Author Topic: Musical Education in the 21st Century  (Read 240 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Musical Education in the 21st Century
« on: December 06, 2019, 02:22:00 AM »
I’m only guessing this topic hasn’t been raised elsewhere on GMG CMF. My apologies if it’s already been done to death.
Having encountered the appalling results of musical so called education at an end of year high school concert last week I’m in despair at the falling standards of musicianship I witnessed.
There are many reasons for this.  I submit the central one is the almost complete removal of exposure to classical music in school syllabuses.

 Putting aside questions of theological indoctrination, some English cathedral schools are still a light in the dark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G69hMUqtvW4
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 02:28:59 AM by dissily Mordentroge »
The Human Race is Insane

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 584
  • Location: UK
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 02:49:32 AM »
I’m only guessing this topic hasn’t been raised elsewhere on GMG CMF. My apologies if it’s already been done to death.
Having encountered the appalling results of musical so called education at an end of year high school concert last week I’m in despair at the falling standards of musicianship I witnessed.
There are many reasons for this.  I submit the central one is the almost complete removal of exposure to classical music in school syllabuses.

 Putting aside questions of theological indoctrination, some English cathedral schools are still a light in the dark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G69hMUqtvW4

I understand Dissily's concern.  Taking the position of a devil's advocate I have to counter what he says by saying that - in the UK for sure - the actual standard of playing/performing across the Arts is undoubtedly improving significantly.  I went to a British music college back in the day, and more recently my daughter went to a dance college.  Our experience - albeit separated by some decades! - is the same - namely that the standard of the entrants into the top-flight institutions (NB: in the performing arts world here there a re a LOT of "colleges" pandering to the delusions of young people brought up on a diet of 'TV Talent shows' who believe they can have a career in performance) is substantially higher.  Simply put I would say that people are now auditioning to get into colleges with the pieces we were playing in our graduation recitals!

So at the "top end" quality is very high.  HOWEVER - the big educational issue is that music struggles for recognition of "worth" within a system that places notionally academic subjects above all else.  Speak to any peripatetic instrumental teacher and they will tell you that schools (and often parents) will seek to squeeze out music lessons from the curriculum.  My wife runs a dance school and despite every single study that shows that engagement in dance (or music) benefits students in every regard - physical & mental health as well as generally being "better" at the academic subjects - we encounter schools (and headteachers) fixated on SATS results (the government measure in the UK of how "well" a school and its pupils is performing) that are very resistant to encouraging any kind of non-academic activity whether arts or sports.  Given the obesity epidemic in the UK in young people this seems like madness on a public health level if nothing else!

When "music" is taught to GCSE or even A level standards in the UK it has been forced to become a "jack of all trades".  If you do English Literature or History or similar subjects it is accepted that you will specialise in particular areas with the subject -  a specific play, poet or book or a particular part of history.  Music now needs to tip its hat at everything from baroque to brit pop via ethnomusicology.  Its madness and ends up being tokenism of the worst kind with no breadth of understanding of anything.  I've been working with a young lad recently who is taking his GCSE's this coming Summer.  VERY keen on music, intelligent, good pianist (for his age).  I asked him his favourite music/composer - he said Liszt(!).  Fair enough - I asked him if he had heard the Piano Sonata which has to be key if you a) like Liszt b) have any interest in the development of keyboard composition.  No he hadn't - if you are not engaging the highly engaged what chance anyone else.......

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 12800
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 04:53:08 AM »
I wonder what you think the function of state education is. In my opinion, in the UK, the function is clear: to develop a docile, useful work force. I don’t see much of a place for music in that framework.

People with enough financial and cultural capital to give their kids an education out of the state sector will easily enough find a private school which will imbue their offspring with culture, including music education. And that will act as a passport to the “great” universities and the powerful well paid jobs.

But the state sector has a very different role to fulfil.

There is another aspect to this. To learn music, like learning maths and literature, is demanding. It demands a serious approach. This can’t be provided by a school. The school can encourage the pupils and support them, but without the support of the families, without the values, the discipline and the seriousness, they’re fighting a losing battle.

And all but the most fortunate families don’t value music, arts, sciences etc enough to provide the requisite support, to imbue their children with the requisite values. This is one reason why “academic “ education - arts, sciences, languages even - has had disappointing results in the UK.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 08:11:48 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline relm1

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 965
  • Location: California
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 08:10:32 AM »
I think the state of music education is very good but it is private.  I think there are many outstanding youth orchestras at the competitive levels and young people who are very interested in the performance of music at highly polished levels plus music composition as evidenced by judging contests for the past twelve years.  Most are just getting started and will probably fizzle out but some are quite outstanding and beyond their years.  I think all are the product of private training and parents who believe in the arts so it is a limited group who gets this exposure.

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 08:49:00 AM »
I think the state of music education is very good but it is private.  I think there are many outstanding youth orchestras at the competitive levels and young people who are very interested in the performance of music at highly polished levels plus music composition as evidenced by judging contests for the past twelve years.  Most are just getting started and will probably fizzle out but some are quite outstanding and beyond their years.  I think all are the product of private training and parents who believe in the arts so it is a limited group who gets this exposure.

