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Links we Like: The Silver Lining

This week’s installment of Links we Like is my final here at From the Top. It has been such an honor to share my thoughts and ideas on this blog for the past two months, and an experience I will not soon forget. Wanting to end on a high note (no musical pun intended), we observe two stories that demonstrate the resilience of classical music, and how there is always a “silver lining” to every cloud.

Ahead of the Curve: Despite budget cuts threatening school music programs and organizations across the country, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation announced the results of its 11th annual “Best Communities for Music Education” survey this past May. 174 school districts made the list who, according to the website, “demonstrate an unwavering commitment to providing music education for their students”. The schools had to score within the 80th percentile or above in the survey to receive the title, with questions pertaining to funding, curriculum, requirements, facilities, etc. To see America’s “Best Communities for Music Education,” click here.

(courtesy Yale.edu)

Putting things into Perspective: In the same vein, many believe our nation’s orchestras are suffering tremendously from financial burden and social reticence. Yet Heather Lynn Mac Donald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor to the New York City Journal, attests that, despite times seeming rough, we are in fact living in a “Golden Age”. Her essay Classical Music’s New Golden Age compares the context of our time with that of Beethoven, Berlioz, etc. to show how conditions for classical musicians have vastly improved over the years. The following quote serves as an example to her case: “Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony premiered before an audience of 100 at most. These days, probably 10,000 people are listening to it during any given 24-hour period, either live or on record…” While Mac Donald believes musicians of the 21st century lead more favorable livelihoods than those of their predecessors, she acknowledges there is still a great deal that must be done to guarantee the future of classical music. She cites the efforts of El Sistema and China’s burgeoning demand for classical music as being “two of the best hopes for building future American audiences,” and  is highly optimistic that the genre will flourish for generations to come. To read the rest of Mac Donald’s essay, click here.

(courtesy EssentialsofMusic.com)