It is quite strange how 'liberals' set themselves up as being 'right' and 'good'. They don't see their position as being anything other and anyone who disagrees with them must therefore be 'wrong' and 'bad'. .
No mirrors in Schloss Brodsky then,Doc?
My experience of teaching music in the 90's doesn't exactly chime with what Jeff is saying is happening now and for that reason I am shocked by what Jeff is saying.
My own bigger concern is with youth culture and attitudes in general. The bigger picture if you like.
That's an insult JKH, I'm as bad as they come, I is da meanist gansta .... etc etc
...and I've told you before, my image doesn't reflect in mirrors.
My own experience of music at school back in the 70's (Adrian your post rang some bells) was that we had a great choral tradition in school but if you wanted to study music that was a different issue.
We had a music director, and slightly mad visionary he was. Ah! happy childhood memories of him stamping his feet and screaming at us that we were all village idiots, which I thought was rather unfair as I came from a small town. Anyway we had about a 200 strong choir of boys and masters. Religiously he rehearsed the choir sections separately just about every lunch time. We did three concerts a year - a Christmas carol concert in the Cathedral, a musical evening in school mid-way though the academic year, and a major work in the cathedral at the end. Good amateur or semi-professional soloists were drafted in, and an orchestra that used to come I think from music students at the RNCM, the second music master on the organ, and I thus got to sing in Verdi, Bruckner, Handel and Bach meisterwerke.
But if you wanted to study music at school it was a different ball game entirely. You had to play at least one if not two instruments, and be in the choir of course, with the result that only six of us did music o-level and that I was the solitary music A-level student. The A-level syllabus was quite demanding: 4 parts. 1) I had to play Schubert's Moment Musicaux no. 1 and Debussy's Arabesque 1 2) A History of Music paper which included set works and a set composer, which was Britten 3) A Harmony and Counterpoint paper - finish this string trio in 45 mins. and a Bach chorale to harmonize and 4) The dreaded ear-test paper - write this melody down for trumpet. Harmonize this, do that. But we'll be kind to you and we'll play each bit twice.
Elsewhere compulsory music lessons up to and including third year often resulted in the 2nd music master allowing us to read boy's adventure story books rather than bother. Occasionally he felt brave enough to put a record on.
In other words Music was a bit of an exclusive club really.
But I found to my joy that when doing my post-grad teacher training in the mid-80's that the emphasis was changing dramatically. It was now all about getting kids involved in practical music-making; classroom orchestra - music teachers were actively encouraged to make arrangements for whole class, including both those who could play instruments and those who could be entrusted with a triangle - classroom choir, doing graphic pieces based on star constellations and all sorts of wonderful stuff. What was so liberating was that music was becoming inclusive not exclusive in state schools.
As I said above, we had a fairly thriving music department in the RC School I taught music in and managed wind band, orchestra and choir and singing was done often in lessons.We used a variety of music as should be to listen to.
There is a very interesting report which has been recently published by OFSTED in March this year which doesn't make for particularly happy reading. What stands out is that music teaching compares poorly to other subjects in terms of those schools rated good or outstanding for music provision, and an obvious inadequate use of practical music-making and singing which was the norm in the 80's and 90's from what I saw.
The OFSTED report though does not make any judgements about the genres of music used in schools. There are, however, some good practice examples given.
Music in schools wider still, and wider report - summary.doc
It's on the OFSTED website.
By the way, there are plenty of schools specialising in Music - the Prom brochure every year is full of them!
Arrh the good old days, you can get a socialist GCSE now in Cultcha by chanting a rap song whilst spraying paint on a wall. The BBC will be reporting how our educational standards are improving.
Hi Ubr - ne1 cn pas in cultcha 'seezi al u do is wtch mtv. mi disrtn izon beyonce n' rhianna 500 wrds bt ofa strugl but izl be orite. the practicl exm is an improv rap on a subjct chosn by the exmbored but ms sez itl be on the olympcks. bithwy me likes that geeza brendl he is wickd on bethovn. ee is wl bad i mn good.
sorry dude me has put 2 mny full.s n
They showed the concert in the US. I think that Lang Lang was the only classical artist that I recall as being listed as performing during it (please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here)? And they didn't even show him perform! :-( They kept mentioning that it was supposed to be a concert for "the people", but I felt rather badly for the *older royals--particularly Her Majesty as I can't see most of that music being her cup of tea!
