Calm down, please

I hate to keep slamming Musical America, but they’ve done it again — raised an alarm where no alarm was needed. One story today reads like this in their summary:

Venerable Instrument Plant Closing — Kids just don’t want those acoustic white elephants any more.

But when you follow the link to the original news item (from WNDU TV in South Bend, IN), things don’t look nearly so bad. Conn-Selmer — which makes wind instruments, and is one of the oldest businesses in Elkhart, IN — is laying off some of its workforce and closing one plant. But the reason turns out to be competition, not lack of demand. The story on WNDU’s website isn’t as clear as it might be, but apparently Conn-Selmer’s flutes, clarinets, and oboes are expensive. So, as one worker said, “when they saw instruments hitting the market and selling for just $100 to $200, they just couldn’t compete.”

Classical music has its troubles. But we need to be clear about what’s really happening. We need real information, not snappy conjectures.

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