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March 12, 2017 – MCAT CARS Passage
Question: What is your summary of the author’s main ideas. Post your own answer in the comments before reading those made by others.
Classical music’s decline in America is likely to make it better, more interesting and more American.
Sure fewer people will hear it. That’s already happening. Attendance at classical concerts is down 30 percent since the NEA started counting heads in 1982, and the drop remains steady.
The reasons can be summed up in two sentences. As a society we’ve become casual, multicultural and multimedia. Classical is, by and large, none of those things.
The sad irony in this is that music is better than it has been in 200 years, and anyone who spends time in a big-city concert hall knows how close to perfection most performances of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven have become. Musicians are just more skilled.
Students start learning earlier and spend more time practicing because they can afford both. Technology and transportation allow them access to the best equipment and teachers in the world. Music schools have mastered ways to nurture versatile players who hit nearly every note while respecting their own musical personality.
The high quality of music school graduates is one of the reasons classical will survive. Full-time orchestra jobs will decline, but they’ll find ways to play and pay the bills, performing with quartets and trios instead of large ensembles so concert proceeds are split among fewer musicians; recording their own music and selling it on the Internet; marketing themselves on social media; commissioning their own music; and funding concert tours through crowdsourcing websites.
It’s an entrepreneurial, pull-yourself- up-by-the-bootstraps, be-your-own-boss, All-American way of making a living, a significant departure from the European model of working as a face-less, orchestra player who has no control over what and when things get played. Musicians have seized the opportunity to expand their repertoires to include new music, often from diverse young composers, that large, established operations often ignore.
These small, skilled ensembles are a boon to classical fans in smaller, non-coastal cities because they are essentially portable. It’s easy to travel four string players to Montana or North Dakota, and the new business model demands it. That means the hinterlands are now exposed to the best musicians out there; classical has gone national, just like pop.
If musicians want to play the big Brahms or Sibelius symphonies, they’ll get a chance, although more and more that looks like volunteer work, done on the side with community orchestras, which are reporting huge increases in ticket sales in smaller cities as large, all-professional groups struggle.
Community concerts are cheaper, fewer and maybe not quite as good because only a few players get a salary. They’re also noisier, rowdier and have fewer rules. They’ll still seat you if you arrive late, maybe let you Tweet during the show. They’re more casual, multicultural and multimedia. More American.
Adapted from denverpost.
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This was an article on Music.
Have a great day.
MCAT CARS Instructor.