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#1935590 - 08/01/12 12:45 AM Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
The Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist

Before our very eyes, and yet, without us even seeing, musical artists are disappearing regularly, and in large numbers! Disappearing - but not dying, and not becoming disabled, and not unable to play or sing or conduct or compose or produce. They are not being kidnapped and taken to other parts of the world where their art and craft will be exploited, or appreciated. They are not voluntarily abandoning music because of a more compelling interest, nor for mere financial improvement. But just as surely as any of these false reasons might indicate, we ARE constantly losing our musical artists. They are being REPLACED!

The notion of replacement is typically a positive process. The alternator on my car wears out, and will no longer recharge the battery. I replace the defective alternator with a new one, and Presto! . . . the problem is solved. The process of replacement of persons is not always as clear or as happy. In industry or business, an individual who is not performing the duties of his job, or who might be incapable of handling his job’s demands, is often “replaced” with another individual who has more experience, or appears more capable. Here, the outcome is still potentially beneficial to the company in general.

But the replacement about which I am writing – the replacement of the PEOPLE and the PROFESSIONS held by musical artists - is one of the most destructive and troubling of all. I could easily fill pages upon pages with facts and figures, and many additional with my impressions of why and how this is happening, and even more with what I believe is needed to reverse the trend (if it is not, indeed, too late). But rather than do that, rather than telling you what I think, and why I think it, I shall resort to something that typically stirs annoyance on the Forums - a story:

Once upon a time, not very long ago, there was a huge, thriving profession that many referred to as “The Music Business”. Like its name implies, it consisted of the Music part – artists; and the Business part – entrepreneurs; and also the Consumers part – the audiences. It worked out fairly nicely for all concerned, and here is why --

Consumers had a hunger for music. Many had cultivated “sophisticated” tastes, and desired not only certain genre of music, but also a high level of mastery from the performing artist. Many others were quite happy with less complicated and less artistic performances, and even more used music as their reason to dance. Consumers “purchased” their music in the form of live concerts, records, tapes, and CDs. They also “voted” for the music they preferred by patronizing particular radio stations, including the products advertised thereon. Many sought to bring live music right into their homes, up-close-and-personal, with the purchase of instruments like the piano. Highly sophisticated or not, Consumers PAID for their music.

This allowed (encouraged) the Business people to expand venues, and methods, where music could be heard. Concert halls, theaters, ball rooms, jazz clubs, the radio, Victrolas, records themselves, tapes and recorders, CDs, recording studios, play-back equipment, stereo systems, record stores (remember them?). Again, some of these were very specialized, and “sophisticated”, and others not so much. Agents handling the better musical artists, and the better venues, sprang up. Music publishing companies were started. Music wholesale and retail stores opened in cities and small towns alike. Consumers had a hunger for music, and these Business people were helping satisfy the demand. Generally, things were pretty dam* good!

Ah, the Artists! How DEEP do the artists go? There were the obvious singers, players, composers, arrangers, conductors. There were great ones, and the not-so-great alike. Then there were the equally essential but less obvious acousticians, “sound men”, recording technicians, orchestra managers, “roadies”. How about those teachers, who devoted years of work and worry to their better students, ensuring a continuous supply of great talent? Conservatories, where the best of the teachers shared their knowledge with the best of the students, were formed, and thrived. Let’s not overlook those dedicated craftsman and craftswomen who perfected musical instruments to be played by the great and the not-quite-as-great.

While there were certainly exceptions, generally the Music Business rewarded those who were the best in each of their specialties, with financial gain and public recognition. In that way, the entire system sort of encouraged improvement and excellence. The Consumers who came to expect more were fulfilled with better and better performances. Sort of a nice, perpetually-improving arrangement. (The Rock-n-Roll craze might be an obvious exception here.)

Finally, to my questions: How is it that we are not living happily ever-after? How have we allowed most of these professions to wither and die? How have we allowed the ones that apparently persist to become so diluted and dumbed-down that they are only shadows of their former glory? Our music professions are being replaced, one-by-one, while we discuss semantics. Am I the only one who sees this?

