In My Life

As soon as a child is born, the parents of the newborn begin to go through a constant adjustment of learning about how to deal with and raise their kid. They have to constantly adjust their schedules, belief systems and learning because their child is rapidly changing and growing at the same time. Sometimes those periods of adjustment are for a few weeks, a few months or they can be for a few years. Depends on the child as to the time frame of what stage they will enter, eventually grow out of and start a new one. Once parents adjust to a set of their kid’s habits, new ones pop up and the adjustments start all over again.

We hear about the “terrible twos” which refers to a common occurrence where children at around the two year stage begin to act up more than before. For the first two years of their lives, most kids have remained relatively easy to handle. Parents have adjusted from the initial joy of parenthood to the hard reality of how to effectively raise their children. Unless you’ve raised your own child, it’s almost impossible to relate that experience to people who have not had to figure out and cope with the ups and downs inherent in parenthood.

I always felt that the successful parent learns right along with their kids. By that I mean people with rigid standards may find that you need a significant degree of flexibility if you want to successfully prepare your offspring for adulthood. Whether it was easier to bring up a kid in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s is something I don’t know. What I do know is that today’s kids are exposed to many more diversions than my generation. I believe today’s children are taught in school with more sophisticated methods than I was exposed to. And I also believe that parents today are more sophisticated in how to bring up their children than we were. That being said, what does child rearing in 2012 have to do with music in 2012?

For me, rock’n’roll was always a simple process. You heard, you saw, you bought the music and was satisfied. Upon my musical coming of age, FM radio became the rage. FM opened new doors. It was almost commercial free as opposed to the drone of ads on AM radio. FM was a radical departure from Top 40 radio played on tinny sounding AM stations. You could listen to your favorite FM station for the first time on your stereo system through larger speakers. FM was cool and AM was not. All the new rock acts came to our ears through the FM stations. On those stations like WNEW-FM in New York, you could hear for example, John Lennon being interviewed, find out where to get tickets locally for the Grateful Dead concert at the Fillmore East and know that on a certain date, the new Crosby, Stills & Nash album would be released and ready for sale at your favorite music store. All of which was surrounded by lengthy album cuts of music by the best artists of the day played by knowledgeable dj’s like the late Scott Muni in New York.

So you listened attentively to FM; got information about your favorite group. You could either find out where to buy tickets for a concert or know when the latest record was being released. So even if you didn’t have enough money to buy concert tickets, you could buy the latest LP album. You could then take the record home and put it on the turntable; adjust the Koss headphones snugly to both your ears, turn up the volume and the rest of the day simply faded away. It was easy. As long as you had enough money to at least buy the record and play it though the stereo, that was all you needed.

I was told by my daughter that today she no longer buys CD’s or records, as I still refer to them. She like so my others, simply downloads music. I actually like that business model and have taken advantage of downloading a considerable amount of music, as well. I am readjusting.

Attending concerts was something I did quite often. Of course, growing up in the New York City area, it was virtually impossible not to go to concerts. So many venues, so many great acts coming through town made it seem like a veritable candy store for a kid with a sweet tooth. Tickets to shows were usually easy to secure. However, as time went on and as prices steadily rose, attendance at some shows became impossible for me due to either price, scarcity of available general admission seats and oh yes, prices charged by scalpers. Now we have Stub Hub. I have used this service and much to my amazement, they have always had what seemed scarce tickets available for mostly a reasonable price. I am readjusting.

So I understand downloading. I understand Stub Hub. I understand Spotify. I understand all that new stuff. What’s more, I accept these changes and have readjusted my thinking to accept all of them. Time marches on, Change is good. Need to modernize. The internet is the best. Yeah, I get it!

And then I heard about Stage It, Gyroskope and Evinar. Apparently what these companies do is use the internet to sell concert videos to the public. In other words, you don’t have to go to the concert hall to see the latest musical acts. And the price per ticket to see a concert though these internet sites is priced between $6 – $10. Forget the crowds. Forget the $10 beer. Forget trying to see in the windows of the tour bus. Forget the goofy guy who inevitably sits in front of you at the concert and makes an ass of himself. All of these inconveniences go away because you never leave your house to see your favorite acts perform.

And how does this affect the artist? If you’re not leaving your house, why should they? It’s great for them because they can sell a whole load of tickets without ever leaving their homes. Not having to board a tour bus or sleep in multiple hotel rooms or eat road food or be travel delayed because of bad weather and with the benefit of not leaving their families for extended times are all good things for music acts. You’re home and now they can be too.

When it comes to music, the more venues to listen, discover and experience a performance, the better. However, for me, the concert experience, much like the record buying experience is a rewarding process. It’s part of the procedure. I don’t want those aspects of the total music experience to go away.

Of course, we are all aware that the prices for beer and food at your local concert hall are outrageous, although they do sell a lot of beer there, you can drink the same brand as served at Madison Square Garden in the comfort of your own home at far less of a price. You can buy a package of Hebrew National Franks for less than one of them costs at Staples Center including the buns. And how does the cost of a Coca-Cola at Verizon Center compare to what that same amount of money can buy at the local grocery store? You know that answer.

So in the end, the price of concerts on the internet through the above mentioned sites are far less expensive than seeing those same acts at a concert hall in your town. And the costs of refreshments are considerably less expensive away from the concert hall. And it’s a lot easier to sit on your couch than travel by car and/or rail to see entertainment. And for the artist, they never have to leave home, while at the same time pick up some easy cash. I get it, but part of the music experience is “being there.” “Living Room Concerts” as they are called make all the sense in the world and there is a place for them as we find more music to like. But for the artists I really like, I’d rather be there than watch them on my laptop as my cell phone is ringing or the neighbors’ dog is barking or some kid is knocking at the front door selling Girl Scout cookies.