Each time that I see a toddler reaching for an instrument with outstretched hands, I’m overwhelmed with anxiety. What will happen to him later? Will he learn to make music, or will he continue to beat the keys with his fists?
Children don’t want to perform and understand music any less than they want to talk. Not allowing them to master this skill, we parents close them off from an entire world! And only when they see musicians perform do they feel like something’s missing, that they’ve been robbed.
When I discovered that music pedagogy could easily be improved, I first and foremost turned to the educators. But they didn’t want to listen to me. Most of them still slam their doors in my face. And still, this calls forth pain and indignation. Each teacher is like his own universe. He’s a propagandist for his own method, a PR agent between his work and the public at large. Of course, everyone puts all of their effort into their work. But it’s not the effort that matters – it’s the result. And if the music language is obviously losing its position of priority, then the teachers are working for nothing. This means diligence won’t help anything! There is only one option: to reexamine the method.
But far from everyone can think rationally about this. Many times, I have tried to reach those that are in key posts in music education, and have bumped into a complete unwillingness to make anything better! Why is it that the organizations that so loudly declare the importance of saving music are so unwilling to focus on what’s important: the methodological problems of education? It was hard for me to understand this. It turns out that we are talking about different types of music.
Once I met with the president of a highly respected music organization and tried to open his eyes to the real situation. He waved his hand at me and said, “Drop it, I beg you! You can’t keep spreading this nonsense around! They’re already cutting the budget more and more! If you continue to shout about our shortcomings, they’ll be sure to axe us completely!” Then I understood that he was talking about a different type of music altogether.
But you can’t buy time. Receiving money for work that doesn’t bear fruit, we should expect to eventually be laid off and fired. In order to remain needed, we’ll eventually have to think of our effectiveness, anyway. We will only gain an adequate place in society when we can raise a new generation of musically literate politicians, executives, and presidents, who not only won’t cut the budget, but will assist in music’s development.
Meanwhile, educators are continuing to create a global crisis in the art of music. From year to year, century to century, under our guidance, musical geniuses have been choked off. Brilliant performers, composers, and listeners are becoming clerks, workers, and maintenance technicians. The “tree” of music education is almost fully deprived of roots, and has become a puny growth that will soon dry out.
I really want to prevent this from happening. I want the Moonlight Sonata, now lying through space, to remain alive, rather than protected as an ‘artifact’ of a time long past. I want new composers to step up and write new masterpieces, and to create new genres. I want popular music to become just as rich and interesting as Classical Music from the Silver Age, and for people in different countries to find timelessness just by sitting before an instrument.
The planet will be improved. You’ll see!