Understanding the Relationship Between Music and Culture

One of ways in which we can understand any given culture is by studying its music. Such is the strength of the relationship between culture and music. That relationship – between music and culture – is what we will be setting out to analyze in today’s article.

Music is a chronicler of culture. This is an indisputable fact. At this point, it is important to define culture: where, at its simplest, culture is defined as ‘a people’s way of life’.  So one of the ways in which a people’s way of life is chronicled is through music. You realize that the people who compose music are influenced by the environment around them. They are influenced by both the major happenings, as well as the mundane stuff. A musically talented individual may, for instance, respond to the getmycreditcardoffer — and apply for one of the credit cards offered by Capital One. This would be after having received a capital one credit card offer in the mail. He may then experience difficulties in servicing the credit card debt – leading to a situation where he composes a song on the ‘brutality of capitalism’. Now another person, from another part of the world (or from another generation to come) would, upon hearing that song, get to understand the dynamics of the culture within which the composer operated. He would, in other words, get to understand the composer’s culture.

The people who compose music tend to sing about their deepest concerns. And while music lyrics are usually simple, they touch on very serious themes (which becomes clear if one listens to music with a discerning ear).

Music has potential to change a culture. Music has potential to change the way people act. And if it does that on a large enough scale (that is, if it gets a huge enough number of people to change how they act), it ends up altering the entire culture. Worth mentioning is the fact that music can change culture both in positive and in negative ways. Much depends on the character of the people who compose the lyrics, and influences they operate under, and the objectives they aim to achieve.

How to Adjust to a New Culture

One of the biggest challenges you are likely to face in life is that of adjusting to a new culture. Like if, for instance, you have moved to another part of the world, and you are expected to be there for quite some time (say, several months or years), then you will have to adjust to that culture. You won’t necessarily be required to adopt the culture. But you will definitely find yourself having to adjust to it – because whether you like it or not, it is bound to affect you for the duration that you will be there. In fact, having been exposed to that (different) culture, your mindset is likely to change: meaning that the effects of that exposure to a different culture are likely to remain with you for long.

While trying to adjust to a new culture, you need to:

  1. Observe others closely: the goal here is to be able to figure out what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, by way of observing what your hosts are doing, and what they seem to be desisting from doing.
  2. Ask questions: some cultural aspects are so nuanced that you can’t understand them through observation alone. You have to ask questions. Don’t fear to ask questions. Actually this applies to all things – not just cultural issues. (Away from culture issues) you could, for instance, be trying to understand how you can report a lost gift card. Yet when you refer to the Mygiftcardsiteguide, you can’t get the relevant instructions. All the information on the guide seems to be about the check mygiftcardsite balancelogin and related issues. Yet what you are interested in is reporting a lost gift card. What to do? This is where it becomes ideal to ask a question. And the same thing applies when it comes to adjusting to a new culture: if you are unsure about something, there is absolutely no harm in asking your hosts about it. That is definitely better than making assumptions, and then you mess things up badly.
  3. Maintain an open mind: you will have an easier time adjusting to a new culture if you maintain an open mind. But if you approach the new culture with a prejudiced mind, you will have a very hard time adjusting to it. Your prejudices will keep you from adjusting, and you will end up being a maladjusted member of that society. Yet the society will expect you to have adjusted to its culture, after some time.
  4. Respect the culture: you may be tempted to disrespect/look down upon the culture, especially if, for some reason, you feel that it is ‘inferior’ to yours. This tends to be the case especially if you are moving from a part of the world that is perceived as being ‘developed’ to another one that is perceived as being less developed. But you need to resist this temptation to despise the culture. Remember, a culture is a people’s way of life. The people you are encountering have reasons as to why they have chosen to do things the way they do them. So you need to respect that way in which they have chosen to do things: knowing that it is probably the best way for them, given their unique circumstances.

Positive Aspects of Ghetto Culture

We have been led to believe that the ghetto culture is wholly negative, and there is nothing positive about it. But this notion is not true. There are some positive aspects in ghetto culture. And whenever we think about the ghetto culture, it is important for us to focus on these positive aspects. We need to do this, while always reminding ourselves one thing: that many of the people who find themselves living in the ghettos are not there by choice. It is circumstances that force them to be there. The ghetto culture arises as those people try to adopt to the circumstances they find themselves in. The positive aspects of ghetto culture include:

  1. Resilience: the people who live in the ghettos tend to be highly resilient individuals. This resilience grows over time, as the people try to cope with the vagaries that are thrown their way. The resilience is then inherited, and improved with each subsequent generation.
  2. Ambition: contrary to the widely held opinion, the people who live in the ghetto don’t lack ambition. They are (typically) very ambitious individuals. Some go to great lengths, to improve their lives. It is just that the ‘system’ seems to be against them. That is why, for instance, if a company like Nordstrom is setting up a new store, you are likely to find a good number of people from the surrounding ghettos looking for work there. Such individuals tend to go to great lengths, in their Mynordstrom sign up attempts. That is to say that they go to great lengths, showing up for interviews and networking with the ‘senior people’. All this they do trying to get jobs at Nordstrom: which would then give them unfettered Mynordstrom access. You simply can’t accuse them of lacking ambition.
  3. Community life: whereas life in the ‘better’ suburbs tends to be individualistic, life in the ghettos on the other hand tends to be communal. People share the little they have. People are always there to cheer each other up. People tend to be more accepting in the ghettos and community life there is generally strong.
  4. Vibrancy: ghetto life tends to be more vibrant than life in the so-called ‘better’ suburbs. This is largely due to the close proximity with which people are forced to live in the ghetto – unlike the ‘better’ suburbs, where there are picket fences and gates to separate the people.

