The Importance of Music as Told by Roseanne Cash

Roseanne Cash Music ImportanceTen University students had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and talk with "one of Country's pre-eminent singer/songwriters," Roseanne Cash before her show in Pollack theatre on Friday, Oct. 21.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, said, "It was such a treat for Monmouth students to be able to be a private audience for sound check and have a personal conversation with such a great and gracious artist like Rosanne."

Rapolla continued, "This is a great example of how coordinated performing arts programming can be leveraged at the academic level, to the benefit of the students."

As an attendee of the workshop, I can say that this was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime and instilled a passion in me to go forward with writing music, and reflect on how important music is. While listening to WMCX last week I heard a host say, "Imagine what life would be like if there were no music at all." The hosts of the show seemed confused and upset to even think about a world without music. So we wonder, what makes music so important to us?

When I asked Cash this question, her automatic response was, "Because it's like oxygen." Many of us, especially songwriters and artists, could not imagine living without the free spirit and energy of music. Cash went on to tell us how songwriter and producer, T-Bone Burnett, breaks down music into a physics and explains how we are all made up of music. From the day we are born to the day we die, we are exposed to many different types of music. Every song has a different meaning to us, every beat hits us a different way.

Rapolla explained, "I think what the students heard from Roseanne reinforced our program philosophy, that music and the arts are part of our DNA, and how the arts enriches life, no matter what your field. There are so many ways to engage with music and the arts."

The audience for the workshop included many singer/songwriters and artists in the music industry program. One of the attendees was a senior music industry student, Joey Affatato, who is also a member of Blue Hawk Records signed band, The Carousers; Affatato remarked, "After attending the Roseanne Cash Songwriter's Workshop, I can truly say it served as a reminder to me why I love music and being a songwriter."

Affatato continued, "For someone who has been writing practically her entire life, Roseanne still shows a tremendous amount of excitement and passion for the art - almost as if she had just discovered it for the first time. I feel this drive is crucial for any profession, and is a great example of the power songwriting and music can have on a person."

Another attendee of the workshop was a senior music industry student, Brittany Cannarozzi. Cannarozzi is a singer/song-writer and a featured artist on the 8th Compilation album, Magic Eight. Her reflection from the workshop was, "Listening to Roseanne Cash was an incredibly inspirational experience. Her and her husband [John Leventhal] touched on the importance of co-writing and how essential it is to write with people whose strengths make up for your weaknesses."

Cannarozzi continued, "As a young songwriter, I felt lucky to hear from such a force in the creative music industry. Beyond the beauty of her music, Roseanne spoke so personally about the issues we all face as creators, the insecurities we all possess, the struggles we encounter."

Music doesn't just happen overnight as Cash emphasized during her talk. She told us that when she was young, she was extremely shy and nervous when playing music. Cash reminded us that everyone is insecure at times, and you just need to push through it and be persistent. Cash's love for music is what kept her going. Rapolla described this persistence as "hard-work driven by passion."

Rapolla explained, "Songwriting is about reflecting, telling a story, and conveying a message. It's about helping people to get to an emotional place, to feel."

Working in the music business can be hard, as Rapolla reminded us: "If you want to pursue the arts as a career, you need to respect the art by putting in the time necessary and doing the work." Music relates to us all in some way, shape, or form. Just because you do not study music doesn’t mean you can't have a passion for it.

As a history and education student, music and song writing is not always my top priority, but is the one thing that allows me to express myself and it keeps me sane.

Affatato recalled, "My favorite part of the workshop was when Rosanne explained how songs breathe and mature overtime as we mature as people. I feel this is so true and completely relates to my own songs as a writer."

Music speaks to people on a level that is unexplainable sometimes and it is crucial to our existence. There is a reason we have so many students who are involved in the music department, whether it is in theatre, music industry or music performance. Music makes a statement and allows every person to find themselves. Cash served as a great reminder to us why music is so important to each student at Monmouth.

IMAGE COURTESY of Nicole Seitz