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why middle class people play music

Jack Campin 16 Sep 15 - 04:40 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Sep 15 - 05:55 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 15 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,Bert 17 Sep 15 - 12:00 AM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 15 - 01:01 AM
Jack Campin 17 Sep 15 - 05:25 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Sep 15 - 05:50 AM
The Sandman 17 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Sep 15 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) 17 Sep 15 - 07:14 AM
Jack Campin 17 Sep 15 - 08:21 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Sep 15 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 17 Sep 15 - 06:32 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Sep 15 - 06:49 PM
Jack Campin 17 Sep 15 - 08:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 15 - 08:35 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Sep 15 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 18 Sep 15 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 18 Sep 15 - 03:15 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 18 Sep 15 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Dave 18 Sep 15 - 04:04 AM
Jack Campin 18 Sep 15 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Dave 18 Sep 15 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) 18 Sep 15 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 18 Sep 15 - 09:16 AM
CupOfTea 18 Sep 15 - 10:26 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 15 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Sep 15 - 10:55 AM
Tattie Bogle 19 Sep 15 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Klaus Middel 20 Sep 15 - 05:35 AM
Stanron 20 Sep 15 - 11:09 AM
Jack Campin 20 Sep 15 - 12:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Sep 15 - 01:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Sep 15 - 08:35 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Sep 15 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 21 Sep 15 - 06:59 AM
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Subject: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Sep 15 - 04:40 PM

This is intriguing, if rather unsurprising in retrospect.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150915211328.htm

The folk scene (at least in Scotland) may be a bit more representative of the working class than that (presumably English) study found, but you sure don't see many commodity brokers playing the moothie here, either.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Sep 15 - 05:55 PM

Don't want to extrapolate too much, but I do wonder whether this explains why a website like Mudcat attracts (apparently) a disproportionate number of somewhat right-wing people who are so intolerant of the tribulations that less fortunate people have to live through. You might have thought, naively mebbe, that folkies wouldn't be like that. But, knowing that folkies may be, on average, a bit more middle class and a bit more smug than expected... :-(

And I play the moothie and I wouldn't even know what a commodity was, let alone how to broker one...

    If you'd like to talk about conservatives at Mudcat, please post here (click). I don't think that question fits in a music discussion, and I'll move any further discussion of that topic into another thread.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 15 - 11:15 PM

Steve, that's a bit extrapolate-y. Also, I tend to not see many "right-wingers," (save the one or two extremely vocal who I'll leave nameless), but more liberal people (not necessarily "left-wingers," but left-leaning) on this site. Also, middle-class people tend to be (as a group) rather middle-of-the-road, not so strongly right-winged or left-winged. There seems to be some infrequent banter online about it, but I haven't been able to locate any numbers supporting one side or the other


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Bert
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 12:00 AM

There is no middle class, you either work for your living or you don't.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 01:01 AM

I wonder if it's education in general that makes people likely to make music, or if it's music education. In the U.S., music education has become less and less a priority, and that worries me. Without education, how will music survive?

-Joe-

    If you'd like to talk about conservatives at Mudcat, please post here (click). I don't think that question fits in a music discussion, and I'll move any further discussion of that topic into another thread.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 05:25 AM

The study covered other arts, and was about education in general.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 05:50 AM

When I said disproportionate, I think I should have said, instead, out of proportion with what one might expect, thinking about how folk song often reflects the lives of ordinary people (rather than, er, middle class people or capitalists). Anyway, I shall limit what I say here to that observation, to be shot down or not, and make haste to the below-line thread.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM

people from all walks of life play the harmonica, ex chemistry teachers ,postmen, shepherds


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 05:55 AM

You forgot ex-biology teachers. Me, in other words!


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie)
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 07:14 AM

Hi Joe,

I'd be sorry to see this thread sent below the line, because it raises issues that are extremely relevant to the health of the kind (or kinds) of music that we folks enjoy and care about.

