Carter Gillies has a piece called "the consistency illusion"
The people invested in the idealisation of consistency see the world in a particular way, which does not always align with the way that art (and indeed most of our lives) is conducted. The expectation is for things to actually be consistent and to be understood confidently. This is symptomatic of a larger and more complicated issue for society.
Take this old 2014 article from Australian coverage.
The plight of the double-reed family could soon become a crisis for our orchestras if nothing is done.
There are just not enough people playing oboe and bassoon worldwide. Not enough people start young and nearly all schools struggle to find double reed players for their orchestras and bands. This causes a knock-on effect with popular community orchestras facing the same problem, a shortage of teachers and into the profession, with a major shortage of freelance players
or from The Telegraph earlier this year.
Now I love the oboe and bassoon. I've been beating this drum for a while now but I don't see it as a given the future of the classical musical arts and disciplines as automatically being symphonic. Chamber music is more my interest. The d'Amore Duo has, what four or five CDs out and it's an oboe and guitar duet, about which I want to write stuff somewhere down the road. There's oboe and guitar literature aplenty. There's even bassoon and guitar literature, and there's a CD of some of that music recorded by Yvonne Kershaw, for instance, I heartily endorse.
But my point is to ask whether a solution to the perceived decline of interest in the double reeds is to insist on allocating funds to those programs to keep them going. Not necessarily, or to fit within the polemic in the link above, if people value X less then dumping money into teaching it won't make it more popular. If there's an extent to which this kind of appeal in the age of what gets called neoliberalism can boomerang this could be an area. You might think pedagogy should "catch up" to discussing the music people want to make rather than teaching stuff that people want kept that might not win in metrics--or if people want to produce hip hop or rock does music pedagogy shift away from centuries of Western musical heritage to adapt to ... market demands? Sometimes it seems that critiques of neoliberalism by appeals to tradition get stuck with poelmics that can be brought out by neoliberal or even progressive approaches that plead that pedagogy "catch up" to current actual demand ... even if such an appeal-to-the-market approach has proven in some times and places to be a double edged sword.
But the tacit and even explicit claim that we shouldn't need evidence for everything we value ... can't that come off like a basically religious appeal? I have my various disagreements with Adorno but op ed pieces like the one above seem to be exemplars of a kind of bourgeois art religion that many an artists and arts teacher would imagine is not what they exemplify. Pleading that we stop trying to justify the arts and funding for arts education based on the metrics of their profitability could be a lea in which "arts" gets replaced with "religion" and the funding of anything because it should be worth any cost as an emblem of the highest most divine qualities of human experience and beauty ... that could be art-as-religion of the sort Wagner championed.
Copyright (c) 1997 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota
What teaching the arts allows is for the full mind to be engaged in the learning of and the creation of and the continuation of the arts. I'm all for that ... but that doesn't oblige me to be in favor of what a Richard Wagner or a Theodore Adorno described as an art religion.
Instead I could invoke Hans Rookmaaker who proposed that modernist art may have gone so far off the rails in contrast to applied or practical arts because the fine arts were asked to do, expected to do too much--painting could not just be painting, it had to be iconic or continue a role that had previously been iconic. It might be ironic that a Rookmaaker and an Adorno, probably on opposite sides of the Marxist/anti-Marxist divide if I had to guess, could paradoxically have some agreement that the art religion that fostered modernist art was revealing itself to be a dead end. Or at least that's what I'm mulling over at the moment.
The case that we should invest in art and teach it because we value it without getting into why can seem like a bluntly but implicitly religious claim. A Christian can say "I believe Christ is risen and that Jesus is Lord" as a statement of faith and provide cases for the basis for such a profession and confession. "Art is valuable because it defines who I am" or "Art is valuable because it allows me to discover how I can be human" is still functionally a religious kind of claim. If you took these things away from a person would they stop being human? Not that you should, mind you, but I am making a point that there are things people use to define themselves that are not so much necessary as so desirable to preclude alternatives. People who are drawn to the arts tend, in the West, to not wish to think of themselves as strictly economic or transactional beings. I get that, I totally get that ...
but the older I get the more it seems that arts education falters in the West by not admitting that it is a religious discipline in many respects. Make art because ... artist! Would you make art even if it was a monetary loss for you your whole life? Would you make art even if you were not formally published? Would you sacrifice in that sort of way to be able to make art? It hardly seems difficult to see how that can be a form of religious devotion. For someone like Johann Sebastian Bach it was, obviously, an act of religious devotion and an act of careerism, too. What artists in the West seem to want is to invoke the artist as seer, artist as prophet, artist as outsider-who-speaks-truth-to-power and, oh, I should also be able to pay all my bills and my food expenses doing this, too, and have some nice medical care and ... they don't get how this would make them a new kind of priesthood along the way?