Here is a great article out of Australia by composer Andrew Ford. It is intended as a response to the massive downsizing of the School of Music in Canberra, but its message is universal.  You can find the whole article here

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Music as an art from is being sidestepped somewhat in today’s culture If you find the water too chilly, you can always get out and try again later – or try somewhere else. Eventually you are likely to find something that holds your attention and this, in turn, will lead you to another piece of music and another. Most people get this far.

The next step is to find yourself listening to music you don’t like or understand, reasoning that with a little persistence on your part the piece in question will begin to reveal its secrets. Surprisingly often, it does. If you’ve come this far, you are, I believe, a musical person, even a musician of sorts, engaging with music at quite a profound level, participating in musical thinking.

The next level involves playing and singing, improvising and composing. Indeed in many of the world’s more musically advanced cultures – I’m thinking particularly of Africa – this comes first. Making up our own music and performing it is how we truly engage with our musical traditions and how we preserve and critique and nurture them. [/quote]