Music for peace? War questions musical meaning?

[From a recent list discussion about music, war and peace. The anonymous writer of the quoted passage — that is, I can’t remember the name of the list member who posted it, and I don’t think it was relevant to mention even if I knew it — was just one among many who posted their thoughts and supplied facts about experiences from “peace missions” with music making among people in countries and regions suffering from wars and conflicts:]

Though not an expert in this area, I wish to add that one of the things that war does to students and scholars of music is that it questions the relevance, meaning, and limitations of their/our practice.

I’m sorry to be harsh, but perspectives — and experiences — like these are painfully common: why does it take a war to get us to “question the relevance, meaning, and limitations of their/our practice”? If we don’t know what we’re doing, what its relevance is, what it means to our societies, to our fellow human beings — if we cannot address these crucial questions in the luxurious calm of peace, it will be far too late in wartime. It is what we must do, and not await catastrophe as a stimulus.

MW Morse

(listen to this mp3 — a demo version of Undiminished Hope, an original tune by MWM, now arranged for jazz quintet.)