How to Create a Positive Workplace Culture

There are several things you need to do, to create a positive workplace culture. In today’s article, we will be focusing on those things that you need to do, if you wish to end up with a positive workplace culture. The most important thing here is for you to appreciate that you won’t get a positive workplace culture by default. You will have to put in some effort, to get a positive workplace culture. Without putting in the necessary effort, what you will get (by default) is a negative, toxic workplace culture: which is not conducive to optimum productivity. So some of the specific things you need to do, to create a positive workplace culture include:

  1. Discouraging workplace gossip: this is just a matter of emphasizing, during employee orientations, that workplace gossip is not tolerated in your organization. Then you need to have refresher sessions, during which the employees are reminded of this rule. Otherwise if you allow workplace gossip to take place, the employee will start hating and disrespecting one another – ultimately leading to lots of negativity.
  2. Creating avenues through which workers can channel complaints: if the employees have no avenues through which they can channel complaints, they will complaining to one another – leading to lots of negativity. This is why even big companies create portals – like, for instance, the mypremiercreditcard portal, for customers to channel their complaints. You can have a similar system, through which employees can channel their complaints. That is better than having them grumble and share bitterness amongst themselves.
  3. Ensuring that the supervisors treat the workers respectfully: if the supervisors treat the employees in a disrespectful manner, you can be assured that there will be a lot of negativity in the workplace. It is possible to get work done without pushing the employees in a disrespectful manner.
  4. Ensuring that the workers treat each other respectfully: you need to create a culture where the workers view each other as team-members, or members of the same family. This will ensure that they have respectful interactions, leading to optimum productivity. It should be possible for the employees to hold each other to account without being disrespectful.

How to Change a Nation’s Culture Using Education

It is possible to change a nation’s culture using education. When we talk of a nation’s culture, we are simply referring to the nation’s ‘way of life’. Culture, in its simplest definition, is ‘the way of life’. And a nation’s way of life can definitely be changed. Education can be helpful in that process, of trying to change a nation’s way of life. Education is actually one of the most potent tools you can use, when seeking to change a nation’s culture. The question that comes up instantly is as to how exactly education can be used to change a nation’s culture. And in answering that question, we come to learn that there are certain specific steps you need to follow. Those are the steps you need to follow when seeking to change a nation’s culture using education.

You need to start by identifying the specific ways in which you wish to change a nation’s culture. So this is an analytical stage. Here, you look at the current way of life (that is, the current culture), and try to figure out how it can be improved upon. The process here is more or less similar to what you would go through in the course of double your line application — where you start by analyzing the current state of your finances, before figuring out whether you can afford to take up another credit card. Similarly, before trying to change a nation’s culture using education, you have to start by taking a critical look at the nation’s present culture – and trying to figure out how it can be improved upon. You may, for instance, be in search of a more cohesive national culture, a less corrupt national culture, a more hardworking national culture… and so on. So you identify the specific changes you’d wish to see.

You then need to figure out a way in which you can change the nation’s education system, in order to bring about the desired cultural change. It may be a scenario where you just introduce certain subjects/topics into the school curriculum, in order to have the kids introduced to the new national culture. Or it may be a situation where you just have to change the entire educational system, to accommodate the desired cultural changes.

Subsequently, you need to effect the necessary changes in the education system, so as to achieve the desired cultural change. So at this stage, you implement the necessary changes in the educational system consistently — in order to see the desired cultural changes in a few years or decades.

Helping Immigrants to Adjust to a New Culture

One of the main challenges that immigrants face is that of adjusting to new cultures. A culture is simply defined as ‘a way of life’. People in different parts of the world tend to have different ways of life. Therefore, if a person moves from one region of the world to another, he is bound to encounter a different way of life. That can cause major challenges. Yet if an immigrant is to be successful in his new home, he has to adjust to the culture. That would be the first step towards integration. For ultimately, it is only through full integration that immigrants can become (fully) useful members of their new societies.

If immigrants are not helped to adjust to their new cultures, many things can go wrong. Left on their own, they may end up being totally unable to integrate into the new societies. They would therefore have to operate from the sidelines, from the shadows if you like. That may subsequently consign them to poverty.  And the poverty may take a multi-generational character: when the children of the immigrants are similarly unable to integrate into the societies. These trends have been observed in France, with North African immigrants who are totally unable to integrate (though lately, the necessary interventions are being made).

Helping immigrants to adjust to the new cultures is not easy. Sometimes, once is tempted to simply let things take their course. Sometimes, one is tempted to avoid this unpleasant task. But as we have already observed, the effects of failing to help immigrants to adjust to new cultures can be too negative. So, it is best to simply bite the bullet, and take the trouble to help the immigrants to adjust to the new culture.

The actual process of helping the immigrants to adjust to the new cultures is quite straightforward, when you come to think of it. Initially, it entails helping the immigrants to  deal with the culture shock. Then, after that, there is the aspect of teaching the immigrants about the rules of the new culture. Here, it helps if you know the rules of the cultures the immigrants are coming from. You’d then have an easier time, building on what the immigrants already know, to teach them new concepts about the new culture.