Advantages of having a classical tradition include: not having to re-invent the wheel, providing us with a mark to attain, allowing us to relax and enjoy a quality with resonance and re-assurance, letting our emotions connect with and soar through the ages.

Where classics are turned into a cannon, or an elite, or a season of exclusion, and a reason to put others down, then those classics have lost confidence and are risking demise. If something is beautiful beyond doubt, why not let others learn to enjoy it?  And how do we pay for this?

Take music, for example. The music of nature: bird song, bee buzzing, the running of waves onto a beach, or the sighing of breeze through the trees; these are calming and beyond compare. The roar of a volcano, the crack of thunder inspire fear. Then men and women made instruments of sound and created “classical” music – qawaali, messiah and sitar – so that our souls reach out to something greater than ourselves, to give others a gift of imagination, to interpret life as being more than survival, reproduction and death. Music made by humans has transcended nature’s abstract chimes? Might we traverse the universe?

One of the intriguing schisms in music is how people attach themselves to a type of music and then disrespect the choice of others. The state, the elite, expect taxpayers to fund “classical” music, but the ordinary and poor people pay for their rock stars and rap artists. How can we find a way through this inequality and unfairness? How can we explain different viewpoints and allow the authenticity of diversity and our own ability to be creative? Yes, we need the classical tradition, to develop a breadth and depth to our love of music. But can we also celebrate and appreciate the depth and breadth of the talents of McCartney and Jayzee; and their entrepreneurial skill at creating music that does not require subsidy, indeed contributes hugely to culture and taxes?

The zealots of the idolatory of classical music have at least a quartet of turnkeys: snobbery and belittling and they get into positions of authority locking up and protecting their own position and deliberately keeping down emerging talent. These guys form the backbone of bureaucracies (a cross-fertilisation of type) and if they’re not managed effectively they soon start hampering, hindering, blocking, harassing, denigrating, denying and then covering their own tracks. Surely it is within our ken to find a way of releasing the creativity in each person and allowing us to make a contribution.

If classical traditions can educate and enthuse our community, while at the same time giving ordinary people opportunities to be creative, then the world of music and dance, or performance, of architecture and visual art can be part of each person’s life. We are already observers and a large percentage practitioners? And the creative impulse will, like the waves on a beach, wash over the destructive engines of war, allowing them to decompse back into earth, becoming a trace of history and a warning to future generations.

Those of us who love jazz, soul, rap and rock, when we have matured a bit, readily admit to an adoration of classical tradition. Who could fail to be transported by the playing of Ravi Shankar, the voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, or the piano of Grieg?

Then you realise that those who attach themselves to classical music, in opposition and imagined superiority to popular music, are still in the infancy of their love for music, still at the teat. Music is a way of defining their emerging character, racked by self-doubt and envy. Their viewpoint is as unfortunate as “the only music worthy of praise is by Meat Loaf.”

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