How to Kill Off Classical Music

We're almost there, people! Your state representatives are working hard to make sure the Texas Commission on the Arts is eliminated so that sooner rather than later it becomes pretty much impossible for music organizations, orchestras, and chamber ensembles to fund anything beyond a season closer performance by an accordion player who does double duty making balloon animals.

The resulting fixes to our economy at the state and federal levels thanks to recent cuts in arts and education should be clearly evident to everyone by now. But our duly elected officials, including our Governor and published author Rick Perry, still need your help. These folks can't wipe art out of existence, at least not entirely. But they can zero in on some specific genres taking them out one by one until the job is nearly done.


Now bearing all of this in mind we ask you, what is everyone's favorite dying or nearly dead art form? Bingo! Classical music! Bleech. BO-ring. Zzz. Those two words, "Classical" and "Music," when combined make people cringe. So why in the world should we worry if funding for this peculiar music eliminated? You say your kid listens to and wants to learn more about Beethoven? Well get ready for repeated visits to the school nurse as he or she will surely receive beat down after beat down from the children at school for his namby pamby interests. The gym teacher will probably get a few shots in as well.

And let's not get started on those instruments! Classical geeks refer to them as "families" of instruments. Sound a little bit like a cult? Shrill flutes, screechy violins, warbling pianos - the big problem is that they're just too hard to play, and because of that fact should not be taught in our schools. Kids need time to prepare for those standardized tests! Isn't it an utter waste of time to try and get a pleasant sound out of a clarinet when you have GarageBand waiting and ready on your iPhone?

But enough with the rant. Let's help out our friends in the House and beyond with some suggestions as to how to eliminate once and for all this scourge from Europe where people seem to have a different word for everything!

How To Kill Off Classical Music

1.) Keep Classical Music Homogeneous.

Sure, there are a few women here conducting orchestras or leading successful music presenting organizations. And there is that guy from Venezuela but he's a kid, so what does he know? Anyone with a high school education knows that "classical" music is composed, conducted, and played by white men - usually older men. Like, way past 30! Reinforcing that party line will do more to shut down orchestras and chamber ensembles across the country than a million plus Texas legislators. The minute those new to this dying art form see people onstage conducting and playing this music who actually - you know, look like them, the game is over. You suddenly have to acknowledge a broader more diverse demographic. The cultural shift we've all been dreading starts to become a reality! A minority-majority country? Let's just ignore that fact. Now speaking of those audiences...

2.) Keep Classical Music Audiences Small But Wealthy.

The irony here is that to bring down the constructs that perpetuate the craft and expression inherent in composed concert hall music, be it from the 17th or 21st century, we must first be sure its audience remains small in size but extremely wealthy.

So forget affordable tickets or worse, marketing to people without a lot of disposable income (i.e. the "middle class"). Those actions have the frightening potential of putting butts in the seats! We can be sure Classical music will disappear if its presenters and funders make sure that audiences for Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 or the latest contemporary opera are in a position to "rattle their jewelry" during the performers' curtain call. Poor people don't like music anyway. Why jam it down their throats? Finally...

Cartoon courtesy of Classical Music Is Boring! 3.) Don't Take Any Chances!

Keep Classical "old school" as the kids say. Attempting to liberate it from "the social clichés that currently pin it down" will only give this music an excuse to influence and inspire our present day culture and WE DON'T WANT THAT! Next you'll have socialized medicine!

Anomalies like the recent well-reviewed and possibly sold out evening of premieres at the financially struggling New York City Opera should be ignored! Thos New Yorkers like weird sh-t, and we shouldn't pay attention to them.

Keep programming the same music, played in the same way, for an audience that knows how to behave (ie. hold your applause, but cough excessively in between movements of a musical work), and'll have everyone wondering just why the hell we should spend time and money teaching and paying people to produce classical concert music.

Caucasian, small, rich, and predictable = BOOM! Goodbye to a musical repertoire, practice, and history that could, in the wrong hands, stimulate unwanted and unnecessary brain activity

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Chris Becker
Contact: Chris Becker