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How do you think about it?

meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited March 2013 in Music Major
I think this is very important issue for student who want to major music.

What Classical Musicians' Lack, Part 1 ? String Visions

How do you think about it?
edited March 2013
5 replies
Post edited by meekchun on
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Replies to: How do you think about it?

  • percussiondadpercussiondad 472 replies31 threadsRegistered User Member
    My D must have seen this coming because she had originally been a music perfomrance and music ED major but has changed that into Peformance and music business. She graduates this May with her undergrad degree in both. She told us that she learnt along the way that music business would probably much beneficial to her in many respects
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with one of the comments, from DCG, expressed better than I ever could.


    Actually, today’s musicians are much more qualified than prior generations. They are better educated (BM, MM, DMA rather than just BM), have had to be more flexible in the types of gigs they do and styles of music they perform, have better access to resources such as scores and recordings than in the past, and have more experience teaching in a variety of ways. Now performers are expected to be able to teach group and individual lessons, lead workshops as Teaching Artists, teach other related instruments, and general music appreciation, history, theory and musicianship classes. If prior generations of musicians had to hustle the way younger musicians now have to, they would be shocked and thankful that it was so easy to get their jobs back when there were actually a decent number of audition postings by the union and demand/money for orchestras. And let’s not forget that most of the musical employment pool 2 generations ago was (white) men, leaving out competition from more than 50% of today’s workforce.

    These days conservatories have excellent programs on entrepreneurship, community outreach, marketing and other practical training. I think today’s graduates are doing as well as they can despite growing debt from higher education, the growing tendency of colleges to cut liberal arts departments such as music (and primary/secondary education having already cut these programs), a national hostility toward placing value on the arts as compared with science, business technology, and a difficult economy that makes older generations cling with gusto to music jobs within the establishment. Just because you quote a couple clueless graduates does not mean they are a representative sample.

    Leave recent graduates alone; problems with the music scene preceded them.
    - See more at: What Classical Musicians' Lack, Part 1 ? String Visions
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  • musicprntmusicprnt 6216 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The reality of music is very different then when many people perceive it to be. Music students go in knowing very little other then they think they love music, and they see, for example, themselves as soloists (if on a soloist instrument) or that high class position at the NY Phil, Philadelphia, etc level of orchestra (leaving out the reality of those), and as others have pointed out, that stuff is on the fringes of the bell curve for a working musician, in terms of attainability (put it this way, each year on violin there are waves of 'fresh new' soloists, coming out of the top conservatories, winning or placing high in top competitions, yet if you look at the roster of soloists on violin playing the major orchestras, you see a relative handful of names, it is rare for a new face to really break in,hasn't been one in a while. Then, too, by experience, at the music schools there are a lot of teachers whose experience with the music world was formed generation or more ago, when it was quite different, and they are still telling their student that their paths have to stay pure classical to be 'accepted' and such, and that prime their kids to go after the competitions and such, to be the great soloist, even though for the most part that is wishful thinking. Kids are also still being brought up in music to think that doing ensemble work, like orchestra and chamber, is for 'second rate musicians'.

    If kids choose to take advantage of them, a lot of programs, like Juilliard, offer courses on how to market yourselves, how to find gigs, how to do jobs, get students, and so forth (I Have heard mixed stories on whether the kids listen). Another way is to get to know working musicians, volunteer at orchestras and such, talk to the musicians (one of the gifts my s has had is a lot of exposure to working musicians in the NY music world, it helped him in deciding what to do and how to do it). Recognize that any gig may be a networking opportunity, any volunteer position might lead to something else, it gets you out there and known. In the top programs, from everything I have heard, there are a lot of kids with oversize egos, and when they get out in the working world, are going to find that their attitude will make them hard to employ, because they don't get along with people.

    It also means recognizing that music is music, and whether subbing in an orchestra like Orpheus, or doing recording work with an Indy band, maybe for free, is all the same, it is music. Classical music likes to hold itself as this great entity on the hill away from 'coarse' common culture, but it is still music and lives within a broader community.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
  • musicprntmusicprnt 6216 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Interesting article, and I generally agree with what he is writing. There is major tension in classical music, the model that has been out there for roughly a little over 100 years is that classical music is a 'high art', that needs to be separated from the need to please 'audience tastes' and so forth. When orchestras went to the model where endowments and grants and sponsorship replaced ticket sales as the prime way they were funded, they ended up isolating themselves from the audience, what you ended up with was the orchestras and such saying "This is 'real' music, this is what we think is great music, and it is up to you, the audience, to learn to love what we think you should love"....and the problem is, that is as bad as what the article mentioning, an orchestra totally bending to the wind and becoming some sort of pop like 'experience'.

    The article talks about the need for 'new music' to bring in new audiences, but therein lies one of the big rubs. For the past 100 years or so, that 'new music', rather then bringing in new audiences, has repelled them quite frankly, with the introduction of 12 tone music and extremely atonal, academically oriented music, you have an extreme case of this. The NY Philharmonic has composers in residence, and what do they choose? Magnus Lindberg. Orpheus comes up with this 440 program to commission works by young composers, and what comes out of it? Tone Rows and minimalistic music. I have been over the past number of years to a lot of concerts featuring new music and pieces by young composers, and almost without fail, it is mostly 12 tone pieces with some minimalist stuff thrown in.. I keep hearing audiences will warm up to this stuff, but 12 tone has been around for 100 years now, and they still have to program it in the first half of concerts, to keep people from leaving at intermission. There are exceptions to this, both John Adams and Phillip Glass have pieces that are in common performance, but a lot of that is because both of them have broken from rigid orthodoxy. Ars gratia Artis is all well and good, but when you have the attitude that Milton Babbit and such had, that it doesn't matter whether audiences want to hear it or not, you have what you see today, where musicians and music directors love the new pieces being written, and audiences hate them.

    So what does that mean to a young musician? That they live in a world where audiences do matter, especially now that the gravy train that has fed music, specifically orchestras and such, has dried up. Corporate and public funding for arts groups, that allowed them to be so isolated from 'the audience', have dried up quite a bit, and orchestras and such are faced with aging audiences (heck, downright old) and looking to the future wondering what to do. It means young musicians are not going to be able to assume the old model is there, that they are going to be able to get a job with an orchestra and work that way for 30 or 40 years, it means they are going to have to do a lot of things. They won't be able to say "I am a classical musician" and expect to make a living that way alone, they are going to have to market themselves as a more well rounded musician IMO. They won't be able to be part of a chamber group, and expect that endowments and such will fund your mania to play obscure, weird pieces by modern young composers that don't draw audiences. It is going to mean "selling yourself" and do things you personally aren't quite that interested in; a haydn string quarter might be less interesting to you then a piece full of all kinds of wonky tone rows and weird harmonics, that challenge your playing skills, but it also might put your audience to sleep. There is nothing wrong with understanding the tastes of the public and trying to find ways to accomodate them, in effect, classical music was spread in the US because of people who did just that (read up sometime on the world Walter Damrosch did in spreading music, fascinating). As a musician, take to heart what duke ellington said, there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad music...:)
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