Technology Won’t Save Classical Music

I’ve been saving this link in Omnifocus for months trying to figure out why this idea of technology “saving” classical music bothers me so much.

So much industry tries to get off the ground by claiming that it’s about education and “the kids.” When I was in 6th grade there was a “Cable In the Classroom” campaign which claimed to bring something like “a new world of learning!” to elementary classrooms, but really it was a weekly break for teachers to catch up on whatever else they needed to do while kids watched a video.

I think it’s a similar thing with iPads and classical music. Advocates like this can fool themselves into believing that the real problem with classical music is that it needs more iPads – that there’s an app for that.

Did anyone else HATE their english classes in high school? Why? I rarely liked the books we read. They were oftentimes HUNDREDS of years old. English classes may be the place where we teach kids to HATE reading. They jokingly write on their Facebook profiles things like “Reading? HAHA!” under the “favorite books” section. Is it really a surprise that many students never pick up a book again after high school? We tried to shove “The Hobbit” down their throats in 7th grade (Yes – I HATED the Hobbit).

An eighth grader reading “Great Expectations” is probably going to be bored out of their mind whether they read it on paper or on a Kindle. I’ve read of classical music programs where they claim to lift the stuffiness of the performance by allowing their audiences to come and go as they please – as if the puny brains of today’s youth just can’t handle a symphony.

When you were in second grade, what COULD you handle? How long could you sit still? When is the right time to introduce them to classical music? Why even call it that?

Maybe it just isn’t the right time for these kids yet. That’s going to change if you let someone go to the bathroom between movements and play Angry Birds?

In the same way some kids learn to love to read by picking up the right book, some kids learn to love classical music by finding the right music – for them. It’s not really a classical music problem. It’s not a technology problem. It’s not “these kids” today. It’s a content-to-kid problem.