Any and all thoughts are invited.
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In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1935597 - 08/01/12 12:58 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Interesting you should post this. I've just finished reading a biography of Artur Schnabel; his life covered the period of the great Romantics to the 1950s, when in the post war period, this decline you refer to really picked up momentum. He had to cope with the early shellack recordings, radio broadcasts, etc., and of course, being Jewish, having to emigrate from Germany to a safe haven, which ended up being the USA. It will be interesting to learn what others think of the transition we've gone through and the causes.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1935598 - 08/01/12 01:07 AM Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: John v.d.Brook]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Thanks, John,

This has been percolating for awhile.

Naturally, as you form them, I am eager to read your thoughts on the subject.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1935604 - 08/01/12 01:35 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 857
You need a book to do justice to this topic.

It is difficult to make children appreciate music, art, and clothing because the internet and television pour pop culture into them at every turn. We need to reduce our reliance on media before art can return.

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#1935646 - 08/01/12 04:41 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
Are we really losing our "musical artists"? It may be that there are fewer (successful) professional musicians (I have no idea if this is true) or that the music business that you describe is in decline, but I don't think that amounts to a loss of musical artists. I don't think that changes in the distribution and promotion system mean that we have (or will have) fewer musicians; on the contrary, it may make people more aware of smaller, local acts. The decline of the music industry might lead to fewer full-time professional musicians, but that's not the same thing as losing our musical artists. People who want to make music will. Some of them will be able to make a living doing that, while for many it will have to be only part of their life -- but isn't that how it's always been?

I also have to disagree with the idea that the internet is somehow undermining appreciation of art. Sites like Bandcamp and Jamendo provide a wonderful opportunity for independent musicians to reach a larger audience; there are thousands of artists and literally millions of songs on those two sites alone. This isn't just an opportunity for the artists, but also a wealth of material for consumers. Surely this is a good thing?

If the concern is about "art", then I would argue that the art (of any kind) doesn't emerge from a business/industrial process like the one described in the first post. The entertainment industry is a business and, like any business, tends to be risk-averse. The artistic process, on the other hand, often involves taking risks and challenging conventions, even if that frequently leads to failure. You're unlikely to find artistic innovation in the output of an industry, since the point of any industry is to minimize (or control) the risk involved in producing a given commodity.
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Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
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Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1935650 - 08/01/12 05:12 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
I think it was around the 1950's that the "youth market" was discovered. Sophisticated adults then worked in a concerted way to manipulate that age group and artificially forged that identity. In fact, it probably extends into a lot of other groups, ages, and finds its way into "trends" which are not spontaneous happenings. Create a trend and you make a buck or a few million. When I grew up and into my twenties and thirties, our free entertainment was via radio and television. These essentially dictated our tastes and what we were exposed to. And of course that helps with the same manipulation of age groups and the rest.

This has completely turned around. We have a medium now where for the first time we can choose what we want to listen to and watch, and do so at whatever time of day or night we want to, regardless of where we live. This also means that our young people have that choice and they do exercise it. Of course the marketers haven't caught on, and they are churning out the same stereotypes that they always have, and when we pay attention to them then this is where we think youth is.

I guess that this answers Candywoman's concern more than the original topic which it is part of. I think the deterioration Ed writes of began with this market mentality and usage of the media. Maybe we can't go back to what we had 100 years ago (do we want to?) but maybe something new is springing up as well.

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#1935707 - 08/01/12 08:41 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: Candywoman]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
. . . It is difficult to make children appreciate music, art, and clothing because the internet and television pour pop culture into them at every turn. We need to reduce our reliance on media before art can return.

I am absolutely certain, CandyWoman, that this is a huge part of the scenario I describe. I am not at all certain that most "consumers" (children OR adults) would recognize a real musical ARTIST if one fell on them!

Your reducing our reliance on media certainly would help foster the return of art. But how about the redirection of that same media to educate, to set standards, and to embrace the very best of what is left?

(Of course, how one might bring that about is the problem, isn't it?)
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1935735 - 08/01/12 10:00 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
. . . It is difficult to make children appreciate music, art, and clothing because the internet and television pour pop culture into them at every turn. We need to reduce our reliance on media before art can return.

I am absolutely certain, CandyWoman, that this is a huge part of the scenario I describe. I am not at all certain that most "consumers" (children OR adults) would recognize a real musical ARTIST if one fell on them!

