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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000770.txt from 2001/05

From: (William Wright)
Subj: RE: [kl] School Board
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:35:45 -0400

<><><> I wrote:
Music is oriented towards performance, which means towards pleasing (and
being judged by) an audience of peers in a public gathering.

<><> Roger Garrett wrote:
In some ways yes - but Bill, don't you think the people who don't
perform but who are involved in music (eg., composers, historians,
musicologists, theorists, etc.) are as important in music as those who
do the performing?

Yes, absolutely. This is part of the reason that I've argued
against excessive performance competition, which I've seen become a
mania occasionally.
But if you were an elementary teacher and your school had mandatory
music classes (ignoring the issue of curricular or extracurricular),
what are the chances that little Bobby Jones would be able to tell you,
"I'm only interested in reading books about music and playing in my
bedroom when nobody is listening, so can we forget about my actually
playing at school? I'll just sit and listen."

<><><> I wrote:
Can you teach music without requiring performance? =A0 Would you be
setting a significant number of children up for shame? and life-long

<><> Roger Garrett wrote:
What a fantastically good question! Have you been hustling us? Are you
possibly a professional player/teacher who has been pretending to be a
musically average person???

No, absolutely not. To be brutal about it, I can't even describe
myself as musically average. (Just ask my teacher) I enjoy my
efforts and at the present stage of my life, you could not force me to
quit, but I'm a klutz.

<><> There is great disagreement about the answer to your question.
>From my point of view, it is difficult for anyone to experience music as
a deep mode of expression without performing and experiencing it at
least once themselves.

I've read enough of your postings (including this one) to know that
you are against mandatory music. But for those who favor it, here is
my question: Would you allow Bobby Jones to just listen if you had a
mandate (were hired) to teach music to every child in school? For
example, how would you decide whether Bobby was a slacker or whether he
truly had an emotional problem with performing (or perhaps he was being
crucified at home by his parents for some reason relating to his musical
For that matter, what would you do with a child who played so badly
that you felt he was impeding the education of all the other children?

What counts (imo) is that music is sufficiently "part of life" that
it should be available to every child who wants it, or who thinks that
he/she wants it until they try it.

<><> But - as Tony Pay mentioned in an earlier post - we are
talking about a much higher level of expression - that requires a very
advanced ability to truly understand that expression when it does in
fact happen (that's not what Tony wrote - but I think I understood what
he was saying).

Yes, that's what I understood him to say also. Without wanting to
start a flame war, I have to tell you that I begin to part company at
this point --- namely, that only a great performer can feel or
understand certain things. I *do* agree that only a great performer
can help other people to feel and understand these 'certain things',


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