I’ve got something I’ve got to get off my back, partly cause I feel powerless to do anything about it. What would you tell a kid (teenager, really) who’s struggling in basically an emotionally abusive musical relationship with her group? The only reason she’s staying in the group is that the group does not let students have any real connection to Irish music outside of it except for private fiddle lessons. What she’s been taught in the group for years is that there is no good Irish music elsewhere and that tunes are not worthwhile on their own, since it’s really all about arrangements. Because of how she’s been taught, she’s been deprived of finding any joy in Irish music outside of her tightly closed circle.
All the kids there have been taught that way, but this particular person is particularly dissatisfied and wanting out primarily because she is at the bottom of the social ladder since she’s not all about partying. Therefore she gets picked on more often and never gets any recognition for anything or any solos although she is clearly the best fiddler. Those towards the top of the hierarchy typically never have any desire to leave, believing everything else is crap, so buying into the ideas they’ve been given doesn’t hurt so much. But I just really think it stinks to teach people in such a way that they think everything else is inherently inferior to being in a particular band and therefore keep them from enjoying learning and playing tunes, playing sessions, enjoying Irish music recordings, and generally having the ability to enjoy the outside world.
This is the best argument I can think of for why students should be exposed to trad and learn to appreciate it first before trying to take off into space with it. The music may always survive people’s attempts at innovation, but there can be consequences for the people involved, particularly when they are impressionable kids longing to belong to something and be special.
I hope this makes some sense….I’m trying not to be too specific it’s not so wise to trash people in a public forum…Advice?