Is infantilism killing classical music?

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I have had a number of discussions with suzuki trained violinists, that go something like this.

Me: "I have a violin, but I can only play in tune in the fourth and fifth position, because that is where the harmonics are."
Suzuki trained violinist:"What are you talking about you?", giving me an indolent look, "You don't need to know that you just put your fingers where the notes are in tune."

After these encounters I realized that the musical understanding is basically of a two year old, and it comes out in the music as plain as day.

Later I had a trumpet teacher(I was in my 30's), he wanted me to play nursery rhymes to practice my major scales. He had other students maybe six or seven years old, I'm sure this method worked for them, but it kind of opened my eyes to how juvenile his music was.

All of these people could no doubt shred, but at some point you have to look at it and say, the market will never mature, because these people are just playing what they learned in nursery school, and the sound really doesn't appeal to many people.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Do you have a positive look out on anything in life?
Its not clear to me how my discussing decline in classical music is a negative outlook? I think it is pretty well known that fewer and fewer orchestras are maintaining funding, which really isn't my problem, though I kind of like the instrumentation, so I could see how that would be kind of sad. And quite frankly some nights I would go to watch my teacher's performances, and there would be only half a dozen people there not including his mother, who was also there.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Its not clear to me how my discussing decline in classical music is a negative outlook? I think it is pretty well known that fewer and fewer orchestras are maintaining funding, which really isn't my problem, though I kind of like the instrumentation, so I could see how that would be kind of sad. And quite frankly some nights I would go to watch my teacher's performances, and there would be only half a dozen people there not including his mother, who was also there.
Is there a decline in classical music or just a decline in people going to watch classical music ?

I can't imagine anything duller than going listening to an evening of live classical music. It brings horrible memories of school and being forced to listen to a load of crusty old cr@p with a music teacher who thought the only music worthy of listening to was a load of junk from 300 years back played on dusty, oddly shaped, wooden and metallic instruments, held by cobweb covered old battleaxes.

This is a very personal opinion...I hate it. And I blame it on the bully of a music teacher I had at school.

A piece of coursework we had one year was to do project on a band. Now, clearly he intended for us to traipse around listening to the Halle Orchestra all summer, because that's what he did, and he expected us to do something similar. He'd have probably tolerated a brass band. He didn't consider that any of us had contacts in the music game with live musicians....I did. My best mate was the guitarist for a punk rock band in Manchester. And this was when Manchester was it it's height (1980s).

So my project was basically a summer touring around with these lads...recording all their rehearsals...photos....gig reports....gig ads....all sorts.

Turned up after the summer with a thick folder and an artists portfolio full of stuff on the band...and he basically proceeded to ridicule me, the band, the band name (Lost Innocence)....basically everything he could attack he did.

Hated that guy...I think I took up drums as a rebellion against that @sshat. And to this day whenever I hear classical music I hear and see HIM, and immediately turn it off.
 
Last edited:

MrPockets

Gold Member
Its not clear to me how my discussing decline in classical music is a negative outlook? I think it is pretty well known that fewer and fewer orchestras are maintaining funding, which really isn't my problem, though I kind of like the instrumentation, so I could see how that would be kind of sad. And quite frankly some nights I would go to watch my teacher's performances, and there would be only half a dozen people there not including his mother, who was also there.
The orchestras where I live*seem* to be doing okay. Although one of the two big ones had a lock out because they wanted more pay. I assume that if they had a lock out there was reason to believe the profit of the orchestra was high enough to want a higher income per musician, or other reasons (like city x have this income why not us).

But to your main point. Some people like classical music for it's complexity, some people hate it for that. I like it because I like to play it and it helps my brain function when reading or studying if it is background noise (same with jazz).

I am sure other people hate it because they weren't 1st chair last time they played, or that is all they heard growing up and had enough, or they don't like the instruments, etc.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
You bring up two separate issues, which are not tied to one another.

In the basic training of music on an instrument you are learning on, the facility of that instrument is taught at first, through scales and nursery rhymes, in order for the student to focus on learning how to play the instrument via the technical demands. Also, students new to music will recognize basic melodies and see short-term successes in being able to play them, and successes are what keep beginning instrumentalists going--any music teacher should know this. This is not to generalize all learning as elementary school-level, but you've got to start somewhere. When I picked up trumpet, I learned by playing through a Real Book. They were songs that I was familiar with, much like nursery rhymes are to a (previously) non-musician. In that sense, I started learning to play tunes I already had an ear for, and it allowed me to focus on "is this the right note?" and, "am I on pitch?"

Classical music's decline has been observed over the past 30 years or so, yes. It's partly attributed to factors such as the main audience base is declining (older people are dying/getting too sick to attend concerts), young people listening only to modern music and not branching out, and funding for the art getting cut. Classical music and jazz, from the outside, are showing signs of dying out, but from the inside are still lively, enriching art forms that are worth exploring deeper and deeper. With pop culture not geared towards them, though, the initial foot-in-the-door numbers have seen a dramatic decrease. This is not due to the infantilism of classical music at all. If anything, it can be attributed to the infantilism of the mindset of the generations growing up without wanting to experience classical music.

Just my $0.02...
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Is there a decline in classical music or just a decline in people going to watch classical music ?

I can't imagine anything duller than going listening to an evening of live classical music. It brings horrible memories of school and being forced to listen to a load of crusty old cr@p with a music teacher who thought the only music worthy of listening to was a load of junk from 300 years back played on dusty, oddly shaped, wooden and metallic instruments, held by cobweb covered old battleaxes.

This is a very personal opinion...I hate it. And I blame it on the bully of a music teacher I had at school.

