Friday, June 22, 2018

Norman Lebrecht on the corruption permeating music competitions where teachers on juries reward each others students

Norman Lebrecht has an article about the corruption of you scratch my back that permeates a lot of  music competitions

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/06/you-vote-for-my-pupil-ill-vote-for-yours-the-truth-about-music-competitions/

which kind of seems in keeping with a theme we've looked at this last week about academic musicology having a self-reinforcing caste dynamic even if the job prospects in real-world terms for advanced degrees in music study are ... slim.  Perhaps that can explain why within the realm of pedagogy there's a simple, understandable desire for teachers to ensure their students can do well even if those who may engage in jury-rigging on behalf of their students don't entirely grasp the long-term significance of such practices. 

With stories like Lebrecht's it seems as though the idea that critics, criticism and pedagogy being a self-perpetuating priesthood is hard to ignore.  What can often be passed off as "anti-intellectualism" may partly be a reflection of some allegedly mass disdain for complex ideas and scholarship but couldn't that be the reflexive assumption of a taste-making caste that hasn't examined its history?  It's just as possible in our day and age that what is called "anti-intellectualism" could be a legitimate grievance against graft and insularity in academic and critical establishments.  The idea that a liberal arts degree makes the world a better place and gives you a richer and more meaningful life just doesn't seem like it can honestly be squared with the sheer amounts of student debt that has accumulated in the last generatio nor two. 

But arts teachers and arts critics are probably all too loathe to recognize that they have shown themselves to be a self-reinforcing set of ruling castes. Sure, if they compare themselves to the proverbial "one percent" they'll feel better but to take up the verbiage of Richard Reeves, the top twenty percent tends to assume it is more with "the ninety-nine" than the upper twenty percent. 

No comments: