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School Music Programs
Recently it has come to my attention that most school music programs require the students to use a Classical guitar to learn on. I have a major problem with that.
1. School music programs are only in place because it is a proven fact that children who play an instrument are smarter, more articulate, and it helps to develop their coordination and general attitude. It is supposed to give them a boost of self esteem and make them enjoy school. In other words it's supposed to be fun. (Fun in school, now that's a great idea)
2. Some of the larger corporate guitar companies, under the guise of caring about our school children, have spent lots of dollars to hoodwink the school boards into thinking that they can and should buy into one of their packaged programs. This is where the company sells them the guitar, the strap, stands, cases, strings, picks, music books, and even supplies videos for any lazy teachers that don't want to actually teach. I have been told there is a training program that teaches a non-musician how to teach guitar in 3 days. Theoretically, eventually these people will be the ones responsible for teaching the programs. EEEEEEE EEEEkkkkkkkkk!!!!
3. I have seen some of these guitar shaped objects and as I suspected they were cheap imported guitars that would barely last 2 years. The local schools in Las Vegas start with 30 guitars and are allowed to buy 10 more guitars a year to replace the ones that fall apart. (Talk about your planned obsolescence.)
4, Las Vegas is considered to be one of the most progressive cities in the USA when it comes to music programs. At first I was happy to hear that. When I became intimately involved with supplying guitars to the schools I was very disappointed to see that 85% of the time there was some 73 year old stodgy Music Teacher who grew up on Benny Goodman and thinks modern music is Bobby Darin or The Monkees.
5, It amazes me that these people just don't get it !!!! They want to force feed these young minds Classical guitar and most of these totally uninformed individuals are not even guitar players. They don't know the difference between a Folk, Classical, Nylon String or Electric Guitar. I spoke with a woman on the Las Vegas school board, she seemed like she had a chip on her shoulder against Popular Music, Country Music & Rock n' Roll, I treaded very carefully and I used names like the Beatles and the Beachboys to see if she was open to any of that. She verbally degraded me on the phone, she actually tried to make me feel like a kid in school who had done something wrong. With people like this in charge it's no wonder the kids can't identify with and leave school and in many cases throw away their lives.
For the last 10 years, I have been scratching my head about where some of these large guitar companies are making all their money. In my end of the business, these larger companies are looked on with disfavor by most real musicians. Except of course the paid shills who make as much as $100,000.00 yearly to tout some crappy name brand. I suspected that they were doing it by selling to Europe and Asia. Over there the musicians are running about 7 years behind the USA. In Germany, a Gibson or a PRS are still considered to be the top of the line guitars.
Ed Roman strongly recommends that the music programs in our schools be overseen by not just younger people but by people who are "with it" .. It's almost too easy, Let the kids decide for themselves what they want to learn.