Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Reality tv's impact on the arts

The rise of instant fix reality programmes Arts are seen as an easy option. It can be agreed that we all have music in us however ….we can all run, but not everyone with the best will in the world can be a premier footballer or an Olympic athlete. Why music? Why not blanket History or blanket Geography?
Hey, since the knowledgable response I have received to this opening posted blog I must add that money was not really a consideration in my original supposition.I can see that it is a major factor but great thought and great humanity are not financially quantifiable are they? What do you think? I know NGO'S working in war zones and giving food distribution in areas of famine etc need money BUT the qualities and motives that make an individual want to work for or in such organisations cannot be essentially financial, for there could not be money enough for such dedication.

Am I glad? No,I am delighted, as I have learnt that there is an 'Architecture for All' Programme which is functioning at the present time which is run under the auspices of Harvard University it is an highly intensive Summer Schools. I think the Steven Lawrence (excuse spelling ) foundation have something to do with this.This is to discover whether people can be further encouraged to embark upon architecture as an area of study after a period of intensive submersion in the field. In addition there is a female playwriting competition/programme in which the winner has their play produced at the Royal Court. YEAH it should be like this spread the abilities about a bit. The 'arts' as they are called are seen as easy and they are not!! I have said this already so no more now. The Beeb (BBC)is also getting going again now there is something new from them called'My Story'which is a competition encouraging people to WRITE and the winner wins a book deal. Not bad,eh? Please, this has got to be better than singing a recorded artist's hit song on the television. Surely?
Come on people what do you think?
This 'spreading the abilities about' is certainly catching on, I heard on Material World'
Radio 4.Oh alright, yes I know, please allow me, I do like radio 4. There was mentioned a competition
'Amateur Scientist of the Year' entrants must be 16 years or older, naturally.
Methinks I must be in tune with the cosmos. (joke). Maybe what I said needs to be said and said LOTS.
Thanks punters for replies its good to have the backup/ feed back and extra info etc.
Now I must go and practice repertory for my future recitals.
I wondered having written the last comment whether I should have written it however, it is true!!
Whilst practising I also think and I realise that something must be said about 'high horses' I wondered when the specific high horse relating to 'Arts' would appear on the horizon. I hate to say this but the field we are standing in is full of 'high horses'The Arts high horse seems to be a cause for mis- interpretation and misunderstanding. Look, I'll explain,Airline pilots (top of the tree, certainly around the airport anyhow(joke) and of course the engineers that service and repair the planes, are they not on a 'high horse' how about Neuro-surgeons, Judges as well, are they also not on high horses or even Astro Physicists how high are their horses I wonder?
You see, I restate my first statement. The arts (I hate the word with an S on the end)are seen as easy and that any one should be able to do it and I agree people can, but not to the level of High Great Art. A course in Aesthetics might be the answer. Can we compare Great painting with great writing with great design and great dancing well in the 'western culture we do we call them all Art and the bar has been set very high indeed historically and just by dint of the fact that human nature strives to develop and improve.
Bye for now!
I think that generally the appreciation of Art must be taught/learnt or if there is more time, nutured. But definitely taught.
What is really happening when someone dances or paints or plays music? it is a revelation to classical performers the insight that a single great artist has to offer about the preparation of great music. I was going to write the meaning of music but that is not wise to state as it is SO profound a question and plunges us into philosophy.
A friend of mine observed that for some one to better feel 'akin' to a performer rather places the emphasis upon the person that is performing rather than the music or performance they are creating. That is an astute observation.Not to notice the music and the interpretation voice production. Well, it is a bit like simply looking at a horse whilst it is jumping in a competition rather than the overall conditions, its rider's best time to date, the difficulty of the course and the other competitors.
Also the idea of 'coolness' is an interesting one. If a general consensus of opinion in any field is taken from a standpoint of not knowing enough about a matter/subject or based on feelings of adversity to a projected idea of elitism I don't think that it really has a strong grounding.
I don't know of any revolution 20, 30, or 40 years ago. One needs to go into Europe to the Berlin Philharmonic concerts the Vienna Philharmonic concerts etc or any of the great orchestras in USA and of course the Festivals taking place everywhere to see if anything is flagging. I really don't think so.Maybe in England where youths are a bit disenchanted about many things but as I have said no revolution that I could speak of.
I've just realised that the last comment I received about 'coolness'etc really belongs in response to my third blog about the marginalisation of classical music. My opinion remains the same however.
The idea of 'stuckism' or to use the adjective 'stuckist', is interesting. I suppose the whole of life contains elements from the past and the transformation of those elements to something new, fresh and so on. These elements can be philosophical thought, scientific thought modification of certain inventions , developments of musical styles, fashion styles etc etc. cities re-thinking themselves. Modes of transport.
No we are not stuck however the 'newist' philosophy or the newest science can only work using what exists already.Even if the discovery is new (it has always been there to be discovered) reminds me of the Beatle song.Therefore the idea that acknowledging the beauty of music of the past should not really be a problem.For we are surrounded in the world by evidence of the glories and otherwise of the past. We rever the triumphs,architecture, painting discovery of the world, creation of maps, writing, mathematics etc etc why not music. How can acknowledging the beauty of music be a problem.Surely it can't be. No, roll on museums and art galleries and anywhere where the work of the past is revered in the midst of the hurly-burly of the pressing forward present day life.

