As a musician, how important is keeping up with new technologies? New technologies are affecting music performance, production and recording as much as any other field (social media, telecommunications, advertising).
Like waves reshaping a beachfront, trends reshape society, change habits and inspire new creations. Ignore the trends and you shun a big part of life. The trick is to embrace change and at the same time preserve your own voice, your own stylistic approach to creativity.
Some technologies, like auto-tune, are a shortcut, helping some musicians hide a lack of talent (like the inability to sing certain notes). Others, like various guitar pedals (volume pedals to create swells, for example) provide extra palates for the artist on which to extend his stylistic voice.
It’s fun to hear low tech trends, though, like the ukulele craze that’s developed over the past couple of years. Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” undoubtedly helped spark the craze. Walk into any music store these days and you’ll see a wall full of ukuleles of various shapes and sizes. To most players, it’s a different and new instrument where they have to study and invest time and energy. There are few shortcuts to learning a completely new instrument. It’s a refreshing trend surfacing above the barrage of technology.
Like cupcakes (you gotta love all the different flavors and sizes), ukuleles represent the latest happening thing. Embrace and enjoy!