A More Positive Image of Classical Music

For almost three years, I have done my best on this and other sites to inform people about classical music: what classical music is; the benefits of classical music; how to choose classical music teachers; what kinds of standards there are for classical music teachers; reviews of pedagogical methods for teaching classical music; and many more. In almost every instance, I have received negative comments from other music teachers or proponents of other genres of music because I am violating their preconceived assumptions about the teaching of classical music.

Two men in evening dress gesticulate while a crowd of elegantly-dressed men and women look on

Argument in the Corridors of the Opera, 1889
Jean Béraud

In all these cases, statements must necessarily be general and are not intended to apply to any specific individual, and yet most music teachers who leave comments seem to feel that I am targeting them directly. As a music teacher, I have seen far too often the results that come from complacency, and teachers who leave negative comments are often a part of the problem. In whatever case, a negative comment adds to the unhappiness of the world. Negativity tends to draw negativity and detracts from the overall image of classical music and music teachers. So I urge everyone, the next time you read an article and feel impelled to fire off a comment criticizing the author (and it is not only I who author these articles), instead look to yourself. Does the article point out areas where you are deficient or can improve? Can you learn something from the article? Instead of leaving a negative comment, if you must say something, write a post on your own blog or website with an opposing point of view, pointing out the positives of your own approach, or thank the author for giving you ideas for your own business. And remember abundance thinking, and that “what goes around, comes around.” The field of classical music in the United States is full of backstabbing, politics, sniping and just plain meanness. However, my own students have proven, over and over again, that there is enough opportunity for anyone who is willing to create it. Remember that when you encourage another musician, you create more opportunities both for that person and for yourself, too.

We must work to change the attitudes of musicians who are still thinking from a scarcity viewpoint. We can create boundless opportunities for everyone interested in a full-time career in music. However, creating those classical music opportunities requires a shift in our thinking, and a willingness to take personal responsibility for our actions.

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