Carnegie Hall starts in your living room, when you listen to your child play.
The only recital that really matters is the one the child presents to you, even if it is only thirty seconds long.
The odds of your kid being in a Broadway show are 1 in 11,000.
The odds of your kid appearing as piano soloist at Carnegie Hall must be 1 in 111,000,000,000.
Without denigrating the musical profession, it is an industry like any other, with interest groups, fiefdoms, masters and fools.
Expecting to be a musical superstar of classical music is first of all impossible, as there are no such stars left.
The record companies, such as Sony, destroyed the pool of talent in the 1980’s in search of quick bucks with rap music and any pop music that paid the bills with no effort on their part.
The result of their shortsightedness? By 2009, there is no classical music industry worth mentioning. Yes, you can earn $150,000 a year being a galley slave playing flute in a major orchestra, but the thrill is gone.
Orchestras, always supported largely by private endowment, are dying. In commercial music, machines have almost completed their coup.
Carnegie Hall, as an institution of culture, is dead. It is now a corporate museum, a reminder of a grander time when musicians were honored and music was an art.
Now, classical music is merely another dirty business, and talent has no place in it. As with everything else nowadays, Public Relations is all that matters.
But we can do something with our children to at least allow them to appreciate the tremendous heritage that is classical music.
All we can hope for is to preserve the memory and the music, for the world that housed such a grand idea as classical music is forever dead, killed by television and the computer, Disney, Twinkies, Mustangs and Iphones.
As early as possible, start a classical radio station playing in your home (if you can find one!) Have classical music playing for your child. They will want TV, but establish a balance between them.
Sit with your child on the sofa, and get a big picture book about the classical era (say 1650-1900.) Listen to the masterpieces and show this world to your child.
Show your children a world without phones, TVs, computers, electric light and cars. Let them listen to the wonderful music that accompanied it.
They will be fascinated.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press