Why we need music

8 May 2012

The most abstract of our arts is also one of the things that defines our humanity, writes Andrew Ford in Inside Story

TODAY’s managers are always wanting to “outsource” things. They talk about savings and partnerships and choice, while really they are trying to rid themselves of responsibility. If something has been outsourced, it is not the manager’s fault when it fails. In seeking to find “efficiencies,” whether in a hospital or a music school, the managers must recruit collaborators from within. You can spot these people fairly easily in music. They are the ones who refer cheerfully to the “music business” – even the “music industry” – and who speak of “outcomes.” Real musicians don’t talk like that, though sometimes, when trying to communicate with managers, they do edit themselves.

The trouble is that most managers have experience only of management, the bulk of our politicians have spent their whole lives in politics, and too many of our economists can do little more than count. When musicians talk to these people, then, we bang on about how music makes children smarter, how it generates jobs and how it boosts the economy. Now I dare say all these things are true, but we speak in such terms principally because we think we may be heard. The most important reason for the proper funding of music and music education lies elsewhere and is harder to convey…

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Andrew Ford, 2012, Why we need music, Inside Story, viewed 29 April 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/29338>.

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