Do you remember Cootie Catchers? You know, those fold up note thingies you used in junior high school to get answers to uncomfortable questions you were afraid to ask like:
Did you do your homework?
Can I copy it?
Do you like me?
Will you be beating me up later today?
The piece of paper that was the Cootie Catcher gave me a false sense of courage and anonymity and allowed me to ask uncomfortable questions without having to say the words out loud. Sure, it was no Magic Eight Ball, but then again, there is mystical powers behind that bad boy!
Miss it? Well don't, because the Cootie Catcher is alive and well. It just has a different name.
Email and texting are the modern day Cootie Catchers. Like their folded paper counterpart, technology allows people to respond (or not) in ways that they would not in person. The distance provided by space, time, and Al Gore (come on, that was funny!) changes our behaviors in unintended ways. Like junior high school students, we tend to hide behind our thumbs and fingers when things get uncomfortable. Whether out of convenience or cowardice, the result are often the same, we change the way we behave and treat people.
Making music is different. Making music is interactive. Making music is felt and experienced on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. When we make music we are exposed and have nothing to hide behind. Making music helps us to communicate through a shared human experience. Making music forces us to say something that can't be masked, misinterpreted, forwarded, blind copied, or posted to Instagram. This, among other reasons, is why we make music and why every child should be involved in it’s pursuit.
I am an avid user of technology but part of me wishes we could dump it all and return to Cootie Catchers. At least people would have to look me in the eye and respond.
I miss that.