sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 10:01pm on 09/07/2011 under ,
So I decided to be a musician, in the end. The passion won through not because I realised it was what was truly in my heart, or some sappy bullshit like that, but because I met the bosses of Army music - the PDoM and the Colonel, who isn't a musician himself - and was really, really impressed with their attitude and their vision.

The Corps of Army Music, like every branch of the Army, is having to make changes. This is not entirely about cuts - this is about society, and recruiting, and the fact that roughly 60 musicians are leaving every year, while only 40 are entering service. This year in particular, around 175 musicians are reaching the end of their contracts, though presumably a fair number will stay on. It was suggested that this is mostly down to the changes in education over the last decades, the deprioritisation of arts subjects and the lack of instrumental tuition in schools*. Of course Army pragmatism means that rather than bemoaning this fate, the bosses are focusing on what they can do to attract musicians to the job; this extends right down to asking T.A. musicians about their recruiting experiences and how they could improve, because "it's 35 years since we entered the Service and things have changed since then". The other changes I mentioned above are only in the proposal stage, and as such I can't really discuss them. Suffice to say I find them exciting, and hope that the majority of musicians will support them wholeheartedly and make them work. It's about making the Service more useful, more immediately attractive to today's soldiers, before they learn to enjoy marching bands out of respect and sentimentality. I approve.

*This is probably a bit controversial since all the music teachers, classroom or instrumental, who I know are doing their damnedest to encourage young people to take an interest - it's the system, not the individuals, that is failing us culturally.

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