Investing in music will yield time-tested benefits

Guest Column:
Herbert Rakatansky
I am writing this article to give the reader some investment advice. More

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Investing in music will yield time-tested benefits

Guest Column:
Herbert Rakatansky
Posted 2/4/13

I am writing this article to give the reader some investment advice.

Generally investment advice is designed to maximize the return on money and applies to disposable income. But my advice is not about disposable income. It is directed at disposable time.

Disposable time comprises those hours each day that are not devoted to the work needed to provide for the basics of life and the hours devoted to sleep, eating, medical care, etc.

Disposable income is cumulative. It can be saved and invested, to be used at a future date. Disposable time is not cumulative. Generally, it must be spent on the day one receives it.

There are many choices about how to invest disposable time. Each person has values and areas of concern that are meaningful on a personal level.

One of those areas can be music. It is a characteristic of every human culture. Some music is ephemeral, heard today and forgotten tomorrow. But there is a body of music that has stood the test of time, just as there are bodies of literature and visual art that have endured.

Listening to music today, however, can be a fractured activity. We frequently multitask: we check our email as we watch a sporting event, listen to recorded music while we read a book, check the news on our electronic pad while we watch a TV show, etc.

Music exists only while it is being played, and attending live music performances is the only way for the listener to experience the artistic vision of the composer as intended, free of the competition from smartphones, iPads, picture-in-picture TV programs and other distractions.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra presents these proven masterpieces of music right here in the Ocean State. A Beethoven symphony will stimulate and comfort today just as it has inspired for 200 years. There is a reason that Gustav Mahler’s music has been played for more than 100 years. How about Leonard Bernstein or Schubert?

My investment advice is to enhance your life by spending about two hours of your disposable time and join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert this spring.

This investment in live music is time-tested. It has been a winner for several hundred years. There is no risk. In fact, the risk is that you will not choose this experience and that you will spend your disposable time in a manner that will return less on your investment. •

Dr. Herbert Rakatansky is clinical professor of medicine emeritus at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. He was a member of the board of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School for nine years and currently is a member of its artistic, finance and development committees.

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