Your reducing our reliance on media certainly would help foster the return of art. But how about the redirection of that same media to educate, to set standards, and to embrace the very best of what is left?

(Of course, how one might bring that about is the problem, isn't it?)


Ed, I definitely share your concerns.

The only thing I know to do is spread the word and maybe, little by little, people will wake up and see how the media spins everything. Most people, while they know this, probably don't realize the extent to which it affects things.

I recently learned of Edward Bernays. Finding out about this guy was a huge eye opener about the state of our culture...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

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#1935757 - 08/01/12 10:29 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
But how about the redirection of that same media to educate, to set standards, and to embrace the very best of what is left?

This is where I was going in my last post. But with a difference. The media has been used to direct the public and to create for-profit tastes. We now have a medium where people have the same freedom that they had before there was radio and television, and they are forming their own reality. It is in human nature to seek depth and meaning. Gradually people are discovering and rediscovering these things, including both old masters and new masters. In the same way that when we hear something we like on the radio we will go out to buy the record / tape / CD, people are moved to seek out the music that they encounter on the Internet.

We are getting a false reading because the same forces that have manipulated the market are still telling us the same things. Meanwhile people themselves are finally free to explore and make up their own minds.

Previously "education" was going on, but it was a negative education - almost a DISeducation. It was sophisticated and subliminal. At this moment I am picturing a commercial I saw a few years ago on someone's television (I don't own one anymore). They were selling a car, and the driver was listening to beautiful classical music: then he drives like mad through the desert and the music was raucus - this was supposed to be better. Continually the media portrayed classical music as undesireable and un-cool. I suggest that we've got the wrong thing as chicken, and the wrong thing as egg.

Even 15 years ago a man in a music store told me how many young people were skipping the loud noisy stuff, and asking for Gregorian chant for their Walkmans (which still existed). We have the media money makers shouting so loud that nothing else can be heard. Therefore we get convinced about what the tastes are. People themselves get convinced that these are their tastes. They don't dare show other tastes publicly, for fear of appearing not with it, but privately they have them.

The idea of educating people puts them into a passive state, where something has to be done to them because they are too stupid to get there themselves. That is what has been going on in the first place. I agree that giving people information is a good idea, and so education is good. But I also believe that the opportunity and ACCESS to good music (and knowledge and everything else) will create a counter-thrust in the right direction.

These ideal scenarios of the past that I read about: That was so for parts of population here and there. Many were shut out. What if we could create something new and better? Revive good things from the past and add to it.

Meanwhile, there have always been good artists who did not make it to the public because of those same forces. In fact, apparently Bach himself spent time in jail for exercising his artistic freedom at the wrong time in the wrong place, if the documentary I watched last week is accurate.

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#1935770 - 08/01/12 10:58 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: thurisaz]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: thurisaz
Are we really losing our "musical artists"? . . . . .. Some of them will be able to make a living doing that, while for many it will have to be only part of their life -- but isn't that how it's always been?

Thurisaz,

Thanks for weighing in on the subject. I probably should have placed more emphasis on the ARTISTRY aspect of the musicians. Certainly there have always been, and hopefully always will be, the casual player or composer or recording “buff”. Hel*, for fifty kroners one can go out and buy a “piano”, and some digital recording device can be gotten for a similar amount. Those are decidedly NOT the artists about whom I am writing.

Originally Posted By: thurisaz
I also have to disagree with the idea that the internet is somehow undermining appreciation of art. Sites like Bandcamp and Jamendo provide a wonderful opportunity for independent musicians to reach a larger audience; there are thousands of artists and literally millions of songs on those two sites alone. This isn't just an opportunity for the artists, but also a wealth of material for consumers. Surely this is a good thing?

I am admittedly unfamiliar with those sites that you -- well -- cite. Philosophically, however, I am not bemoaning the loss of “a larger audience”, but of a more enlightened and more sophisticated audience; not complaining about the obscurity of “thousands of artists”, but about the loss of the five hundred best; not worried about “literally millions of songs”, but about the few compositions that reach inside of us and take us to new places. I am saddened by everyone’s reports on the general level of music teaching, how that has changed, and where the trends are heading. I am dismayed by Berklee (for example), and how they have “evolved”.

