Sunday, November 21, 2010

let's just move on (and keep up the education work)

Everyone keeps talking about how to make classical music "relevant," especially to young people. At the same time, the classical music world is flooded with so many young musicians hoping to make a living as musician. Presumably, these young people love classical music. So what's the problem? I don't see one. The whole world is constantly changing, not just the tiny fraction of it that involves classical music. Deal with it and move on, stop grumbling, just go with the flow! Things will either sort themselves out, or we'll have to move on. Also, I think if we just perform music that we love and in ways that excite us, people will enjoy it. We should stop pandering to what we think other people would like, it just seems artificial to me. There have always been fewer people who like "high" art than "pop" art, that's just in the nature of the two beasts, yet "high" art (in all forms, visual, theater, film, music, etc.) has managed to survive, and I think it always will. It's part of human nature. So let's just stop freaking out. Also, I would just like to say that I like BOTH high art and low art, a lot. Fellini is fantastic, but so is Star Wars. I love Mahler, but I also enjoy Lady GaGa.

On a somewhat related note, I visited YOLA@HOLA yesterday, and introduced their 4th-grade wind instrument students to the oboe. The kids already play flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, and horn. They are hoping to start a few kids on oboe and bassoon in the future. The children were a great audience, they behaved well, were enthusiastic, and asked great questions. I even played the English horn for them. (Harry Potter was a big hit on oboe, they requested it on English horn, as well!!) The kids learn solfege, recorder, and how to read music, sing in choir, and they also learn about composers and music history. They compose their own works from early on (one adorable 4th-grader titled his first (4-measure) composition "Kevin's Symphony No. 1"). They also have a class for parents, so that parents can learn some of what their children are learning, and get an idea of what goes on when their children are at YOLA@HOLA. They also have a class of 1st-graders who are learning violin and viola. They seem to have a really good thing going on, with good teachers. So anyway, I think these kinds of projects, though very difficult to execute quite so well as they are doing at YOLA@HOLA, are excellent and a big part of the future of classical music. Plus they provide a great service to their communities, especially since music has been eliminated from so many schools' curricula these days. I hope to help our program between Crossroads and St. Anne's School blossom into something like that.