My 2p worth on the subject relates to leisure, and how we choose to spend it. Today we are under huge pressure to become passive consumers of commercially packaged leisure 'products', rather than to engage actively in leisure pursuits like informal music-making. This pressure reaches every layer of the social cake, regardless of how you choose to divide it into 'classes'. But it affects different layers in different ways.

Many of those who still have a 'proper' job are forced to work ever-longer hours in order to keep it. They often lack the energy to undertake something active in what little free time they have left.
Those who are without a job, or surviving through insecure, casual, temporary or part-time work, often lack the money needed to make a serious commitment to a demanding leisure pursuit.

And meanwhile the commercial entertainment industry bombards all of us incessantly with propaganda for its products.

On the whole, educated people – and I mean 'educated' in the broadest sense of the word, not just college graduates – tend to resist these pressures more successfully. Nevertheless, all of us find it much easier to watch TV sport from an armchair, rather than joining a club, training two evenings a week, and competing in local events at weekends. And it is easier to enjoy manufactured music on headphones, rather than making the effort needed for learning an instrument and going out to play it with like-minded people.

The opinion-formers of the arts media don't help much – words like 'amateurish' and 'pretentious' are routinely thrown at any outsider who dares to trespass on the territory of the culture industry. Meanwhile, the consumers of mass entertainment are encouraged to mock and scorn those who dare to entertain themselves.   

Nevertheless, the struggle continues. We are not history yet!

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 08:21 AM

Many of those who still have a 'proper' job are forced to work ever-longer hours in order to keep it. They often lack the energy to undertake something active in what little free time they have left.

The study also found that people on high incomes are less likely to participate in the arts - nobody's compelling them to spend all the hours God sends making money, but that's what they choose to do.

None of this correlates very strongly with political attitudes.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 08:49 AM

Why do middle class blokes play music? To pull the birds, of course. Shame it doesn't work!


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 06:32 PM

Not for me either ...


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 06:49 PM

You guys need to realise that the harmonica player always scores.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 08:34 PM

A lot of "general" education makes it easier to understand and do the arts as a participant. Know some history and you know what a lot of dramatists and ballad writers were reacting to. Do some geography/sociology/natural science/urban studies and you have a better idea what painting and photography can connect with. Do some hard science and you're in a better position to understand the physical processes and formal structures of music.

Re Steve's last point, my father's thing was amateur theatre, which he did mainly in techie roles as stage manager, sound man, set designer and lighting engineer. I think having a supply of actresses and a dark private cubicle had something to do with it.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 08:35 PM

i think for our generation - music was more a reaction against education.

frankly i think the music's been crap ever since that changed.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Sep 15 - 08:56 PM

Sadly, Jack, I have to confess that our session in the Tree in Bude is chronically short of groupies. For years I've put this down to the fact that our youngest member is in his late 50s, but, after reading of your dad's experiences, I've changed my mind about our shortcomings and instead have put in for planning permission for a dark cubicle.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 01:37 AM

Interesting thread. My daughter teaches flute in two state schools, but the parents have to pay for the lessons. Needless to say, only the children of the richer parents have the lessons.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 03:15 AM

Try again! The mobile home/camping / outdoor thing is possibly a middle class activity, love of the outdoors etc. there is a degree of effort required to leave the home comforts both in the eve for clubs and and festivals. Prob a different thread but recently have heard suggestions to run clubs during the day as people get older?
I pulled! - married to my favourite singer for 30+ years.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 03:29 AM

Mike same re guitar lessons for my son. I had taught him the very basics and he started receiving guitar lessons in first year of High School. The first year was free - though he had to pass a basic audition to qualify for the lessons so not for complete beginners if not enough places. However after that the lessons cost. If you had two or three kids wanting lessons at school then yes it would get expensive. In our case my in-laws wanted to pay the costs which was a great help as during the credit crunch it would have been significant for us. Not everyone is that lucky though


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 04:04 AM

The article starts from an outdated premise, that working class people are less well educated. This simply isn't true any more.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 04:17 AM

You

(a) didn't read the article
(b) don't have much of a clue about how the world works.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 04:40 AM

Jack, admittedly I have only read the Sage summary, but the title of the article is:

"Why middle class people are more likely to play music, paint and act revealed"

and if you read on you find that:

"Research involving 78,000 people found that it was not wealth or social status that were strongly linked to people taking part in arts activities as amateurs or professionals.