Originally Posted By: thurisaz
If the concern is about "art", then I would argue that the art (of any kind) doesn't emerge from a business/industrial process like the one described in the first post.

Musical Art did not emerge from business. The Business aspect grew up to support (and promote) the Art. I agree with you 100% here: music that was created primarily for business reasons was rarely, if ever, art.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1935792 - 08/01/12 11:45 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: keystring]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
But how about the redirection of that same media to educate, to set standards, and to embrace the very best of what is left?

This is where I was going in my last post. But with a difference. The media has been used to direct the public and to create for-profit tastes. We now have a medium where people have the same freedom that they had before there was radio and television, and they are forming their own reality. It is in human nature to seek depth and meaning. Gradually people are discovering and rediscovering these things, including both old masters and new masters.

We are getting a false reading because the same forces that have manipulated the market are still telling us the same things. Meanwhile people themselves are finally free to explore and make up their own minds.



I suspect that the media is still largely manipulating people, despite the fact that the internet, etc. allows us the ability to choose our own views. I do agree that it is in our nature to seek depth and meaning, but as of yet, the hold that the media has taken on the subconscious of our culture is still very strong. While people are recognizing their freedom to choose, many of us are still unknowingly influenced a great deal by how things are portrayed by media and the effect that this has on the masses. It can get better, and perhaps it is. But it is still a long way from ideal.

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#1935824 - 08/01/12 12:52 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keystring
. . . When I grew up and into my twenties and thirties, our free entertainment was via radio and television. These essentially dictated our tastes and what we were exposed to. And of course that helps with the same manipulation of age groups and the rest.

This has completely turned around. We have a medium now where for the first time we can choose what we want to listen to and watch, and do so at whatever time of day or night we want to, regardless of where we live.
This also means that our young people have that choice and they do exercise it. . . .

Hey KeyString,

I am pleased that we are still writing on the same topics! As always, I am opposed to going point-for-point with variations in our opinions. I do have a couple of observations –

I am not certain there ever was a time when “free entertainment” was the BEST entertainment. There was usually a reason why street minstrels were performing “on the street”. And, as (I think) you are intending, we paid dearly for that “free entertainment” of the modern radio and the television, with the brain-washing and indoctrination that Scott has been studying.

I also think that we have always been able to choose what we listen to, and watch. It simply required getting off our you-know-whats, going to where the action was, and supporting those artists with our actual presence. There was ACTION required on the part of the audience, and frequently there was INTERACTION. And if there was nothing worth listening to, or watching, then we waited for the next opportunity. Records, tapes, CDs, and hi-fidelity play-back systems helped fill in the gaps. We have always “voted” with our money -- that is precisely how professional artists can remain professional artists.

Lastly, I am not certain that “our young people” are exercising much of an EDUCATED choice. Hoping NOT to twist your words here:: I do not believe that listening to anything (Gregorian chant included) through the ear-buds of a Walkman (MP3, iPod, mobile phone, etc.) represents a very high level of the appreciation of music, and its actual SOUND.

In short, I think there is MORE, at the expense of EXCELLENT.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1935843 - 08/01/12 01:34 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
No, Ed, "we" were not all free to choose, and it is insulting to anyone who did not have the means and/or lived in the wrong location to accuse them of laziness when in fact they were locked out, period. I'm sorry, but I was not highly motivated to go out and listen to the local butcher, grocery clerk, and pig farmer producing out of tune square dance tunes on Saturday night. A thousand mile round trip to the big city was also out of question. The INTERACTION stayed with the pig farmer's fiddle, I'm afraid. I found the auctioneer more skilled and with a better rhythm, though I'm afraid that the price of cattle was also not my genre.

I'm hurting too, Ed, with a different kind of hurt. The "good old days" for me were not that good. I am trying to come into the things of music that I would have liked to have had before the need for bifocals set in. It is ludicrously late. And it's not because of a lack of interest in my youth.

Meanwhile in an attempt to HEAR, I think that you are missing the LIVE interaction of musician and audience. Otherwise the youth wanting Gregorian chant rather than the stereotype might have been reassuring - they are not as shallow as the media-money-moguls would like them to be. For those places where live music was possible, it surely must be a loss. Is it possible to value one thing without denigrating the rest? That might lead to a more positive response.

