Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Funding in Australia .

Imagine an Australia where scientists teaching selected "important" scientific historical texts received the lions share of the funding .

Lets say the works of "freud" , " einstein " , "euclid " , " plato " and a few others where deemed worthy of publication and discussion . New research was given little emphasis . Universities mostly taught the classics and the computer science department made do with a couple of Atari computers in the basement .

Similarly very little television or film could be given support , but the works of "shakespeare" and a few other playwrights had large companies with large numbers of administrative personell funding them .

In this imaginary world the CSIRO would be operating on a shoestring budget at the back of a pub . Collecting tips , competing with poker machines for revenue . The Garvan institute would receive little financial support and would be housed in a disused factory in Tempe . The staff at the Garvan would have to clean the building themselves and take out the trash after completing their research .

For a bar or club to be given a license to serve alcohol or have poker machines they would have to serve " Classic English food " . Any other restaurant could only sell coca cola . Sitting on Bennelong point where the Opera house now stands there would be a giant RSL club with Shakespeare playing 24/7 , selling only meat pies and beer . It would be the only place in town with poker machines . Imagine Government funded Television stations played only "classic" European TV shows like Dr Who or Minder ( perhaps the Paul Hogan show for Australian content ) . New shows where had one hour on the weekends and where only played after 2am … American crap like Tyra Banks was on all the other stations . Imagine if Austrade only supported car companies building and exporting "classic model " cars like Ford Falcon or Holden Sandman Ute .

This is my analogy to how music performance and education is funded Australia .

These 2 documents give a fair example of funding levels , and what Australian's pay for outside of the Opera Houses …

I believe if it was science , food , plays , TV or any other endeavor it would be seen to be an absurd situation .

Those of you reading this would think that I might want our musical cultural institutions to be torn down . Nothing could be further from the truth . I am a strong supporter of the music of Bach , Brahms etc etc and I think it is important that this history be preserved in universities , taught , studied , and funded to perform . I believe that the performance of these works should be funded within Universities . As well as funding the performance of "classic" musical texts in Universities , money should be provided in the same institutions for the performance of "classic" Australian musical works by say Peter Sculthorpe , Mike Nock , Graeme Bell , Miriam Hyde etc … Australian musical history is still young relatively speaking but this will change .

Within Universities and outside a great deal more support should be given by the government for newly written music , and for the preservation of our own cultural history . Places like the National Film and Sound archive should be making our history available to Australians and the world for a reasonable price not locking it up in a basement somewhere .

Venues should be being built , with accommodation in them for touring artists , which have the best audio and visual recording/broadcast facilities .

These could be used to allow Australian musicians and composers to present both new and old music to Australia and the world . Access to these venues would be on the basis of firstly that someone's tax return proves them to be a musician . If the government doesn't have the resources to build enough venues to provide for it's musicians (across all genres) then time should be allotted based on a method of peer review and popularity . I would be happy for musicians to perform a few "covers" in this venue from time to time . It would be good for business , and Australia's elite musicians should be able to showcase their abilities playing the standard repertoire . My opinion is that this activity should be viewed similarly to the "Australian Institute of Sport" which is really seen as a learning institution .

At the moment the majority of musicians in Australia presenting new music of any genre do so at considerable financial risk often loosing money for the privilege of presenting their works . There are exceptions of course like Silverchair and Missy Higgins but these are the very few .

I believe if the music industry could be supported in a more sensible manner it could generate much more money for local musicians and create jobs around it .

It would also be of great pride to Australian's if our best and brightest musicians from all genre's could be marketed to the world .

It would help our exports and Australian image .

I imagine a great deal of terrific new Australian music written and performed by Australia's greatest musicians from every genre .

I imagine works written by Joseph Tawadros , Jim Moginie , Paul Grabowsky , Mike Nock , Ross Edwards and host of other talented composers being performed by our best symphony orchestra , augmented by a jazz big band of brilliant improvisors and Australia's best rock and funk session musicians … The night might start with a "repertoire" piece followed by some music celebrating to Australia's rich musical history culminating in the latest new Australian music . It would be happening every night and telecast on the internet to the world . Imagine what that would do for Australian music and its place in the world ..

Surely that is a better world than " lets play the great oldies one more time " …..