Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Calgary Philharmonic Shuts Down

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Posted by Rick Denney on October 18, 2002 at 14:47:26:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Calgary Philharmonic Shuts Down posted by dp on October 17, 2002 at 15:52:26:

This is the natural outgrowth of education as job training. When having an education meant developing critical thinking skills, usually by studying and understanding the expression of those skills by our forebears, educated people could adapt in many ways, and were not slaves to their skill training. Skills are an outgrowth of understanding, but too often we think of them as an end unto themselves rather than merely the means. Does an instrument maker value the ability to smooth brass above the ability of his instruments to make beautiful music? Not the best ones. Why then do we accept managers who value a good-looking annual report more than their products?

I think what you are saying (and what I'm agreeing to) is that musicians should possess a good education in addition to the skills they need, with "education" being defined in the broad, historical sense rather than in the current job-training sense.

The notion of "business" or even "marketing" being an exclusive branch of education is an innovation of the last half century or so. Many who have degrees in business or marketing expect to immediately receive management job assignments. By my observation, when people with such training get those management positions, they seek to impress stockholders and bosses with their ability to make stock prices go up and quarterly reports look good, and see well-crafted products and good customer support as a means to that end. We have lost the notion that business exists because people need products and services, and we enjoy and desire to make and provide them. We seem to prefer the notion of measuring success in terms of capitalization, dividends, and profit. Both are required for successful enterprise, and each fails without concern for the other. With the current scandals, I hope the pendulum swings back away from the bottom-line extreme.

Orchestras often lose track of why they exist. If they think they exist to preserve "culture," then they are doomed. Culture, in the sense of "being cultured", is the outgrowth of appreciation of art, not the cause of it. It is often the target of people with pretensions, and is never the target of simple art lovers. Many orchestra board members seem to serve because it is prestigious to do so and it therefore makes them seem cultured. They therefore serve culture rather than music. That is their downfall. The masses may love music but they are indifferent to culture. Unfortunately, the musicians and the music lovers in the audience pay the price for that misdirection of objectives.

Rick "an uncultured music lover" Denney

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