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#1935903 - 08/01/12 03:48 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
This is true as the year it first appeared in print:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
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Piano Teacher

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#1935984 - 08/01/12 06:38 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 857
There are people who might say music understanding is improving. But the general trend is that it's going downhill.

When you read about glee clubs at universities in the 1950's, and compare that to people sitting alone with ear plugs in their ears with their ipods, don't you think that the earlier time was better?

Or if you watch people dancing at motown, and compare it to modern soc-hops, don't you think there was more life in music before?

Whenever there is a public celebration in our city, or political convention, they always pick pop music. In one sense, this prevents arguments which might erupt if for instance Punjabi music was center stage to celebrate New Year's Eve! Or if Lebanese music blasted over the speakers at the political convention. But why not feature some beautiful classical music? My theory is you need to be at peace to enjoy classical music, and most young people are not at peace enough. This is why if you want to prevent loitering outside of your city-center restaurant, just play some Haydn.

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#1935990 - 08/01/12 06:58 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: Scott Coletta]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi Scott,

Just trying to catch up here, and I really appreciate that reference to Edward Bernays, and his work. Isn't it interesting that a "PR Man" would suggest, "Let's not call it propaganda, because that has a negative connotation. Let's call it Public Relations, with a nice, wholesome ring to it!"

I wonder if he was also advising Roosevelt, "Listen, Frankie, let's not call it the Department of War any longer -- that is so NEGATIVE. How about something with a nice, positive spin on it -- The Department of Defence, for example."

Another, perhaps more advanced, aspect of this stuff is the mass DIVERSION of attention away from what we are not supposed to "see", and toward something fabricated to hold our attention for awhile. Perhaps on another thread . . . OR, is that what we are discussing here, but without knowing it?
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1936018 - 08/01/12 07:55 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: Gary D.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi, Gary,

That is a real dickens of a quote! I (re)read it all – every word. I am certain there is that positive/negative aspect to the changes we are experiencing in the music business. I am just having trouble locating much of the positive.

Many years ago, the owner of a fairly successful music store reminded me (referring to a completely different subject), that “EVERYTHING has its life-cycle.” I am simply not ready to accept that the part I consider BEST has already crested, and the tide is going out.

I think the same way about American Industry, in general. I think the same way about Higher Education. Crested . . .

[EDIT] By the way, that music store is now closed.

Ed


Edited by LoPresti (08/01/12 08:06 PM)
Edit Reason: Additional
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1936048 - 08/01/12 09:30 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Ed, there seems to be some serendipity at work in the world. Today, the new issue of American Music Teacher arrived and would you believe, an article on what used to be - 100 years ago. A popular magazine called Ladies Home Journal was carrying ads for Steinway pianos and others; additionally, the Journal was offering monthly Q&A columns with major artists, scholarship awards for promising young ladies to attend New England Conservatory of Music, etc. I didn't know if the magazine still existed, but a google search showed that it does. And guess what you can read about in the current issue. Culturally vital issues such as 7 types of sex all couples need to insure an enduring relationship. It would seem that humans are the only mammals which need on-going instruction in copulation in order to propagate the species. Hummmm.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1936081 - 08/01/12 10:43 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: John v.d.Brook]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
And guess what you can read about in the current issue. Culturally vital issues such as 7 types of sex all couples need to insure an enduring relationship. It would seem that humans are the only mammals which need on-going instruction in copulation in order to propagate the species. Hummmm.

John,
Just see what Herr Edward Bernays has done to us! We are diverted from even the MOST important things - uh, artistically speaking, of course.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1936111 - 08/01/12 11:40 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
That would seem to go right into what I wrote about before, my guess having been off by around ten years. At this time we have a chance to get out of those kinds of clutches since we now have an uncontrolled medium. We're just not used to the freedom yet, and the idea that we can use this as a tool and the idea of making choices is still new. The question is what we can do now.

Btw, it appears that the "gentleman" was not German.

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#1936151 - 08/02/12 01:20 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 493
I'm not sure I agree. I think the artists have changed or have been rediscovered. With the internet my son has exposed me to an incredible variety of music and also very international set of performers.

