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Viva Amateurs

June 8, 2007

John Van Rhein's essay about amateur musicians in the Chicago Tribune calls for a greater appreciation by the professional music world of amateur musicians:

These are people who play for the love of the music, he says, adding: ''How many 'professional' musicians truly delight in the music they are paid to produce?''

Blogger Andrew Taylor picks up on the article and says:

"Whatever the reason, the gap between the amateur and professional is one of the most troubling and damaging elements of our current cultural landscape. And fostering that gap is one of the dumbest moves for an industry struggling to reclaim relevance, connection, and meaning. Says von Rhein: 'Musicians who play for love rather than money can teach even jaded ears something vital about what it means to make and experience music. They are one reason classical music remains a living art.'"

Speaking as an amateur musician myself, I don't think amateurs are particularly interested in how the professional world perceives them. We carry on meeting and playing and that's all that matters.

What Van Rhein's essay (and Taylor's comments in response to it) fail to acknowledge is the enormous blur between professionalism and amateurism in some artistic fields.

You only have to look, for instance, at the rise of the citizen journalism movement or the plethora of "you too can do it!" TV talent shows calling for everyday individuals to show off their dancing, acting, and singing skills.

So while there is a degree of cultural snobbery with regards to amateurs, I think things are moving in another direction.



  • Hi Chloe,

    You're right I think. And expect TheatreTalk also to continue to move into its new era of publishing and interactivity via the blogosphere.

    By Blogger Nick , At June 8, 2007 at 2:21 PM  

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