Recently I was reminded of the state of symphony orchestras in our economic climate. It is not good. Symphonies are losing funding, losing conductors, reducing seasons, and musicians are taking cuts in pay. It seems to be happening everywhere, both in smaller community groups and major symphony orchestras. Here is a link to a brief but good article about this plight from a year ago, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2837750/the_plight_of_symphony_orchestras_in_pg2.html?cat=33.
There are various reactions to this, from apathy to outrage to ignorance. I have been pondering the state of our society and I just don't "get it". Why do we spend so much money and time on rock music, what I often term junk music or fast food music, and let the classical musicians starve in comparison?! I have no problem with some rock; I enjoy it just as I love an occasional Twinkie, Ding Dong, Big Mac, or Burger King breakfast. Yum.....but not a steady diet!! I think most of us would appreciate a gourmet meal well-prepared and would acknowledge that there is no comparison between it and fast food.
I suppose the roots of this problem are deep and complex, involving a need and desire for better music education. And now the money crunch, which means arts programs get cut. I get so tired of hearing about how wonderful and necessary sports programs are and we just can't allow them to be reduced!! If these programs are cut, I think many neighborhoods and parents will organize non-school groups and sports will continue to some extent. Sports are popular and they will go on. On the other hand, what would happen to music groups? Definitely not the same reaction in most places......!!
Without school support many music groups just die. And they don't seem to come back. I am thinking of my hometown schools which lost their string program many years ago. It's fate was sealed when all of the string instruments were sold. It has never been the same. So sad and shameful.
Meanwhile orchestral musicians make music in some way. We love what we do. Somehow things must work out!
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