Technology and Music: Universal Languages

DeJeune O'Garro - informal headshot DéJeune O'Garro is the project manager for 501cTECH's annual Technology Impact Awards and a financial services consultant for Accenture.

Growing up in a household that loved music, I took an early interest in classical piano.  My parents started taking me to lessons at age 4 and I quickly learned that music was a universal language. I remember feeling the emotions present in the symphonies and sonatas I practiced. I felt the torment in a Bach composition and knew that others must have felt the same way.  Little did I know at the time that those emotions I experienced when listening to music are proven to be shared across all cultures, age groups, and socioeconomic classes.

As I compare my early piano lessons to my current life experience, I see that music is still a universal language, but technology is definitely on its heels, and perhaps even overtaking it!

Everywhere you turn technology is present.  Aside from the more obvious cellular communications boom and social media takeover, technology is in our homes, workplaces, and cars.  Employees who could once get by in the workplace with just a notepad and pen must now become proficient computer and tablet users.  Our workplace is becoming increasingly global, and thus many of us must leverage video conferencing technology just to connect with our immediate teammates or see our bosses for the first time.

However, technology is becoming more than just a tool or communication medium. Much like music, technology speaks to people across multiple cultures and age groups in the same way. Tech users are now heavily concerned with aesthetics that appeal to their personal brand, applications that satisfy their desires and entertain them.  But what does any of this have to do with emotion you say? Think about military personnel deployed abroad who are able to connect with loved ones back home.  Think about nonprofits, like the ones that 501cTECH supports; they are able to further their missions and expand their service to their community through even the smallest tech improvements.

501cTECH awards other nonprofits for the service and program impacts that result from the implementation of technology through the Technology Impact Awards (TIA).  As the TIA project manager through my firm’s involvement in the event, I see first hand how technology speaks to its users. As we review TIA applications, I get to see how local nonprofits are using technology in innovative ways to do things like reduce illegal child trafficking, or provide medical services and food to those in need, and that to me justifies the emotional response that this universal language elicits.

Decades after cultivating my love for one universal language, I am now able to support my love for a second, and I’m quite excited about it.

What about you? How does technology speak to you? Do you agree that it's a universal language?

Topics: nonprofit technology

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