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Old 11-02-2009, 06:58 AM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
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So last night my wife & I enjoyed a wonderful concert by the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras, at The Holland Center. Omaha Performing Arts - Holland Performing Arts Center (http://www.omahaperformingarts.org/opac.asp - broken link) It was an incredible night of beautiful music, and is great fun to see such talent. A 14-year old Japanese student played an absolutely stunning Violin Concerto with the final orchestra.


As we were watching & listening to each of the 4 groups play, I couldn't help but notice the racial makeup of the groups.

In each orchestra, the racial makeup was approximately 2/3rds white, and 1/3rd Asian, including (India) Indian. There were 2-3 black kids in each orchestra, and I noticed that there were no Hispanic kids in any of the groups. This racial mix did not change from one group to the next.


So why is this? This does not - in any way - reflect the racial demographic of our metro area.

Is the reason for this racial "imbalance" purely economic? Are there some races/cultures that do not enjoy or promote Classical Music? Is there something else going on here?

 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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Coming from an African-American home that was exposed to Classical music on a regular basis I would say it's purely economics. The more affluent schools and facilities ( I went to Catholic school and my mother loved Opera) will have curriculum introducing kids to Classical programs as opposed to the poorer schools that mostly deal in the lowest common denominators of their students. It never occurs to many educators to encourage kids in the "elitist" cultural traditions because of preconceived notions about their abilities and failure rates. Too bad, too... a lot of talent goes unnoticed.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Just a wild guess. Among the upper socioeconomic ranks of our society, there is a quite different demographic mix than there is in WalMart checkout lanes. The kids who choose classical music extracurriculars in the high school represent the offspring of this upper rank.

In Nebraska, I would wager that a high proportion of Asians are in some professional field, mostly medical or academic. It would follow that their children will be steered more in the direction of classical music. On the other hand, the parents of Hispanic kids more often work in meat-packing plants, and are not the beneficiaries of very much intellectual stimulation at home.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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Where I grew up in Boston there was a public technical high school right in our neighborhood. The local African-American and Latino kids had to be on a waiting list while the city administrators had the Asian kids bussed in from Chinatown.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcrackly View Post
Coming from an African-American home that was exposed to Classical music on a regular basis I would say it's purely economics. The more affluent schools and facilities ( I went to Catholic school and my mother loved Opera) will have curriculum introducing kids to Classical programs as opposed to the poorer schools that mostly deal in the lowest common denominators of their students. It never occurs to many educators to encourage kids in the "elitist" cultural traditions because of preconceived notions about their abilities and failure rates. Too bad, too... a lot of talent goes unnoticed.
That'd be my first thought too. But here's the deal... Of the 4 kids that we went to see, NONE of them are from money families.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:26 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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I'm not sure you can always tell who is Hispanic just by looking at them. Cubans and Venezuelans can be fairly "light." Even name doesn't always work as there's a Mexican man in my town with a name like Lee Smith. There's a fair number of Mexicans with German sounding names and somewhat "light" features. (Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is apparently of Basque and German ancestry)

It does seem like Asians are more encouraging of classical music. There was a time we made it clear we didn't want Asians coming to this country at all then we switched to something like "only come if you're really smart." Plus Asia being more distant, geographically and culturally, you might get people more determined to succeed and classical music has a "successful people" association. (I believe I read somewhere that Hispanics from South America, which is also pretty far, tend to be better educated and wealthy than average.)

Still much of what we call "classical music" does mean music solely of European origin. We don't necessarily refer to music of the Axum in Ethiopia or the Ming Dynasty of China as "classical music." That doesn't mean it's just for white people, anymore than the Blues is just for black people, but I would understand if it was of less interest in some communities.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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Doesn't have to be money families but families(or communities) that have active Arts programs, which you are less likely to find in inner city schools. It's been my experience that there is a multi-generational cultivation of the arts, Classical music in particular, in Asian families probably becuase of the visibility of successful peers. At least in the public schools that I have seen the programs follow a policy of contemporary pop culture to maintain kids interest.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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I will add that the Catholic parochial schools that my family atteneded were poorer than dirt but still highly valued classical European arts programs.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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Add to the mix that young Black and Spanish kids will be harassed by their young peers if they are seen carrying a violin or flute case. It's not considered cool but more along the lines of geeky or nerdy.

It's also not cool for them to be seen carrying books of any kind. This kind of thinking/culture has devastating consequences for their future.
 
Old 11-02-2009, 09:26 AM
 
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it's cultural values. geeky or nerdy is not acceptable in american culture even. it's been this way for awhile. geeky or nerdy kids were always ostracized or harassed in school more than others, regardless of race. sexuality, looks etc are more valued. it's the base primal instinct that's the common denominator.

this kind of thinking does not have devastating consequences in american culture (because it will make you acceptable) but it does in the grand scheme of things in relation to more important issues in worldwide competition or progressiveness. when your priorities are idiotic, you will end up paying for it. whenever i saw asians or any race being mocked for trivial or even upright reasons, i was always aware that they (mockers) were unaware of the larger picture and i was secretly mocking them (inside and shaking my proverbial head). lol

look at all the misguided or negative cultural values people believe which are not only american such as smoking makes you cool or an adult or drinking someone under the table or beating someone up makes you tough etc. it's all harmful and leads to no good outcome for anyone. It's not being an adult or more mature, it's just been construed that way.

Last edited by rory00; 11-02-2009 at 09:39 AM..
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