Instead, it was the level of education that lay behind arts participation, the study by Dr Aaron Reeves, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, found."

So either the title and the first paragraph of the article are contradictory, or else the author believes that middle class people have a higher level of education than working class people.

What the article actually shows is that middle class people are not more likely to take part in arts of music than working class people. If the title said that then I would agree with it.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie)
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 06:29 AM

Hi Dave,

You say

'the title of the article is: "Why middle class people are more likely to play music, paint and act revealed" and if you read on you find that: "Research involving 78,000 people found that it was not wealth or social status that were strongly linked to people taking part in arts activities as amateurs or professionals. Instead, it was the level of education that lay behind arts participation,"'

The reason for this contradiction is that journalists write articles,but sub-editors write headlines. Headlines often misrepresent the articles below them - sometimes because the sub was too busy to read the article carefully, sometimes because the headline writer wishes to impose the ideological agenda of the host newspaper/magazine/website on an article which doesn't actually support that agenda.

If I wrote a piece which included the line "Some ill-informed people believe that Morris dancing is only for wimps", the odds are quite good that a sub-editor would headline it

"MORRIS DANCING - ONLY FOR WIMPS!"

But that's journalism for you.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 09:16 AM

Well said Mike. Interesting thread. I am working class, have had very little music education, am self taught and play several instruments. And yes its hard to find time and energy for playing music when you have to work full time and have kids and a household, etc.. but I have found new energy to do this since Corbyn got elected here. I'm now learning protest songs. Not to go off on a political tangent but there you go..


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: CupOfTea
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 10:26 AM

At first glance, I thought this thread was a wind-up, but after reading through, I find myself unsure who exactly "middle class people" ARE, and thinking there might be a different set of criterion used in the UK than the US where I live.

I've always thought that middle class meant middle income, and some of them would be "working class" as in unions, trades. What it feels like is that the current economic and social trend is shrinking the middle, with more sliding toward the poverty end of the scale, and a few gathering up a disportionate percent of available wealth. This economic trend seems to correlate with a decline in the numbers of those who participate in making music. Mike of Northumbria pointed out leisure time and education components as in the decline in numbers participating. Here, the arts in education are treated more and more as unnecessary luxuries, while the STEM * programs get the attention and funds. Without education that includes participation in performance in the arts, it is no wonder fewer participate.

Back when I thought I was middle class, I got started playing music and singing because it spoke to me of heritage, history, and a feeling that I could participate on the continuity of this significant part of the cultural heritage I valued. Now that I'm tipping over into poverty, I still value all that and cherish the community/social side even more.
Why I play - call it a sense of belonging where star status is not required to participate. Popular culture norms seem to be antagonistic to amateurs. Wish more of us WERE middle class and making music.

Joanne in Cleveland

*STEM= science, technology, engineering, math


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 01:04 PM

People play music because they are human beings, and playing music is what human beings do. Like walking on hind legs and talking.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Sep 15 - 10:55 AM

I agree, McGrath. Good for you!


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Sep 15 - 12:57 PM

The odd thing is that some people don't!
Thinking back to my schooldays, we were blessed with a very dynamic, motivating and inspiring music teacher who ran the 2 school choirs and 2 orchestras. Pretty much all classical music in those days, but we still owe a lot to her in opening our ears, broadening our horizons, etc. Guess we were mainly middle class (whatever that means), and you had to pay for instrumental lessons, and buy your own instrument after a trial period of hiring one.
One interesting observation was that, in the senior orchestra at any rate, there were far more pupils who were doing the science subjects, than from those pursuing languages and "the arts" - maybe a bit of light relief from all that physics and chemistry?
Folk music was for spare time, definitely out of school!

