Monday, 9 July 2012

Things That Bemuse Me #4: Contests, concerts, technology. No instruments?

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My showcase weekend is over, my college trial is finished, Music For Youth is done, only the tour to Berlin and Galtres festival left before September now. I'm planning on getting some charity work done at some point though, and maybe losing 20lbs, but other than that, I actually have free time now.

As you'd probably guess by the title, my showcase went well and I won three medals. Two bronze for dance, and my gold for singing. But, it was a shame really when I came to play because I was the only competitor who was playing an instrument, everybody else was using a backing track. Now, I think this gave me a bigger chance in the contest as I was different which *cough* of course isn't a bad thing, but it made me think about musicianship today and that kind of put a downer on my mood.

Something I'm aware of is that many people nowadays are lazy. They do whatever they can get out of doing a lot of things which might cause them to have to think or work. When I asked the other competitors if they played an instrument, only three out of the twelve said yes. When I asked those who had said no why, they replied 'I don't have the patience', and 'I did for a bit but then I gave up because I couldn't do it'. Those are things I just don't understand. I could understand if they had said it was because they would rather have done something else, but to say 'can't' and 'don't have the patience' is just the equivalent of 'I can't be bothered'.

Then I wonder, are they just drawing inspiration from shows like X Factor, where they prefer contestants to not play their instruments? When I asked the girls who did play instruments why they didn't play them to perform, they just said that it was easier to use a backing track. Does this show influence, laziness, or lack of confidence? Maybe it shows all three, but I personally feel that it's very much along the lines of 'oh we'll get rich and famous by chance and it'll be easy', which is what people often seem to think. The idea of having to work for that seems alien because of Youtube Stars and Televised Talent Contests

It's ironic really that I should be blogging about this subject, as since college I have decided upon taking Music Technology too, and had three trial lessons. Something I remember distinctly was my teacher telling us a story about the times before technology when Bach walked 250 miles to hear a recital by Buxtehude in Lubeck. That showed either that he was a super intelligent madman, or dedicated to his art. Let's go with the latter. The questions that I am mulling over here are these: Is technology used in performance making people lazy, and are live instrument-playing artists going to fade away in mainstream culture?

Note: I do not disagree with the use of technology. Wouldn't is be hypocritical of me to have a blog and disapprove of using a computer? 

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