I'm not directly in the loop by any means, but this is how it seems to me, as well

I would agree that music appreciation has taken a hit so the average person is exposed less to the classics but I doubt there's any shortage of advanced private music education... realistically, there's probably more than there ever was
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2019, 05:36:51 PM »
I think the state of music education is very good but it is private.  I think there are many outstanding youth orchestras at the competitive levels and young people who are very interested in the performance of music at highly polished levels plus music composition as evidenced by judging contests for the past twelve years.  Most are just getting started and will probably fizzle out but some are quite outstanding and beyond their years.  I think all are the product of private training and parents who believe in the arts so it is a limited group who gets this exposure.
So, a solid musical education, especially in classical music is for the rich only?
The Human Race is Insane

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 08:13:18 PM »
So, a solid musical education, especially in classical music is for the rich only?

It is more easily accessible to the rich and it's been that way for 100 years or more... I don't see anything in this person's post suggesting that's a good or just state of affairs but it's reality
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 09:44:44 PM »
It is more easily accessible to the rich and it's been that way for 100 years or more... I don't see anything in this person's post suggesting that's a good or just state of affairs but it's reality

Which places the focus back on such venerable institutions as the Anglican Church who have taken musically talented, often impoverished youngsters under their wings for centuries. However, today some parents may think twice about exposing their offspring to other aspects of such institutions.
The Human Race is Insane

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2019, 10:05:43 PM »
Which places the focus back on such venerable institutions as the Anglican Church who have taken musically talented, often impoverished youngsters under their wings for centuries. However, today some parents may think twice about exposing their offspring to other aspects of such institutions.

Very true
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline relm1

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 965
  • Location: California
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2019, 08:05:12 AM »
So, a solid musical education, especially in classical music is for the rich only?

I think that was always the case, sadly.  Same with other specialties.  Wasn't Latin only taught to the aristocracy in the middle ages?  That sort of thing.  I have an interesting history with music education because I started in public schools and never had a music class nor did I come from a musical family but for some unexplainable reason, I very much wanted to be musician.  Only in college when I could take classes I wanted to take as electives did I have my first musical class (piano).  I enjoyed it and took another and another (theory, harmony, etc).  I didn't really think of it as a career but as a hobby I was very curious about until I realized I kept on wanting to understand more and attain greater mastery until I got my masters degree in composition and play in symphony orchestras.  What is very unusual I think is that I never had early exposure to music but had the fire in me regardless and wonder where that came from since it wasn't from my friends nor family but was still inside of me.  Sadly the public education system doesn't do a good job of matching student's passions and talents with education but the wealthy have more opportunities to find that match and that has always been the case but it is very unfortunate not to be available to more people.  How many Mozart's or Einstein's might have existed but never found the conduit between their passion and career because opportunity wasn't available to them.  Yes, wealthy have more opportunity.  Welcome to reality. 
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 08:06:50 AM by relm1 »

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 02:34:20 AM »
Some discussion here has focused on musical eduction in England. From my experience and from evidence raised on this thread the English appear to be far ahead of many other nations in this.
In Australia and the US you can attend end of year school concerts over and over and never hear a hint of anything other than songs from musicals or very strange dilutions of pop/rock & roll etc. There’s also far too much evidence the fashionable idea everyone must be given their 'moment in the sun' even if they’re tone deaf and totally lacking any sense of rhythm. Needless to say millions of parents think this is all very lovely just having little Jacinta or Ogbolu up there on the stage.

So, to again get away from the absurd idea of encouraging the talentless here’s how many think it should be done. Elitist but necessary I suggest.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBNQz6cruSY



 
The Human Race is Insane

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2019, 03:13:28 AM »
Jacinta?  Ogbolu?  I don't follow
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2019, 03:19:29 AM »
Jacinta?  Ogbolu?  I don't follow
Just names randomly plucked out of my memory. I could had said little Cecilly and little Wilberforce.
No other signficance than that other than I did know a tone deaf little darling named Ogbolu from Lake Victoria who was unleashed as a soloist in an end of year high school concert I wish I could forget.
The Human Race is Insane

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2019, 03:34:00 AM »
Just names randomly plucked out of my memory. I could had said little Cecilly and little Wilberforce.
No other signficance than that other than I did know a tone deaf little darling named Ogbolu from Lake Victoria who was unleashed as a soloist in an end of year high school concert I wish I could forget.

Understood

I'm lucky enough to have absolute pitch so I feel your pain... most people don't even have halfway decent relative pitch ... those same people confuse "loud" or "confident" with "good" and the Ogbolus of the world are unleashed

We live in a world where the average person thinks "Flight of the Bumblebee" is the most difficult musical passage ever written and that playing it as unmusically fast as you can indicates demonic levels of musical talent
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel

Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 479
  • Location: Australia
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2019, 01:11:53 PM »
Understood

I'm lucky enough to have absolute pitch so I feel your pain... most people don't even have halfway decent relative pitch ... those same people confuse "loud" or "confident" with "good" and the Ogbolus of the world are unleashed

We live in a world where the average person thinks "Flight of the Bumblebee" is the most difficult musical passage ever written and that playing it as unmusically fast as you can indicates demonic levels of musical talent
We suffer absolute pitch together. Apart from the evils I witnessed behind the scenes when an organ pupil I suspect tuneless congregational ‘singing’ would have eventually forced me out anyway.

Sadly there are today a number of ‘Liberacis of the organ’ who play unmusically fast. One of them even has his fashion sense.
The Human Race is Insane

Offline ChopinBroccoli

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Greater NY, USA
Re: Musical Education in the 21st Century
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2019, 02:04:57 PM »
We suffer absolute pitch together. Apart from the evils I witnessed behind the scenes when an organ pupil I suspect tuneless congregational ‘singing’ would have eventually forced me out anyway.

Sadly there are today a number of ‘Liberacis of the organ’ who play unmusically fast. One of them even has his fashion sense.

 

 ;D
"If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"
- Handel