I am officially apologising for not writing my responses to followers in the comment box. I hope that you all do not think that I have not responded because I most certainly have and most importantly I welcome all of your thoughts that have been expressed.Any future responses will be written in the comment box as mentioned. You will have to read through the blog to see that I have written my responses there up to now.

Hey did you hear the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4.Norman LeBrecht the respected journalist critic made many salient points to the panel about what is in fact the limitation of music experience that much popular music engenders.Naturally there are some people of genius in the world of popular music BUT he correctly stated that an audience would never know in truth and honesty the ability of the performer competing.Intonation (playing in tune/singing in tune)is the major concern and preoccupation of every artist.The contestant's sounds are, according to LeBrecht (but I have heard it said elsewhere) corrected/realigned to be in tune, digitally. Therefore they are in fact, a con or deception. I quote Le Brecht'The people that take part are made to sound 'bigger and better' than they really are'.He was rightfully concerned that due to musical illiteracy the difference between say a plumber and Luciano Pavarotti can't be discerned by 'an average audience ' because they are musically illiterate.This dreadful combination ripe for 'rip offs' of the audience knowing little and the product being judged having been nobbled and distauted beyond its real ability is worrying to say the least.
It is SO strange as I have said in my blogs that 'Good old Music' is seen to be ripe for this kind of caper. Not sculpture or well we've had dancing, haven't we. Not really watched it, but people can discern someone not moving smoothly, not looking right not being comfortable dancing in fact. The digital expertise must be there to superimpose some excellent dancers feet or legs on the pathetic contestants body.
Music has the most extraordinary ambiant delussional nuances surrounding it in some amateur quarters,I have observed as a professional musician.For example, some people have been told that they are not sensitive and therefore they are going to jolly well show the world that they are!!!Instruments and the power of certain strings instruments are discussed in the same manner as weapons or powerful motorcars.The true extent of musical capability is to such people beyond the dizzy heights of Everest. We remain in the land of ABC and come on every one it's fine!! (joke) In another example,allowing every one have a go no matter whether they can or not for the cynical purpose of MONEY is frankly strange. Art has existed in western culture for centuries, it is being encroached upon and by little steps taken from its sacred place and manipulated.It is not the outcome I am judging it is the intention that is skewed wrongly.

OK legitimate artists make money of course but they create from a true place of well grounded pedagogy. They think about their creations they are not limited to imitation like many contestants in reality music shows. Another wondrful comment made by LeBrecht to the panel of Moral Maze was in response to the statement that many people watch and enjoy the X factor and Has Britain Got Talent type of programmes. LeBrecht responded to the subject of numbers not being an indicator of quality.For he said in so many words that Macdonald's has more patrons world wide than any other restaurant that does not make Macdonalds the best possible place to eat. I thought to myself very well said,BoBoom!


  1. I agree, too much. However, Reality TV has become popular among broadcasters and that reason is cost. Reality TV can draw half the ratings of a prime-time drama but at a fraction of the cost. It's cheap, easy and as long as everybody is doing it, it can't be stopped.

  2. The problem is that until efforts are made to present the arts as more 'sexy', glamorous and accessible to the working class, the media will always go for what the masses can relate to. An old woman singing, no matter how badly is more identifiable with the man/woman on the street than some wealthy, diva-esque opera singer or Pompous-looking conductor.
    The arts need to get off their high horse first and make more of an effort!

  3. Put bluntly, the arts are not seen as 'cool'.
    A cultural and intellectual revolution has taken place over the last 30 or 40 years which has mocked and marginalised classical arts in a way that almost no other art form has been. Classical music, in particular, is difficult. It requires the understanding of a different language which is not immediately understandable in the way that words and pictures are. Instead of trying to comprehend it or encourage others to do so, the arts are sneered at as elitist and irrelevant and shunned in favour of "accessible" reality TV.
    I am always amazed that people who read "classic" novels, attend galleries and exhibitions and go to art house cinemas happily write off classical music as pretentious and simply make no effort to listen to it and engage with it. It is as though classical music is the only art form about which we are allowed to be judgmental. There is a definite closing of the mind at work here.

  4. Music is music. This tedious obsession with 'classical'/'proper' music is what is killing it. My children love the electronic (occasinally beautiful, sometimes manic, frequently bangin') music I listen too - and have learned about the connections with many other types of music (Bhangra, Jazz, Soul - all manner of tunes...) from that start. They absolutely love music of all it's forms..for the sheer wonder that music brings to their lives. They even love the music on reality TV shows like the X-factor!

    In contrast...one of their friends (aged 11) is being forced by his parents to learn a trumpet and gains no enjoyment from music at all. And, to be fair, his dad plays professionally and still sounds crap.

    The stuckists and snobs prevail in the world of classical vs reality TV and 'popular' music. What they really mean is museum music....good, bad or otherwise.