Some of his music doesn't appeal to me, it's too foreign (I grew up with Broadway, standards and 70's music with a big gap and then pop music from the late 80 to about 2002), but the more he plugs in his ipod, I find I develop a wider range of tastes.

My daughter's sport requires musical knowledge and I have no classical music in my childhood/adulthood. So we have classical music on the radio and pandora. We learn together with Classics for Kids (a podcast that asks questions, gives information and plays parts of music), then we seek out the full versions and look for live performances. What started out as...uncomfortable...now gives us pleasure.

I think having so much at our fingertips encourages us to stop with the mixed tapes and headphones at home (how I grew up) and puts us in a social/sharing mode for musical discoveries.

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#1936191 - 08/02/12 06:16 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

Originally Posted By: thurisaz
I also have to disagree with the idea that the internet is somehow undermining appreciation of art. Sites like Bandcamp and Jamendo provide a wonderful opportunity for independent musicians to reach a larger audience; there are thousands of artists and literally millions of songs on those two sites alone. This isn't just an opportunity for the artists, but also a wealth of material for consumers. Surely this is a good thing?

I am admittedly unfamiliar with those sites that you -- well -- cite. Philosophically, however, I am not bemoaning the loss of “a larger audience”, but of a more enlightened and more sophisticated audience; not complaining about the obscurity of “thousands of artists”, but about the loss of the five hundred best; not worried about “literally millions of songs”, but about the few compositions that reach inside of us and take us to new places. I am saddened by everyone’s reports on the general level of music teaching, how that has changed, and where the trends are heading. I am dismayed by Berklee (for example), and how they have “evolved”.


Ed,

It seems to me that a big part of this issue should revolve around the question of what constitutes "art". I get the impression that there is some kind of accepted (though unclear, or at least unspecified) definition of "art" in this thread and that, whatever it is, it's somehow opposed to more popular works, which are somehow worse.

I'm not convinced. I think art is a creative work that communicates/recreates an emotion/experience in another person, transfers some part of the artist to the audience and creates in them a certain kind of (intended) mental state. That's not really a great definition (it's probably too broad), but I'm willing to put it out there as a starting point. There are many people in my daily life who do this with tools ranging from music to photography. Their work does "reach inside [me] and take [me] to new places". They may not be pushing creative boundaries or creating new genres, but each has their own perspective on the world and some kind of talent for sharing that perspective. They may not be great artists and they're unlikely to be remembered by posterity, but they're still artists.

Truly great art is rare. I think that's something we often tend to forget because we enjoy the privilege of having inherited the best bits from centuries of output. That's why I pointed out that these sites have millions of songs from thousands of artists. It may be that much of that material is formulaic, uninteresting, etc, but there are also going to be pieces where people are pushing musical boundaries and experimenting with new things (or old things in a new way). Since great art is rare, it's a great thing that we live in a time when so many people can not only create, but also publish and form communities far more easily than they could before. I think that's the enormous benefit of the "uncontrolled medium" that keystring mentioned.

Finally, I think it is (and always has been) quite common to lament the current state of art and the taste of the youth, since art (and youth?) is often about breaking rules and challenging conventions. Isn't that how a new aesthetic develops?
_________________________
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
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Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1936303 - 08/02/12 11:19 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: MaggieGirl]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
I'm not sure I agree. I think the artists have changed or have been rediscovered. With the internet my son has exposed me to an incredible variety of music and also very international set of performers.

MaggieGirl,

Everything, every symphony, every sonata, each chord, each voicing, different timbre, every genre of music from every period - everything that I love (and most of what I hate) was new to me at sometime. Just a couple of weeks ago I learned that Saint-Saëns scored a piece for glass flute - pretty unique sound. Discovery is wonderful, and it is certainly not a new phenomenon.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Originally Posted By: thurisaz
It seems to me that a big part of this issue should revolve around the question of what constitutes "art". I get the impression that there is some kind of accepted (though unclear, or at least unspecified) definition of "art" in this thread and that, whatever it is, it's somehow opposed to more popular works, which are somehow worse.

Thurisaz,

If the Greeks and the Romans were unable to figure it out, I have little confidence that we can.

