The future of the Classical Music (and what to do about it) (23.Sep.2019)

I’ve done just as many concerts of classical music here in Japan as in Europe, and there’s been a whole lot of crossover music, amusement talks, outfit flaunting and all kinds of stuff buzzing around the industry.

Sure, these things might have somewhat helped entertain the public and build some connection with them – that’s nice. However, there’s one BIG critically fatal misleading that needs to be demolished.

And way too many classical musicians are currently falling victims to the effect of what we call “New-Age” movement ― a trend to put different aritistic styles or values together and make them borderless.

Musicians began to change the way of the modern concert scenes under a delusional notion that people no longer placed value on it that they used to before and was somehow no longer good enough.

An idea that it is “anachronistic” to worship classical music or art in the present days.

The entrance of the Carnegie Hall, New York

Well, let’s really think about this for a minute.

Is it really “anachronistic” to worship classical music in the 21st century?

Does classical music really mean nothing to us today?

I don’t know who came up with a crap like this first, but it’s honestly stupid.

(By the way, if you happen to be a musician reading this, then it’s all the more important for you to pose this question to yourself for a reason you’ll find out later.)

Beethoven for instance, the biggest challenge of his life was to live out in the constant battle with his deafness, ― a physical disability which could happen to anyone at any moment, ―  and the loneliness that came with it that made it so difficult for him to connect with the world.

He was in despair and completely losing hope. At one point, he almost killed himself after writing a suicide note, otherwise known as “Heiligenstadt Testament” (1803). He was 33. Everyone would have thought that they’d seen the last of Beethoven.

Then something changed in him that stopped him from dying, but nothing stopped him from doing what he wanted to do. He made *a decision* to take off as a forever-new man, ― a decision that no matter what obstacle set in his life he would NEVER surrender.

Beethoven gave it every last drop of his energy to write out an overwhelming number of music and never ceased running his pen until the very last minute of his life in bed ― “the necessary end”.

Everyone still knows and remembers Beethoven today after almost two centuries. And it’s THAT story of a man who dominates his own path, surviving through the extremely difficult challenges of life and conquering them to accomplish his mission and vision ― that has left an enormous impact on millions of people around the world (beyond male and female, old and young, all colors and ethnicities) again and again (and it will continue to without question).

Although there have been some major transformations in our life recently ― namely technologies ― , we as humans haven’t transformed very much at the evolutionary level.

At our core, we’re the same humans we were 200 years ago.

We still need food and shelters. We still need sleep. We still fall in and out of love. We still breed and reproduce.

And life isn’t really much easier than the 19th century either. We still struggle like Beethoven did and we still fight for something today ― whether it’s fighting against poverty, health or racism etc.

This is not the matter of conserving the tradition or analyzing every little thing that happened in the past and getting lost. I’m not talking about it and truthfully I think it’s irrelevant.

This is a matter of message embeded in the story that teaches us something truly important about our life.

The lessons and wisdom we can learn from the older art are universal and timeless.

The problem is, present musicians couldn’t be bothered to learn anything about the composers or stories of music. They just lost interest in telling the stories the public need to know.

And they resort to mixing it up with jazz and rock music so that they can evade the subject that they do need to tackle.

Worse yet, they sometimes don’t even know or care what music they’re playing. Honestly it’s shocking and it really saddens me.

Why would anyone be serious about the classical music if the musicians themselves weren’t upfront about it to begin with?

There was nobody who hated the classical music from the bottom of one’s heart.

There was nobody who thought the classical music was useless.

And there was nobody who wished the classical music would decline.

The fact that the classical music has survived and evolved over a thousand years is not a coincidence. The classical music has always shaped the way the public think and was never the other way around.

In other words,  musicians have always played the leading role in the prosperity of the world of classical music.

Musicians are the ones who are responsible for choosing what needs to be emphasized to the public. And that’s you included if you’re a musician too.

Right now we’re on the edge of probably the biggest classical music apocalypse ever in history, and your action is seriously required.

You need to let them want to keep focusing on what your story reveals. You need to let them recognize your devotion which isn’t at face-value or made up.

You can’t just cook it up to something else and pretend like you’re still playing Bach’s mass and expect the problem to go away.

If you don’t become direct with the subject, then it doesn’t matter if you crack funny jokes on stage or wear a provocative dress, ― the true story will never be told. It just won’t deliver.

Education on a national level is of course something that is crucial and highly benefiting for the prosperity of the classical music (especially here in Japan), but it can probably take many years (and by “many years” I mean when your son becomes a grandfather 😉 ).

Making a film or a documentary describing the relationship between music and life can be a more effective approach in a short-term. A documentary that focuses on the composer or an artist with the music. I haven’t seen too many who’ve done this kind of stuff so far.

But in any case, we need to wake up and see the truth that’s right in front of our eyes. The classical music has stopped thriving only because there’re people in the industry who started to devalue it.

I’m not saying that this is easy by any means. It will take a lot of work. But if deaf Beethoven could achieve what he wanted to do, I believe there’s no reason why we aren’t capable of doing the same. It’s your destiny, it’s your calling. Why can’t you and why shouldn’t you??

<End>

HM

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