Roy Joel Pérez Sahagún is a musician that comes from Guadalajara, one of the most traditional parts of Mexico, also a city that is suffering from the unstoppable violence in this country. He is currently studying a Master of Arts in Guitar Performance at the University of Pécs. The aim of this interview is to have a broader view about music nowadays and how the sensitivity of the art is important for the development of the society.
Please tell me what is your opinion of the music nowadays? I am talking about the popular music that you listen to everywhere. Do you like it as a musician?
My opinion is that this type of music is managed by the big producers and they are looking to secure their investments, so to do it they are very rigid with the formulas, if you look at the top artists, the formula they use is more or less the same. They use four chords, maybe the instruments are changed, and have collaborations with the singers of the moment, basically
you see the same people under the same formula over and over again and I find it boring, it's like eating apples every day.
It has consequences, the actual music consumer is not what he was before, for example, if you talk with an average person and ask him when he listens to music, he will tell you that while he walks or cleans his house, it is an accompaniment to what they do, it is not a primary activity, people are not sensible to what they listen to, they just do it to not get bored or to spend time easily.
Why do you think people have reduced music to “Despacito”? What are the reasons why we don’t listen to classical music anymore?
It is because the audience is slothful, it is not participative.
If something is very complex when you hear it, it will bore you because you do not understand it, as you were not taught to do it, then you opt for something that is much easier to listen to.
In general, the educational system is designed to produce and create for the students. The system of competitions is made so that you are catalogued from the first place, like making a list, then when things are planned in this way the music is not free, the composer is no longer looking to experiment or trying to break schemes, but rather to be the one with the highest sales and a large number of hits. As the audience has become lazy and see the artist just because they are fashionable, not because the composition of that singer is good or has a great quality, even in most of the cases those artists do not compose anything. If you are going to see a classical music concert, sadly the audience are elderly people because in their time listening to music was an activity that was done as a family, nowadays it is very rare. This phenomenon is related to the educational system, as we have not been educated in art.
What has changed in the educational system? Why do the arts not have a predominant place in the schools?
From my perspective, the educational system is based on two main subjects: the language and the mathematics, that work to make you a good employee who understands what the boss is asking and how to produce the requested amounts. School does not help you to think, from that perspective
what is the use of a student who appreciates music and devotes time to see how the wind moves the threes?
The system needs people producing, people with the knowledge of applied sciences like mathematics. Thinking about it from the perspective of the productivity, that is a problem for the employer because he does not want the employee to be distracted, he does not want dreamers. It is the same when we talk about governments, their main interest is to have people know how to read and write, and add and subtract.
How do you think this lack of arts in the schools is affecting the new generations?
It is quite complex, with the technology the patience of the people is very short. There are just a few people who stop to think, when something is asked you only answer with the first impulse or thought you have in mind. If you take ten seconds to answer people get angry, they are impatient and do not listen. When you watch a concert it is exactly the same, you are looking for entertainment, something easy to comprehend, for not getting bored and the audience just does not tolerate waiting.
If you could send a message to the Secretary of Education in Mexico, who is in charge of the educational agenda, or if you were in front of someone with the power to put music and arts back in the classrooms, what would be your arguments to convince them?
We need back our sensitivity, we have lost it with the wave of violence that attacks Mexico, it is normal for us to see in the news something about a murder without feeling anything and you do not think about the family of the person who died or of the offender. It is already normal and this is because we were educated to see the news and tell the story as an addition and subtraction, as purely mathematics, you no longer appreciate the consequences of those acts and the reason is we have a lack of sensitivity.
The art means taking a moment to appreciate what you have inside,
your personal value and who you are, it gives you perspective, but you will not appreciate them if you do not sit down to think. An urgency in my society is to generate safety. One of the ways is to sensitize or resensitize the citizens, to stop being statistics. It is complex, but certainly arts are a path. The world always needs creative people. If I could summarize everything that I have said, I would ask this politician what kind of citizens he wants to have: robots or sensitive people interested in the things happening around them?
Written by Karen Mirelly Valle Estrada