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History Table of Contents
1991 Summer Conference
 
Summer Conference 1991
Growing up on the Edge: The Emerging Generation and Canada's Future

Identities

MELANIE WHEATON,
Singer with the Groove Masters

I just want to talk a little about the music scene.

Music is one of the most practised and exposed means of self expression that we have in our world today. There seems to be no end to people finding in it a creative means to express themselves.

A friend best summed up how I feel about music, in part, with these words:

"Music, like the heartbeat itself, is basic to all people ...in helping express themselves in terms of this world and in a very personal way."

I want to briefly talk about the mass music industries that we are surrounded by day today. These are the guys who take music and decide what music that we, the audience, are listening to.

They go through a pick and choose type of thing, where people will come to their door and say, this is what I got, listen to it.

They will listen to it and say, this isn't going to make good money...see you later. Or, they will listen to and say, great, and they will give it a try and it gets put out on the radio and people listen to it.

They also are the people who the do the labelling and the censoring and they concentrate on the buy and sell idea, to have money shovelled in their hands.

The music industry makes more money than the artists themselves, which I think should change. I applaud the musicians who got lucky and made some albums for themselves, because they have a chance to express how they feel, express certain issues that are strong to them and this is the only way that they are going to get across.

A lot of people are being spoon fed what they hear because they are so set into their own lifestyles. We go to work, we go home, we're so tired, we're so drained, we just eat dinner, then head for the TV again. Or, we wake up in the morning and turn on CHUM-FM and hear the tunes but we're not really listening.

There are a lot of people who have a lot to say out there, so try and get out to listen to them.

Some of the more recent issues being addressed by music include environment awareness, the AIDS issue, animal testing, and so on.

I don't really like classifying or categorizing age groups and what they listen to, because

we all appreciate something that catches us.

I would say the younger generation is a bit more influential or experimental, because their minds are still young and you have a lot ahead of you. You get into a certain environment, which is another issue in itself, that applies to you, that makes you grow and gives you direction or makes you fall or makes you get ahead.

For me, music was a type of escapism. It was my own little world. It was something I really enjoyed doing, it made me feel better. When I reflect on my own tastes, I see that a lot of it is cross-generational and cross-cultural.

At home, I listened to music that my Dad played. He listened to a lot of stuff; he was a big music bum. I listened to everything. When I was sent to camp I was introduced to folk. I really love folk music to this day.

Pay attention to what your children are hearing. Make sure you what the songs they are listening to are talking about. Let's say the song talks about sex, and they ask, "what's that?" Explain to them both sides, don't shun away from the issue or be scared. Don't go "OOOHHH", and make them all closed in about it. It's an expression; it's natural.

And, avoid stereotyping people because of appearance. It's very common, we all do it. We walk around the street and look at somebody and label them because of what they are wearing or how they look.

We say, this guy's a "Rocker," this guy's this and that. That's fine as long as you don't associate their appearance with stereotypes, such as: "Well this guy's a 'Rocker', and he smokes drugs, and he's a bad guy, he probably dropped out of school."

That is not fair, that is not right. You can't judge a book by its cover.

You should talk to that person, go see a movie, go read a book, before you judge it. If you do, you will be a wiser person and more aware of things, too.