Just wanted to comment on the point that Dr. Lannguth brought up in class regarding our "sonic democracy." With the advent of the i pod and downloadable music, people are listening more and more to a wide variety of artists and genres, and this is a good thing, I think. Exposure is a good thing. There are even cell phone programs you can sign up for where the company will send you a random bunch of songs every so often, regardless of what you say you like. However, I do agree that, without having had the chance to develop personal preferences, this exposure to different types of music is rather irrelevant. If you don't have preferences to begin with, putting the i pod on shuffle doesn't mean anything. Knowing what you like and then intentional choosing something else is what Cage was all about. Had he taken an apathetic view towards sound and music, his own compositions wouldn't have meant much.
I experienced the importance of a developed personal preference when I choreographed and performed my dance for the last project. To be perfectly honest, I hated it. It was awkward and irregular and confusing, but the point is that I felt something. If I had no preference in dance style or technique at all, doing that dance would have been just like doing any other kind of dance, but because I knew what I liked (and consequently learned what I didn't) doing that Cage-inspired dance meant something. Hating it is much better than being apathetic, and I think that's the problem with a "society on shuffle." No one has developed personal preferences to begin with, no one takes the time to become interested and involved with any particular genre of music, and so the sharing that occurs means much less and the experience of "exposure" carries much less weight.