So, what is music?

Back when I studied at the Conservatory of Music in Rotterdam, I had to go to these classes where somebody would talk about there experiences in music. Or there would be somebody talking about how you can make sure you send the right invoice, with the right amount of everything. One day there was a lady (I believe, not sure anymore) and she started with the question:

‘What is music?’

Everybody in the room looked at each other as if they would say: ‘So, YOU are here, at the conservatory, asking US what music is?!’

So people started to tell what they think music is.

‘Music is a variety of sounds, arranged in a certain way’.

Her question would be: ‘So, if you have just one sound, that’s not music?’


‘Music is sounds, arranged in a certain way, so it creates a pattern.’

Her question would be: ‘So, is free jazz or improvisation no music? That’s not arranged’


‘Music is the vibration of air, which creates sound, which can be heard as music.’

Her question would be: ‘So you need sound to have music?’


‘What if we start singing brother Jacob’, she said, ‘and we stop singing somewhere and keep going until the song is over.’

So there we started, a class full of young, not knowing, arrogantish music students, singing a children’s song and after the first six notes, everybody was silent. At the point where the song was over, she asked: ‘Did everybody finish the song just now?’ Everybody nodded and she asked: ‘So, we don’t actually need sound for music?’


I think I only just realised that you don’t need sound for music. But while traveling, I really had the need to play guitar and play music. Of course, an instrument is quit handy as a tool to make music an easy way and to share the music, but now we’re in Sweden and we listen to silence, I hear songs I’ve been working on. I hear melodies, chord progressions and patterns. Without having an instrument nearby. And when the time is right, I go to the studio and record those ideas. Some of them are amazing, but some of them are not. And that’s alright

It’s really mind altering, to listen a bit more to that inner instrument. And maybe this goes for a lot more things than music only. Maybe this goes for practically everything. Feeling you’re not in the right track? Stay on the platform and look at the train from the outside to see where it’s going. Only your heart knows best what’s right for you. Listen and you will find out.

I know I did.