When I refer to ARTISTRY, and the disappearance of the Musical Artist, I am not thinking of musical types or forms or genre, but rather about the LEVEL at which that music is composed, or performed, or recorded, or even published. Are there unspoken standards, standards that are simply understood among better musicians? Of course. Most of the teachers on this Forum can listen to someone play or sing for a minute, and make an evaluation - That was good. That was not good. That was wonderful. Back to the drawing boards.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

I suspected this would engender a great discussion, and it has so far.

Now I am hoping we can start to explore the actual REPLACEMENT of the better Musical Artists, including Craftsmen and Craftswomen - how that is happening. Is it really an organic and natural process, as some are implying, or is it artificial, contrived, and profit-driven?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1936845 - 08/03/12 11:42 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Maybe folks are taking a break from this subject because they feel everything has been said. Or perhaps the sentiment is reflected by Scott, as in each of us do what we can to reverse the trend, and hope it is effective. Maybe even the topic is just so hopeless that no one wants to dwell upon the sad facts. How about that cyclical aspect to which some have alluded, where nothing is as “good” as it used to be? It could be that enough of us on the Forums think this evolution from the “old” Music Business into something newer and more exciting, will more than make-up-for the current problems.

Regardless, before leaving the subject, I would like to take one more look at the severe impact the current STATE OF MUSICAL AFFAIRS is having upon the art that we all profess to love. Naming the first that come to mind, here is a listing of the musical ARTISTS and Business People who are being replaced by various flavors and guises of technolory:

Professional soloists
Orchestra players
Composers
Arrangers
Copiests

Music teachers
Piano (and other instrument repair) technicians

Orchestra managers
Concert promoters
Concert hall and theater managers & employees

Sound engineers
Recording engineers
Mixers
Recording studio owners, managers, and employees
Manufacturers of HIGH-END recording and reproducing equipment

Retail Music Stores & their People
Wholesale Music Distributors

Musical Instrument Craftsmen/Craftswomen, and Designers
Musical Instrument Manufacturers and their People (pretty big!)

The entire Music Printing and Publishing Industry (pretty big!)

I am simply not certain everyone grasps the enormity of the loss.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1936846 - 08/03/12 11:44 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Double Post!


Edited by LoPresti (08/03/12 11:46 AM)
_________________________
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#1936999 - 08/03/12 04:52 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Maybe even the topic is just so hopeless that no one wants to dwell upon the sad facts.
I am simply not certain everyone grasps the enormity of the loss.


I often worry, being that I'm only 32, that I might not be able to make a decent living teaching piano throughout my lifetime. At least not without drastically changing the way I do things. The internet and other new forms of media are likely to become increasingly more difficult to compete with, both as a source of information and as a distraction. Not to mention the potential of being left in the dust by some new way of doing things that hasn't even been thought of yet. Like perhaps some highly-engaging interactive digital music experience... like merging Skype lessons and video games. laugh So yes, I just try to spread my values through teaching and hope that enough people will be able to see the importance of things like music. Things that keep us grounded and in the present moment.

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#1937145 - 08/04/12 12:57 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: Scott Coletta]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta
. . . I just try to spread my values through teaching and hope that enough people will be able to see the importance of things like music. Things that keep us grounded and in the present moment.

Scott,

I liked it when you first wrote it above, and I like this second round even more! Living fully in the present comes with our heritage. Fortunately, it can also be taught.

Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta
[The] internet and other new forms of media are likely to become increasingly more difficult to compete with, both as a source of information and as a distraction.

Nothing is going to compete with the www in the Distraction Department for a very long time.

With that said, it seems to me that you in particular, and several other teachers on this Forum, have something very UNIQUE that you are offering your students, and therefore, offering to music in general. If the time comes when you feel the need to compete with technology, make certain that you compete ON YOUR TERMS by highlighting that UNIQUENESS to set yourself apart.
_________________________
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#1937179 - 08/04/12 05:27 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: Scott Coletta]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta

I often worry, being that I'm only 32, that I might not be able to make a decent living teaching piano throughout my lifetime. At least not without drastically changing the way I do things. The internet and other new forms of media are likely to become increasingly more difficult to compete with, both as a source of information and as a distraction. Not to mention the potential of being left in the dust by some new way of doing things that hasn't even been thought of yet. Like perhaps some highly-engaging interactive digital music experience... like merging Skype lessons and video games. laugh So yes, I just try to spread my values through teaching and hope that enough people will be able to see the importance of things like music. Things that keep us grounded and in the present moment.

