This nicely highlights the difference between an aesthetic transaction and most of the other ones we experience. Most of what we experience in our daily life are transactions like those listed: we purchase things that we want or like (lunch, a ride on the subway, a magazine) and enjoy or use them in an ordinary way. Or we do work that earns us money. Or we do things to make ourselves more attractive, popular or healthy. Or we do things that are required by law: fill in our income tax returns.I believe appreciation of music takes a lot of time and effort. Most people either cannot spare the time or use the time they do have for a different purpose. The simple reason for this is: music appreciation does not answer any of the following questions in the affirmative:1) Is it easy and takes only a few minutes?2) If it takes more time, can it earn me money?3) If it can't, can it make me more attractive, sociable, popular or healthier?4) Is it illegal not to do it?
But aesthetic experiences or transactions are of a different nature entirely. They often lack the easy accessibility of most other things. Yes, you might fall in love with a piece of music on hearing it for the first time (Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto):
But more often the first time you hear a fine piece of music you might be perplexed or just a bit lost: (Schoenberg, Six Little Piano Pieces, op. 19)
One of the most basic problems is that aesthetic appreciation runs counter to the prevailing narcissism of our time: it really isn't about you! It is about you taking a journey towards something that is outside yourself. I happen to think that this is an important journey, more important certainly than a week at the beach or a shopping trip to the mall. But hey, that's just me!
One of the things that I find really appealing about aesthetic transactions is the implied freedom. You are entirely free to choose, as with few other things in life, exactly what kind of aesthetic experience you want and, depending on your other responsibilities, when and how you experience it. That's pretty cool, actually.
Here is a nice one for you (Beethoven, String Quartet op 59, no. 3, mvt 4, Alban Berg Quartet):