A piece of coursework we had one year was to do project on a band. Now, clearly he intended for us to traipse around listening to the Halle Orchestra all summer, because that's what he did, and he expected us to do something similar. He'd have probably tolerated a brass band. He didn't consider that any of us had contacts in the music game with live musicians....I did. My best mate was the guitarist for a punk rock band in Manchester. And this was when Manchester was it it's height (1980s).

So my project was basically a summer touring around with these lads...recording all their rehearsals...photos....gig reports....gig ads....all sorts.

Turned up after the summer with a thick folder and an artists portfolio full of stuff on the band...and he basically proceeded to ridicule me, the band, the band name (Lost Innocence)....basically everything he could attack he did.

Hated that guy...I think I took up drums as a rebellion against that @sshat. And to this day whenever I hear classical music I hear and see HIM, and immediately turn it off.
Grudge holding much?

Were you by chance taking a class where the course curriculum was based on classical music?
 

picodon

Silver Member
"Infantilism of the generations growi ng up without wanting to experience classical music" ..hmmm :) just because it Has Been Decided that Classical Music is good for the masses does not mean there will never be (is already) modern music that is just as Good (whatever good may mean) as what a few 17th century Italians and Germans once wrote.

How many versions of Beethoven's 5th does one really need/need to subsidize?

I have nothing against Beethoven but he's not any better than, say, Prince on my planet. Or Nile Rodgers, let's make it more provokative :p

This is a bit of a thread hijack, sorry :)
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I see no issue with putting scales in context, especially on instruments like the violin where you want to know if you're right on pitch (disclaimer: I own a violin). I'm with Caddy on this one and would repeat his argument word-for-word.

I haven't experienced a decline in audiences, at least when I was on the 'scene'. I used to live in Lancaster and had the privilege of complimentary tickets to quite a few Hallé Orchestra and Choir shows (my then-girlfriend was a Soprano in the Hallé Choir - I auditioned but I can't sightread well enough). I went to see Mahler's 'Symphony of a Thousand' in Birmingham in a packed Birmingham Symphony Hall with about 400 musicians (six choirs, full orchestra) and it was immense. For my 23rd, I was taken to Covent Garden to see 'The Rite of Spring' (and some Poulenc). Again, packed out.

The irony is that tickets to a major Classical concert are about the same price as seeing a major touring Rock act these days.

SquadLeader, I see where you're coming from mate. As a kid, I had Classic FM rammed down my throat and my brother was constantly playing Classical music (virtuoso Pianist and French Horn player) so it took me a long, long time to come around to it again. I was fortunate enough to have the opposite experience at school, with a teacher that was very open-minded to my experimentalism and that helped me a lot. It meant that I left with a broad taste in music but had it been different, I think I could've echoed your sentiments.

In my experience, Classical training hasn't been hugely infantilised. If I go back to my first year at University, I was learning advanced theory in a very 'adult' way. It was tough as nails but very rewarding.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Classical and Jazz recording sales used to hold at about 3% each of total recorded music sales. In the US classical sales have dipped below 2% and if you consider that some of the music labelled classical is a crossover sort of music, it is much worse. However, classical music sales, in S Korea for example, account for 18% of total music sales. Everywhere I look I see the culture in collapse in the US. Nothing new here.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
I'm with Caddy on this one and would repeat his argument word-for-word.
Same here. Musical knowledge is in no way related to your physical ability to play the instrument. Familiarizing your self with scales and fingerings is an integral step to move on to the next level. If you don't like nursery rhymes then don't play nursery rhymes, but you have to do something.
 

coolhand1969

Senior Member
Maybe I am not grasping this thread, but after I overdosed and my parents had to come get me from another state, I listened to Public Radio at night to help calm me down. It worked, maybe it was the complexity of the music. Unluckily, ever once in a while they would play Opera and I would jump up to turn it off, do not like opera.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I see no issue with putting scales in context, especially on instruments like the violin where you want to know if you're right on pitch (disclaimer: I own a violin). I'm with Caddy on this one and would repeat his argument word-for-word.

I haven't experienced a decline in audiences, at least when I was on the 'scene'. I used to live in Lancaster and had the privilege of complimentary tickets to quite a few Hallé Orchestra and Choir shows (my then-girlfriend was a Soprano in the Hallé Choir - I auditioned but I can't sightread well enough). I went to see Mahler's 'Symphony of a Thousand' in Birmingham in a packed Birmingham Symphony Hall with about 400 musicians (six choirs, full orchestra) and it was immense. For my 23rd, I was taken to Covent Garden to see 'The Rite of Spring' (and some Poulenc). Again, packed out.

The irony is that tickets to a major Classical concert are about the same price as seeing a major touring Rock act these days.

SquadLeader, I see where you're coming from mate. As a kid, I had Classic FM rammed down my throat and my brother was constantly playing Classical music (virtuoso Pianist and French Horn player) so it took me a long, long time to come around to it again. I was fortunate enough to have the opposite experience at school, with a teacher that was very open-minded to my experimentalism and that helped me a lot. It meant that I left with a broad taste in music but had it been different, I think I could've echoed your sentiments.

In my experience, Classical training hasn't been hugely infantilised. If I go back to my first year at University, I was learning advanced theory in a very 'adult' way. It was tough as nails but very rewarding.
I wish I could remember her name....it may well come back to me but I had a client who became a very good friend who was the lead singer (if that's the right terminology) in the Halle orchestra. She was definitely Soprano. She worked in Salford for a firm called Raab Karcher. We became really good friends then lost touch sadly. Many years ago, and I've a total memory block on it

Small world....I am desperately trying to remember her name as you might actually know her.
 
Top