When my kids (now in their 30s) were at school, they also got a lot of music, with visiting peripatetic teachers of, e.g. violin, woodwind, brass, and all these lessons were free, albeit in groups rather than individual. Also had the choirs and orchestras and a jazz band. Music choices straying into musical theatre and pop, but still no folk! Middle class again. Instruments again had to be bought: over £200 each for a clarinet and trumpet, which may have excluded those not able to afford such luxuries.

Politics irrelevant to all I've just said.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Klaus Middel
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 05:35 AM

ah, come on: we all know we are doing just to disseize the working class of their fun....(devilish laughter:) har har har


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Stanron
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 11:09 AM

Brass bands, Morris dancing, the Beatles for heavens sake. None of those were middle class, at least not originally. Thesis blown.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 12:42 PM

It makes a lot of people uncomfortable to be the object of an accurate sociological generalization. Hence some of the stupidly irrelevant defensive responses here. (This work comes out of the sociological tradition started by Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu would really annoy some of the knee-jerkers up there).

My experience was a bit like Tattie Bogle's. The school I went to was streamed and somewhat selective; in the UK it might have been labelled as a "grammar school". It was also well funded. The music department wasn't quite up to the standard TB describes, but we did have an orchestra and a pipe band, and I got to play my flute as part of the pit band for a school play as well. The general educational resources I had access to made it a lot easier to participate actively in cultural events: we had books on classical mythology at home and in the school library so I could recognize references to them. My father was an architect, so though I never got into graphic art, I knew what the tools and materials were, and what would be involved in learning things like perspective. And in New Zealand, having a piano in the house was much more common than it's ever been in the UK; we didn't, but a lot of my friends' families did. With access at home to Meccano, drawing implements and power tools, I wasn't intimidated by the idea of designing and constructing something (as almost all British people my age and younger are). If somebody mentioned they wanted a Torjan horse for a play, I'd have immediately known both what it was and how you might go about making it with scrap timber.

All those bits add up. Working class people rarely get access as children to so many different aspects of the culture around them. There are always autodidacts around, but they tend to specialize more than people who've been provided with a good general education by their social environment.

One piece of participant culture which I think has been thoroughly levelled: photography and video. When I was growing up, photography needed a fair bit of scientific knowledge to do properly, access to anything that could do moving images and sound was so expensive as to almost entirely the preserve of pros, and disseminating either on a global scale was unthinkable for a hobbyist. Mobile phones, photo sites and YouTube have changed all that. If anything my background has been a hindrance for the modern world; I still tend to act as if taking a photo or video and sharing it is a big deal.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 01:12 PM

i play fake music, co i am a man refainment and good taste.....

https://soundcloud.com/denise_whittle/big-red-sausage


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 08:35 PM

"And in New Zealand, having a piano in the house was much more common than it's ever been in the UK". Go back a couple of generations and I'm not at all sure that was true.

Most people playing folk music I suspect have always been, and still are, autodidacts, in tye sense they didn't have formal training, but picked it up from other people. Like a kind of infection.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 15 - 03:46 AM

True. But I do keep my harmonicas sterilised.


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Subject: RE: why middle class people play music
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 21 Sep 15 - 06:59 AM

I `ad them John Cleese and the Two Ronnies in my cab some time ago. I could `ear `em going on about this class system in the world so I earwigged to see what they were saying.
Cleese said, "I am a successful commodity broker, I was at Eton, and I`m very well off. I consider myself upper class, I look down on you two and I play the grand piano."
The big Ronnie said, looking at Cleese, "I am a bank clerk on £30,000, out of Grammar School, and I consider myself middle class. I look up to you".
Then looking at the little Ronnie said," But I look down on you and I play melodeon."
The little Ronnie said, looking up at both of them, "I play the
kazoo!!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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