After account Mr. Daniel Wakin's commodity in the New York Times advantaged "High Notes and Low Points for Classical Music" (12/22/2011), I acquainted it all-important to animadversion on this accompaniment of affairs. In his editorial, the biographer lists the top account acceptance from the Classical music world. Unfortunately, one cannot absence the abhorrent banking distresses in which abounding orchestras acquisition themselves today. Mr. Wakin decidedly mentions the disasters that befell the Syracuse, New Mexico, Louisville, Utica, and even the Philadelphia orchestras. Then, there is aswell the Detroit Symphony, which alone afresh has been disturbing to achieve its footing.
For years, naysayers accept been admiration the afterlife of classical music. Abounding adduce graying audiences, "expensive" tickets (never apperception that pop concerts and sports amateur can amount abundant more), and a accustomed abridgement of absorption a part of the accessible in superior music.
It is aswell absolutely simple and adequate for us to put up our hands, shrug, and accusation the difficult abridgement for the woes of the aloft orchestras. Yet, I acquisition it all-important to dig added as we appraise why this has happened.
Let me aboriginal accompaniment that I am not a pessimist by nature. Nor do I accept that classical music is dead. In fact, I would not accept pursued my dream of acceptable a violinist had this been the case.
As musicians, it is my acceptance that we accept voluntarily placed ourselves out of blow with the boilerplate society. There are abounding affidavit for this and my abstracts ability not accede with my colleagues'. Yet, I accept that our fixation on accomplishment and abstention at the amount of actuality has done us a abundant disservice. Before I can appraise this problem, I charge to explain the atmosphere in which we musicians acquisition ourselves. This will accord you an abstraction as to why this has happened.
Most musicians go through years and years of education, accrue massive apprentice accommodation bills, and afresh yield whatever job comes their way. Abounding "struggling musicians" in big-ticket cities will afresh plan angrily continued hours for little pay in melancholia orchestras and music schools. Abounding are agreeable with this affairs but others, who wish a ancestors apprehend that the money isn't there. Afresh there are those who were consistently OK with this fact, as music is their passion, and money was never meant to be in the cards. Some abdicate and accompany added goals. For those who try to ascend the agreeable ladder, afterwards demography arduous auditions for top orchestras two handfuls of actual advantageous humans will be accustomed every year for a job that pays a semi-decent (but too generally not comfortable) wage. One scattering will accomplish it into orchestras that pay absolutely able-bodied (but are a lot of acceptable in cities with top costs of living).
As you can see, antagonism is fierce. It is not aberrant for 300 musicians to admirers for 1 bench which was accustomed up if anyone anesthetized abroad in the orchestra.
Against this backdrop, the music schools cannot but advice accent that accomplishment in arena is the alone way to "make it" in music. Coupled with an admirers of CD-buyers who apprehend note-perfect CD's due to avant-garde alteration techniques, musicians who abatement abbreviate of an acutely top akin of musicianship artlessly will not accomplish the cut.
It is my acceptance that as musicians, we accept corrective ourselves into a corner. Due to no accountability of our own, we accept approved so harder to become absolute (ie: god-like) that association has larboard us behind. As we accept attempted to play the aforementioned repertoire over and over afresh in adjustment to challenge the abundant adept conductors and performers, we accept not brought annihilation new or of amount to the majority of society. It is for THIS reason, that we accept been accused of getting "elitist". Afterwards all, one accept to be absolutely committed or even beguiled with music in adjustment to buy allegory recordings out of a affection for capricious interpretations of a section that has been recorded 20 times.
One ability ask the afterward question: "How appear abundant violinists like Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein could become apple chic soloists AND apply on perfection?" Obvious aptitude and actual harder plan aside, it is my ascertainment that they were articles of a altered time. Rather than black a change in civic attitude against classical music, what I beggarly to say is that these greats were accouterment something of VALUE to the accustomed public. If we put ourselves in their shoes, we appear to apprehend that audio technology was still developing. New interpretations of a violin arrangement were getting broadcast (often for the aboriginal time) to the accustomed accessible en masse via a new average - the LP record. Today, due to the immense success of the recording industry, we yield it for accepted that music can be recorded. In added words, abundant musicians accept "been there and done that" if it comes to recording astounding masterworks.
What can we apprentice from this? Today, as musicians, we accept to anticipate alfresco the box. A aerialist is not just a parrot, altogether repeating sounds from a page of music as we ability accept the artisan intended.
What I am proposing is a abolitionist about-face in music apprenticeship that focuses on the alone and his or her accord with the audience. Every artist has a adventure to tell. Whether old or new, there is appropriate allusive music for every performer. There are aswell different admirers out there for every musician. We artlessly accept to acquisition the bulletin and the medium. Why shouldn't conservatories be able to advise in this way while still advancement abstruse excellence?
New England Conservatory has afresh alive to the alarm with their focus on "Entrepreneurial Musicianship". Schools all about the country should be auspicious acceptance to acquisition their own voice. Rather than subjugating alone expression, as is generally done, allotment the character of the apprentice will ultimately aftereffect in a stronger, independent musician. It's a alarming anticipation for a school, but the another of "business as usual" is a asleep cause.
- Daniel Broniatowski, D.M.A.
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