If [classical music is] sold as merely another "stream" flowing into the "river" of music the campaign will fail — abjectly. It must be sold as the elite enterprise it in truth and in fact is; something the appreciation and understanding of which is something to which one ought to aspire. And that means the purveyors and performers of classical music must never succumb to the temptation to ape the techniques or the outward trappings of the world of mass entertainment, or dumb down classical music's content or presentation in the false and doomed hope of thereby attracting a greater following. There must never be permitted a disconnect between projected image and the true reality of the thing itself (i.e., classical music's fundamentally elite nature). In marketing terms, classical music must be sold honestly as a vintage Château Latour, not a sexily packaged, reasonably priced Napa Valley Merlot or, worse, some concocted hybrid as is today attempted in classical music presentations featuring so-called "crossover" music.And just what form might that commercial advertising take? On commercial television, for instance, something very much along the lines of this brilliant TV ad for the computer chip maker Intel, one in a series of such ads all concluding with the same graphically displayed but silent tagline, modified, mutatis mutandis, for each:
The "this" our correspondent was referring to is this Los Angeles Times news item headlined, "California Assembly votes to further dilute arts as a high school requirement," which news item reported on California assemblyman Warren Furutani's successful attempt in getting passed, 76-0, a bill in the California Assembly that would allow more students to skip arts instruction entirely during their high school years.
To earn a diploma now, students have to take at least one yearlong course in arts or a foreign language. If the bill, AB 2446, passes the state Senate and is signed into law by the governor, students, starting in the 2011-12 school year, will be able to substitute a “career technical education” course for arts or a language. [...] By allowing students to take a technical course rather than arts or a language, backers say, teens aiming for immediate full-time jobs rather than college will be better prepared for them. Meanwhile, they say, being able to use a technical course to graduate, rather than arts or a language, could prompt some potential dropouts to stay and earn a diploma.As a matter of fact, not only do the reported provisions of this bill not "set [our] teeth on edge," they make eminent good sense to us. As we've above pointed out, junior and senior high school are way too late to start teaching students music, and we would extend that caveat to all the arts. If students haven't been taught what's needed to be taught in those areas by the time they enter high school, there's absolutely no point trying to cram it down their throats at that stage of the game. Much better to help prepare them for entry into the hard-knocks worlds of business, industry, and commerce.