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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) why middle class people play music (36) RE: why middle class people play music 17 Sep 15

Hi Joe,

I'd be sorry to see this thread sent below the line, because it raises issues that are extremely relevant to the health of the kind (or kinds) of music that we folks enjoy and care about.

My 2p worth on the subject relates to leisure, and how we choose to spend it. Today we are under huge pressure to become passive consumers of commercially packaged leisure 'products', rather than to engage actively in leisure pursuits like informal music-making. This pressure reaches every layer of the social cake, regardless of how you choose to divide it into 'classes'. But it affects different layers in different ways.

Many of those who still have a 'proper' job are forced to work ever-longer hours in order to keep it. They often lack the energy to undertake something active in what little free time they have left.
Those who are without a job, or surviving through insecure, casual, temporary or part-time work, often lack the money needed to make a serious commitment to a demanding leisure pursuit.

And meanwhile the commercial entertainment industry bombards all of us incessantly with propaganda for its products.

On the whole, educated people and I mean 'educated' in the broadest sense of the word, not just college graduates tend to resist these pressures more successfully. Nevertheless, all of us find it much easier to watch TV sport from an armchair, rather than joining a club, training two evenings a week, and competing in local events at weekends. And it is easier to enjoy manufactured music on headphones, rather than making the effort needed for learning an instrument and going out to play it with like-minded people.

The opinion-formers of the arts media don't help much words like 'amateurish' and 'pretentious' are routinely thrown at any outsider who dares to trespass on the territory of the culture industry. Meanwhile, the consumers of mass entertainment are encouraged to mock and scorn those who dare to entertain themselves.   

Nevertheless, the struggle continues. We are not history yet!


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