*and perhaps that's also why she didn't show up at the beginning too?
I think we also got to see Keith Lockhart in profile for a few seconds conducting what I suppose was the BBC Concert Orchestra. If you blinked you missed it.
Bliss-as I said originally the concert was a disgrace. Lang Lang was the only token ''classical'' bit and even that tiny short bit was a joke. He has become a ridiculous piano 'kung fu' parody of a pianist-hammered out Liszt and brutally hammered out end of Rhapsody in Blue (why just the end bit!-did the organisers worry that the audience might need a braincell for the rest) with stupid facial expressions and laughable arm movements. Notice Klang Lang didnt act like this in Barenboim's Beethoven masterclass when he was younger! Totally unmusical and an insult to the music. Not that the crowd noticed-more interested in trash like JLS and Lord Gary Barlow's drivel song.
Lord Gary Barlow's drivel song.
So Gary Barlow is already a lord? Good for him! Living abroad I hadn't heard his Jubilee song but have looked it up on You Tube. Granted it's no masterpiece - but which "classical" composer of today would have come up with anything better? In fact Barlow's song is distinctly inferior to the last song he wrote for Take That in their original incarnation in 1996, Back for Good. Criticise the current pop music scene by all means - but equally propose a viable alternative that doesn't depend on music written decades or centuries ago. So just who are the great contemporary "classical"'composers?
Criticise the current pop music scene by all means - but equally propose a viable alternative that doesn't depend on music written decades or centuries ago. So just who are the great contemporary "classical"'composers?
It is not as simple as that. Pop music is here and now and lasts a week, maybe a month, it is throw away culture, designed as such and marketed as such. The growth of pop music as an industry depends on the fact that you need to replace it every other week. Simple music for simple consumer fashion lead minds. Composers of classical music are largely judged on the influence they have on subsequent generations, it is music of substance and designed to last. Of course it should appeal to current audiences but Hummel, Spohr, CPE Bach, Salieri etc appealed to their audience as much as and in some cases alot more than JS Bach, Mozart and Beethoven did. Being popular today doesn't make you a great for all time. The next generation will tell us who the greats of today were, we are the guardians of the past and must preserve the legacy and teach the next generation well. Teaching them that everything is of equal value and they don't have to make judgements is just 1970's hippy trash.
Guillaume-Your argument does not work because it is not relevant if current classical composers are great or not as regards Barlow's song. Even if there were no good composers around now it still does not make 'Sing' any better music,and the song is still derivative rubbish-I teach composition and have 12 year olds write better music.By the way I write both pop and classical. I was of course joking about Barlow being a Lord (I was hinting at the unwarranted OBE he got for organising a terrible concert). Of course we are now getting into the debatable huge argument of if you can compare pop songs with classical anyway. Even good songs like 'Night and Day' never pretended to challenge Beethoven.
NB: You asked for viable alternatives.They may not be great composers music but the following have much integrity. Look up on Youtube- Tsontakis third piano quartet(2005),John Adams Slonominsky's Earbox(2001).
Or my own 'classical' music for piano(and synthesisers) or orchestra!!! http://soundcloud.com/graham-yeloff (hope it is within the rules to post a link as I am not currently on youtube)
I couldn't agree more, Jeffyoung, with your today's post #12. I can also agree about the integrity of Tsontakis work but not that much about John Adams.
However, I have to admit that, unashamedly, prefer to listen to some great (or "good", as you put it) songs of the American Songbook (like "Night and Day") rather than let's say the Sixth Symphony by William Schuman (I might need an aspirin afterwards). No comparison, by all means, of the importance of music writing in both cases. As you rightly claimed it, these songs, regardless how good they might be, never "pretended" to challenge any Classical composer.
Jeff - I applaud your bravery in posting that link to your piano pieces. Thankyou. I hope you get some decent comments back! Myself I will have a listen as soon as I can figure out why my computer speakers aren't working. Sounds like a dodgy wire/lead.