We all have a responsibility, but we far too often give up before even trying to meet our obligations to a potential Generation GFM. We say we don’t understand the “young people” yet how often do we really sit down and talk with them and not at them to understand? Every generation deserves to have their own heroes and their own soundtrack but who made the rule that you can’t or shouldn’t share your heroes and your soundtrack with your children or young people that you come into contact with? Your seemingly small act of sharing may influence a young person to have a richer sound palette to pull from when listening to music. This debate, these notions are as old as music itself yet something has been afoot for the last several decades bolstered by economic interests and the fact that music has become more of a commodity as opposed to a cultural artifact.

Now you might be saying to yourself what in the world do all those heady assertions that you’ve put forth have to do with the inspiring video above(from longtime friend to GFM Troy Nalls) of father and son out on a drive listening to “Sun Goddess” by Ramsey Lewis. Quite simply everything and here’s why: Music is and will always and forever be cultural. It has only been in the last few hundred years a commercial endeavor. Simply put the chasm between young and old has been widened over the years through the cultural shift spurred on by technology and media homogenization. From open spaces where generations had to exchange music to where we are now with earbuds, streaming devices and the like where you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. When you have one radio, one television, one stereo, one car and multiple generations in a household the exchange of music across generations just happens. Even now in the car unless you choose to set down some rules of engagement you can quickly be tuned out as the earbuds go in. Enter Generation GFM.

I’m strongly suggesting parents that if you don’t have moments like these in the above video, make some. Start when the kids you are influencing are young. When I would put my daughter down for her nap when she was an infant every day I would play “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”. She’s a teenager now and her reaction whenever that song comes on is still priceless. Kids are going to be kids and gravitate to the music we don’t like or understand at times but that doesn’t give us as elders a pass. We should share our opinions and at the same time listen to the opinions of the younger set. This is the nature of culture: to exchange ideas and grow. But as the video implores us instead of complaining about what your kids listen to share what you consider great and that will give them the opportunity to take that experience with them wherever they go if they so choose. We can ill afford to continue to fall into the trap of treating our music, Grown Folks Music as disposable when it’s done right and performed by greatness like in the above vid. “Sun Goddess” and music of her caliber are just as precious as the rarest gem. This is Grown Folks Music and this is how we build Generation GFM.

If you want proof positive about the outcome of this type of exchange go check out Dreams Of A Drummer to see the young man featured in the video as he is now in his second year as a music major at The University of the Arts in Philly.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.