Scott, I got to know that kinds of things you represent as teacher and musician through your personal site on the Internet. I vaguely recall that you posted because of a parent who didn't get what you were doing (and probably only went by impressions rather than learning more about what you do), and that's why I looked. What I saw was enough that if I lived in the area and was looking for a teacher I would look you up. How much can a teacher represent what he does and his values in a personal meeting, on the phone, or in a brochure.

Don't let doomsday predictions get to you. I remember the "good old days". I had 6 months of lessons in the late 1960's when the rural school bus dropped me off at the "piano teacher's" house. She cooked while I played. Almost 30 years later I discovered how key signatures worked, and I was boiling mad that it was that easy and I'd been locked out for that long. We were stuck in ignorance back then, with no easy road to knowledge. Back then you'd be competing with the lady whose house happened to be off the school bus route. Now you can let people know what you represent, and people can also find out what piano and music are about so they absorb what you do with more discernment.

Yes, the hucksters will use the Internet the way they have always used any medium to sell cheap wares to the lowest common denominators, and be the loudest and most visible. But that's not all that is out there. We, the consumer, can finally get information on sites such as this one, so that when we look for a teacher we can ask the right questions, and listen for the right noises. Therefore we are more likely to choose the teacher who offers substance than the one who offers "fast and easy".

I was in the situation only 10 years ago was a parent of an early teen who was a serious late starter. If I'd had the information that I have today, I would have done a few things differently and would have known how to handle things that came up better than I did.

You've got a communication tool out there. It can give you visibility. And the consumer might also be changing and becoming savvy over time because there is information now.

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#1937236 - 08/04/12 09:45 AM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: LoPresti]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Thanks Ed for this very good piece of advice...

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
If the time comes when you feel the need to compete with technology, make certain that you compete ON YOUR TERMS by highlighting that UNIQUENESS to set yourself apart.


And Keystring thanks for your support and advice as well.

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#1938202 - 08/06/12 02:04 PM Re: Methodical and Systematic Replacement of the Musical Artist [Re: thurisaz]
1RC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 502
Loc: Alberta
Originally Posted By: thurisaz
I think art is a creative work that communicates/recreates an emotion/experience in another person, transfers some part of the artist to the audience and creates in them a certain kind of (intended) mental state. That's not really a great definition (it's probably too broad), but I'm willing to put it out there as a starting point.


I think this a good starting point (also I wanted to say I think it's a pretty good description of art). This thread has me thinking of how my own appreciation of music evolved from hearing the same music everyone else was doused in from radio and TV to eventually becoming curious enough to explore far off the beaten track and falling in love with the classics. I remember walking to school with Beethoven in my diskman, not really knowing anything about the music but intuiting that there was depth to it. I believe that's how most people experience art, not so much a cerebral thing but if exposed to it they will sooner or later find themselves captivated.

It's this hunger for the transcendent in art that is what will keep musicians going. As ridiculous and contrived as marketing can be, the moment that someone experiences what they haven't been exposed to on TV they will feel it (well ok, IF they're paying any attention and don't have angry birds on their iphone). I read an article by Stephen Nachmanovich on the topic a few days ago: http://www.freeplay.com/Writings/Mountain_of_Gold.pdf

This may all be a given, but what about the whole business of being a professional musician? I'll admit right now that my professional experience is limited to playing for a church, a little accompaniment and a few students. What first came to mind was how in every biography I've read of musicians there were stories of them having to wheel and deal with employers and publishers or put on shows themselves. There's a Beethoven quote about having to be half businessman in order to survive in the arts.

Maybe with the rise of the music industry the musicians gradually became less involved in the business end of things until it fell out of their hands. I still feel that if someone has something good to offer, if they get their hands dirty and put it out there people will like it. I know people in (to be blunt about it) fairly mediocre bands who are out there touring and the only difference is that they took it upon themselves to call up venues and book shows.

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