Paved with Good Intentions

Fellow blogger Drew McManus adds some apt cautionary points to my musings on granting degrees in music criticism:

One of my overriding thoughts while reading the series of posts has been “why is it that a good share of music critics have no serious musical training?” I know that’s a topic worthy of a large amount of debate, but I wonder that if too many schools eventually start offering degrees in music criticism then aren’t they going to start producing more and more individuals that have no direct experience with the art they are creating?

Granted, academically verified music criticism is at such an infant stage most people probably don’t think about those long term evolutionary issues, but it does occur to me. I compare it to how arts administration degree programs have developed. The more AA programs expand, the more they develop managers that have to have absolutely zero experience as an artist or even a direct understanding of art. At the initial stages of these programs, that thought was abhorrent, but a mere decade later it’s an accepted fact.

It never takes long for mediocrity to sink its evil claws into a good idea.

Well, thousands of years of civilization have found no cure to ameliorate that last fact. A graduate program in criticism could require a degree in performance or composition as a prerequisite. Maybe I just want to play a bunch of budding music critics some repertoire they’ll never hear in the usual concert halls.