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Why America Is Losing the Culture Race

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WHY AMERICA IS LOSING THE CULTURE RACE 

You have an original idea in America that's not a computer widget or an Internet marketing plan, but a painting, an opera, a novel?

Sorry, there's no place for you in popular culture, spaces filled, please don't come back unless you're Lindsay Lohan or have an idea for an expensive weapon system or a lawn care product.

Other countries may love our television shows and movies, our stars and our celebrities, but when it comes to culture, they laugh at us.

America is the only country in the world that penalizes musicians and artists by providing no significant support to them whatsoever until they have achieved "celebrity," or at least enough social status to attract the interest of celebrities.

Before one is a celebrity in America, one is nothing, and nothing one does matters.

After, though, everything you have ever touched will become enshrined in nonsensical adoration. If Brittany Spears wrote a Symphony #5 or a Requiem, the New York Philharmonic would not hesitate to play it, for publicity value alone. But would they ever play a symphony composed by some pimply teenager who actually had an original idea?

Not unless that kid's dad was connected through the social network of classical music professionals. You know whom I mean, the same record executives who carefully guided us from the golden age of Horowitz and Columbia records to the present state wherein there are no real classical record labels. 

Americans use Mozart to clear the teens out of malls at midnight.

Peter Gelb at Sony Records (now head of the Met Opera) is a perfect example of the corporate head who abandoned countless musical artists in search of whatever star the money people said to develop, such as the wonderful YoYo Ma. There are no great classical composers any more because no one with real power gives the promising ones much help at all. The ones who could help them are too busy feathering their own nests.

What's the point? These painters and composers will never be in People magazine, and don't want to be.

We're not talking about the Kennedy Center Honors: prizes like these and others like admittance to the fabled MacDowell Colony is reserved for established stars and artists with deep social connections to the small groups of ultra-conservatives governing these shrouded financial organizations.

And don't think you can walk in off the street and proclaim your talent. An organization like the National Endowment for the Arts is so full of pork that you needn't apply unless you can muster the support of the many not-for-profit professionals who will do their best to get a piece of your pie, if you get any.

Instead of funding worthy programs, these monoliths simply breed proposals, tailor-made to the "guidelines," veering as little as possible from the tried and true.

Their attitude is, "It's better to get money for something irrelevant than no money at all for something original and worthy." 

Getting money for something original and worthy in America is a lifetime of work in the style of Sisyphus.

In other words, people apply for grants for projects not that they want to do, but what they think the governing board will approve.

You still have an original idea in America that's not a computer doodad, but a statue, a musical, a lyric poem? There's no place for you in popular culture, spaces filled, please don't come back unless you can write to the beat of the Disney demographic drum.

Carl Sandburg would be thrown down the stairs at Disney and reproved for his "dry prose." 

Can't that idiot Sandburg write a decent sitcom script for once so we can all make some money? That's what the geniuses at Disney are thinking.

You could become an academic, and ride that gravy train of obedience and mediocrity for as long as you can. But, like the army, you must join when you're young, and subsume yourself in the quasi-corporate culture of the university. Some can. Some won't.

No, my son, be an artist in America, be free, proud, independent, and then go starve to death.

America, the culture that systematically destroys its artists, needn't turn around and ask where they all went.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

See also THE GREAT PIANO CRAZE OF 1910

See also PIANO WARS: EVOLUTION OF THE PIANO IN AMERICA

See also CARNEGIE HALL STARTS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

See also AGAINST FILM MUSIC

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THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Click here to view PIANO IS EASYClick here to view I CAN READ MUSICClick here to view THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER

Click here to view THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KITClick here to view TEACH YOURSELF PIANOClick here to view EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

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Picture of Brahms playing piano.THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: ALL 6 BASIC  BOOKS  

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THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: 

1. 107 page illustrated THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT Book with 44 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers   

2. 120 page illustrated PIANO IS EASY Book with 50 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers 

3. 50 page I CAN READ MUSIC Book 

4. 132 page TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP Book, 56 minute DVD Video and removable stickers 

5. 141 page THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER Book with 130 songs, and removable stickers 

6. 88 page EASY CLASSICAL PIANO BY NUMBER Book with 10 songs, and removable stickers, and 29 minute Play Along Audio CD 

6 BOOKS, DVD AND 3 PLAY ALONG AUDIO CDS 

Our BOOK PACKAGE price: $89.95 Click here to order THE COMPLETE PIANO PACKAGE

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Red musical note: start your child reading music today!

Our Play Along Audio CDs are an important element in making the piano fun for kids, and are produced by Grammy Award winner (Sesame Street) Joe Castellon. 

Our colorful books and videos have been created by Emmy Award winning composer and teacher John Aschenbrenner and are guaranteed to get your child happily started at the piano.

Digitally engineered and mastered, these high quality educational recordings include fun, familiar songs that children love to hear and play along with, and are sure to give hours of musical enjoyment, entertainment and guidance to your child.

Special thanks to these schools recently joining our growing list of organizations using PIANO BY NUMBER:

Primrose Day School, Jumping Jacks Preschool, Valley Elementary, Kid's Korner, Play All Day Nursery School, Children's Development Center,  Springfield Child Time

If you're not sure what book is right for your child, email us at info@pianoiseasy.com and we will be glad to help you.

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