Grrrr....

Hi, 

This post is written in a mixed mood of annoyance, irony, sadness and defiance. 

Three things have triggered this: 

1. I was booked to teach two 5-day jazz performance courses aimed at beginners - particularly people who are already classical players - for a well-established educational establishment. (I will not name them.) Yesterday these courses were both cancelled, as only one person had signed up so far. Fair enough if the course was weeks away, or even two months. The first course was not due to start for four months - July 11-15 and 18-22! Is it just me, or is that decision not a bit premature... 

Ironically, I had previously had an email conversation about the courses with a female cellist - who had started playing as an adult - asking if she, as a string player, was suitable for a jazz course. I replied very positively and she signed off her last message with - "Great! Thank you! I'll book myself on for a new musical challenge... so see you in the summer." What a brilliant attitude... 

2. This contrasts with someone else (again not named) who recently stated that as they were now XX years old (XX being less than the normal retirement age) that they couldn't cope with getting to know any new music at that age. The "old dogs, new tricks" argument. Well, as someone doing a PhD in my mid-50's (slow-learner?), that argument just doesn't wash with me. And all my artistic heroes developed and changed continuously throughout their careers - Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Picasso, Haydn, Paul Gascoigne, Debussy, Stravinsky...  

(NB: one of these isn't really my hero... but which one?) 

3. Then I realised that the "new" music in question - as the peak of contemporary, cutting edge, avant garde madness - was actually written about the time the person in question was about ten years old... If my cut-off point was when I was ten, I wouldn't be interested in anything created after 1969, and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to think that things have developed a bit in all genres of the arts since then...  

Not all of it is good, and just because it's new, that doesn't make it good, but it is "of my time", and I should at least be aware of it. When I stop trying to keep abreast of new developments - in everything - just dig a big hole and put me in it! 

So, in conclusion, if anyone needs a composing, arranging, workshop tutoring, conducting, bass playing, old git to "boldly go (grammar!) where no man (or woman - correct use of academic language) has gone before" I now just happen to be free for a couple of weeks in the Summer...  

Open to all offers. 

Cheers 

Ralf

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