Monday, April 09, 2007

our "culture" misses the point.....

I found this link (click here) on another blog yesterday.

It’s a long article from the Washington Post about an episode where Joshua Bell stood in a Metro Station in Washington DC and played. Long, but well worth the read.

It’s sad our entire "culture" is so busy that we never stop to see or hear anything beautiful. And we're systematically desensitizing our children to it by taking away the arts and music programs.

We say we are in Iraq to give them the kind of free society that we have, but in truth we are becoming more and more savage each year.

Our economy is so broken at the bottom end that many cannot see beyond “how will I make the next dollar to feed/house/clothe my family” (not to even mention the horrors of medical care).

We harp on more science and math while we ship all the jobs that use those skills out of the country.

And along the way we squash out of our children the joy of art and of music.

Sad, sad, that a line from Mr. Holland’s Opus is even more true…..”pretty soon there isn’t anything to read and write about”

I think I notice this even more now that I am no longer part of corporate America (thank God!), and I spend a lot of my time making art and seeing how hard it is for an artist to be noticed.

Let us hope that we will be wise enough to elect someone that will begin to turn this around.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger adooma said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger lobstah said...

That was a fascinating article...and the music was so beautiful. It's interesting to read all the comments to the article and responses like the Saw Lady blog linked here. A lot of different perspectives!

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Kimmer said...

In addition to Saw Lady's comments, I've read comments from people saying that if it had been during the evening hours and not in the morning rush-to-work hours people may have been more willing to stop and listen. Besides, just how many people, even classical music afficianados, would know Joshua Bell by sight? I know I wouldn't, and I likely wouldn't be able to identify him by style, either. I can, however, tell Slash from Dimebag Darrell from Eddie Van Halen just from their sounds :)

Let them try this during the evening hours or on a weekend and compare the results, and not just on how much money ends up in the case. Any decent musician will draw a crowd. Heck, even a mediocre musician who knows how to sell him/herself can draw a crowd at the right time of day. Morning rush hour, when the vast majority of people are worrying about catching their trains, isn't the best time to do this type of experiment.

And if people want to use this rather unscientific study to make a blanket generalization about our "culture", I want them to remember that music education in most public schools is dismal, at best. My elementary school had a full-time music teacher on staff until I was in 5th grade, which was 1970-71, then she became part-time and only for instrumental music; she did singing with all the classes until then. A few years later her job was eliminated entirely. I was fortunate to have a wonderful junior high school band director, but people who didn't play an instrument really didn't get any music appreciation or theory classes, and it's in these types of classes that some children get their only exposure to classical music (and the old Looney Tunes cartoons are good for this, too, and I'm not joking here). The first things cut when school districts lose money are art and music, closely followed by science. And we wonder why we lag the rest of the western world in education; there is a link to music/art education and language/mathematics. We've broken that connection.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Bev said...

kimmer has actually captured my main point here.....we don't give our kids near enough music in school, we're all hung up on math and science without remembering that music IS math, and that there is more to life than just hard cold facts


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