[Dixielandjazz] Fw: [TPIN] Broadway and American Life

Bob Romans cellblk7 at attbi.com
Wed Mar 12 13:43:11 PST 2003

>From the TPIN...( Trumpet Players International Network). Worth reading...
Bob Romans
Cell Block 7
Jazz Band
1617 Lakeshore Dr.,
Lodi, California, 95242
WebPages..click below
-----Original Message-----
From: Bryan Edgett <bedgett at safeplace.net>
To: tpin at tpin.dana.edu <tpin at tpin.dana.edu>
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 9:40 AM
Subject: [TPIN] Broadway and American Life

This thread is quite interesting to me. It seems as if we have
several very pertinent issues at hand: humans vs. technology, The
right of those who produce a product or a service to do so as they
please, the rights of workers to unite in order to forge a better
life for themselves, and the nature of free markets.

Most interesting to me is that technology supplanted human workers in
several industries with better results than what people could produce
alone. The tractor replaced many farm laborers, automated
switchboards replaced many telephone operators, robots replaced some
assemblers and so on. The nature of free markets allows those who pay
for a product or service to come up with better, or more efficient,
or more cost effective ways of delivery.

Unionism also has an important place. It gives a solid voice to
ensure that the workers' point(s) of view are considered. I am a
lifelong Republican. But I have stated publicly that unions are
absolutely essential to ensure that there is some check on the power
of those who control the money. Those who believe that the market
will do so alone forget the Great Depression.

In this instance, it seems to me that the owners (producers) want the
freedom to produce something worse rather than better. I have yet to
hear any artificial brass sound that is as convincing at an
accomplished, live professional. Most artificial note fronts sound
absolutely abysmal.

This should not be surprising, however. We see the dumbing down of
society at all levels. In my setting, academia, we see it as students
demand that universities be turned into nothing more than what I have
termed academic tech schools where the sole focus is to get a
particular type of job and have as much fun as time and money will
allow. The weight of student evaluations ensures that frequently,
they get what they want. And, with the exception of entrance to the
elite schools (and, at times, even there) people now view it as their
God-given right to go to college. Grades and performance barely
should be considered, according to many. Moreover, grade inflation
has ensured that those with regressively less academic skill can
attain entrance.

We see this in music with art music increasingly under attack as
high-brow rather than high standard, with rock completely supplanting
jazz as the culture's popular music, and with rap's influence growing
within mainstream youth. We are the world's freest country. But that
freedom does not always ensure that we do what is best. In fact,
today, even to suggest that there is a best is to invite rebuke as an
old fossil. Progressives know better.

Perhaps we have dehumanized culture to a degree that is proving
harmful. But socialism is dead, except at some American universities.
I agree with those who found that the most important ingredient for a
democracy is a sense of civic righteousness. That is, people must
voluntarily do what is right.

America is very hard on its artists, the true artists anyway. Eddie
Lewis once said that the most common reason professional musicians
left the field was that they "just couldn't live like that anymore."
I haven't seen the research but I suspect that he is correct.
Sometimes what is legal is not right, in my view. I can't imagine
some shows without a full complement of brass. I do wonder whether
the listening public will be able to tell the difference.

In my secondary methods class, I insist that my students develop a
rationale for the defense of the arts. They write a research paper
about it. I believe that we who are artists need to be at the
forefront of promoting art's benefits to the individual and to
society whenever we can. Never lose an opportunity to tell people why
the arts are not superfluous. List their benefits. We must work to
regain the ground that has been lost, shining a light rather than
simply cursing the darkness. People won't become aware without help.
That, it seems to me, stands among our most important tasks if we are
to recapture the high position that our craft once enjoyed.


Bryan Edgett

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