Lucy Green has written some pretty interesting things about the sociology of music, in particular music and feminism and the tensions between the western classical music tradition and popular music. Although these topics might sound like they belong in acadmeic discussions alone I would disagree. Why would we want to tell the entire internet what we’re consuming and what we like consuming if we did not think that these choices reflected positively on us? In previous writing Lucy Green states that we like music not just because we like the order, pattern and sound of the music but also because we perceive particular music as having cultural and intelectual meanings which are not dependent on the noise itself. In music education in the UK western classical music has been held up as the superior music. Lucy Green seeks to illustrate ways in which informal music practices and learning methods can and should be incorporated into the school music curriculum.
The teaching of cultural values in school is, I believe, a political act. Middle Class teachers teach us middle class values, in turn the middle class children succeed and the working class children become more and more culturally impoverished. In the UK our class system means that children do not compete on a level playing field when it comes to their education. It’s not fair. EVERYONE does music! Everyone listens to it, plays it, hums it, sings it, everyone participates in music but only a small minority would consider their music activity as cultural activity. I’m interested in reading any book which explores issues of how social class affects the way in which we participate in cultural activities. What I can’t decide about Lucy Green is whether or not she secretly thinks that western classical music is superior and that popluar music might be the bait in which to engage the student in music lessons so that they can be “converted” into classical music lovers.
This kind of stuff keeps me awake at night! Music and social class – both of these things have had a profound affect on my life.