. I am watch with awe and true respect.

In terms of my own training and passion for dialogue, a method I learned and have taught developed by physicist David Bohm that assists the human mind in listening to, opening to and respecting very differing points of view, I felt tonight while watching American Idol that the whole nation, the listening audience is taking a huge step toward dialogue. From deep in our collective soul emerge these voices – from jazz, heavy metal, country, folk, rock, gospel, blues – children with these backgrounds IN them, expressing them as though their lives depended upon them. These do not, to me, seem to be kids crying out for a career, but kids determined to give voice to what is moving in them. They are not a monochromatic expression of American taste, but of a stirringly diverse and powerfully rooted communication.

I am not eloquent enough to say what music is, does and says that surpasses every other language, but I feel it and know it. Tonight I am sincerely moved by what I witness emergent in this release of beauty that I feel is an eclectic, diverse and guileless thread in our national soul, delivered by these young people in a popular medium that is considered way too commercial to be soulful. I choose to believe that people are drawn to watch this more because of a sincere hunger for what music provides, and these talents express, than for other reasons.

One Response to “Music, American Idol”

  1. Darita-Rose Alden Says:

    As a mother of musicians–composers, singers, players, performers, both, I really appreciate this. So articulate. And good to be reminded of dialogue. Reminds me of things I’ve learned about through Quakerism–Non-violent Communication, and the Alternatives to Violence Program. And, of course, still co-counseling. I’m so glad that people are figuring out ways to do this. We have to get beyond our fears, griefs, angers, and the mind maps that are pretty firmly in place by about age 14, when, as Ann Ree said, the ego has fully come in. Blessings, Tayria.

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