Paper Plate Music

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Masterclass with a venerable jazz artist.  The opening discussion was focused on what the students, most of whom were jazz majors, thought about music and jazz today.  The conversation weaved back and forth between artist and students and at one point, a student said that they loved jazz because the music that is being created today is nothing but Paper Plate Music. 

That comment sat with me, for while I understood what they meant – that it’s just something people simply listen to and then discard – that there was something deeper there to explore.  Is there a purpose to pop music?  Has there ever been?  What’s the purpose of a paper plate?  That last question was the easiest.  You use them because you don’t want to have to do dishes, because you have a lot of people to share food with, because you are outside at a picnic with other people sharing memories and no one wants to worry about breaking dishes…the list was endless, but the overriding theme that caught my attention was that paper plates aren’t useless.  They have a very specific purpose, and the things they leave behind are not the paper plate themselves, but the conversations, the memories, the feelings – and those are highly valued. 

So…I wrote a song.  This blog post is simply the lyrics to that song.  Exploring the idea of Paper Plate Music.  Perhaps, if we see it for what it is and not what it isn’t, the value can be explored all unto itself - and that is completely worthwhile. 

Paper Plate Music

music & lyrics by Kat Reinhert (c)2016ExergueMusic all rights reserved


I’ve heard the stories on the radio

They say music is dying

But when I look around this room

I say that it’s fighting


There are those who say it’s worthless

Four chords can’t make things last

I beg to differ ‘cause from what I hear

Free Bird is flying fast


Some people call it Paper Plate Music

Like discardable memories

But I hear people singing Paper Plate Music

And it sounds like family


Take all the writers and singers of old

They did with what they could

Told their stories with what they had

Their soul and a piece of wood


Where would we be without the sound

Of so many songs we know

If we didn’t have a voice to cry

Four dead in Ohio


So they may call it Paper Plate Music 

But it stays in our memories

‘Cause people been singing Paper Plate Music

All through history


They’re not disposable and it's not weak

To let the story have control 

To get inside of you and dig down deep

Soak into your soul


People been making Paper Plate Music 

For as far back as I can see

And people keep singing Paper Plate Music

In perfect harmony 


So we’ll keep on making Paper Plate Music

And we’ll keep our memories

And we’ll keep on singing Paper Plate Music

With perfect harmony