Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vocal Master Class Infiltration, Round Two

The first week that I attended/accompanied in vocal master class, I posted on facebook that I "felt like an undercover agent". This week, the second time, the feeling continued, but was also being rivaled by another feeling. I'm started to get irritated by the "don't step on anyone's toes" attitude. Sure, it's nice to be supportive of each other, but sometimes, you just need to come out and say, "That wasn't good enough." I'm not about to fling praise at anyone if I'm not legitimately impressed with them.

I mean, if I, as a clarinetist who happens to accompany vocalists, can tell that your diction is mushy, your diction is mushy. I can buy "you've improved at [this], but you can still improve [this]", but to award praise where it isn't deserved is, to me, such an American thing. No one wants to hurt anyone's feelings. I've always gotten the impression that European(and especially Asian) musicians are so much better because they don't mess around with false hype or settle for sub-par performances. (Do correct me if I'm wrong.) Here in the US, we just want everyone to feel good. I'm sure this rant could extend to many aspects of our society, namely, education and health, but I'll spare you that.

Does anyone have experience studying in both the US and abroad who would care to weigh in on the issue? I know the standards are not pitiful everywhere in the US, but here, they seem to be lacking.

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