The formal education system is designed to mould and produce certain types of workers, but there are many things that folks can only learn through observing and digesting processes in a personal way. For quite a few years now, there have been textbook approaches to developing careers in the show business side of the performing arts which are taught in formal institutions to hopeful learners. This has created a neat career path as teachers, for many who didn’t hit the jackpot in the record business. Is it possible to become Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Bob Marley or even Siouxsie Sioux through writing essays, reading textbooks or aiming to impress TV impresarios such as Simon Cowell? Somehow, I don’t think so.
On the other hand, there are creative musicians who have managed to sustain long careers, without ever becoming flavour of the month in the media. These artists are willing to accept the moments of drudgery as well as those for basking in the limelight.
Are young hopefuls in pop music courses taught about the qualities that will endure in creative work? Or do the courses encourage them to “obey the breeze” and be on the lookout for each new trend that emerges?
The business as a whole thrives on chewing on the dreams of kids and eventually spitting them out. Are students on performing arts courses taught about this?
For many years, the Arts Council and many other funders chose to invest a large portion of available resources in the emerging artists sector. Recently, thanks to sensible managerial thinking, things seem to be changing. There should always be support available to artists who are on the path for the long haul.