<Chapter 2> Activities of Amateur Orchestra and Cultural Activities (2)

“We make tiny efforts to help young people understand the truth of life that is not written in philosophy books, but in classical music works.”

I believe it is our lifework to find the origin of cultural activities, being purely selfless and being able to evaluate ourselves objectively (without being masochistic).

People involved in the professional orchestras are able to embrace their musical talent, given compliments by putting their heart and soul to the music itself, or even be intoxicated by their own music. However, amateurs who simply love music and orchestra must always confront his/her decent skills, and therefore must philosophize or analyze their involvement with music.

In this era where it is difficult to understand each other within a family, how does orchestra with people from wide range of ages come together? I feel there lies a proof that existence of music is not merely for art itself.
(November 1986)

If music activities were merely a place of self-exposure for young people, the music itself would be limited to expressing emotions and affections. Regardless of their talents, young people have a sense of history and worldview according to their age, but these are not rationally organized; it is usually tossed around like pieces of unfinished jigsaw puzzles. Young people develop their childhood sensibilities through music industry and the flood of music information and understand music as if they wear jeans. However, the most essential inner self will not grow as their body grows.

I do not intend to say that classical music takes precedence over other genres; however, I must say a word to leaving emotionally free to do whatever they want to. I admit that we make tiny efforts to help young people understand the truth of life that is not written in philosophy books, but in classical music works.
(March 1990)

Gathering children and playing together is not a cultural activity. A broad sense of “curriculum” is necessary when trying to face young people educationally. Unlike ordinary orchestras, it is not enough for junior orchestras to enjoy the music; it must aim for cultivation of aesthetic sensitivity and self-enlightenment in a developmental stage. Either young or adult, inspiration does not come from immature skills, especially in the field of music. The frequently seen vicious spiral in junior orchestras is to put focus on enjoyment and making friends rather than improving musical techniques. It is essential for orchestras to work with an aim and to have original curriculum that grasp situation of the region and members of the orchestra.

Leaders shall expand their antenna to the max of their own ability, from music techniques, to win young people’s hearts, to finance of the orchestra, and to hire people for its management; a leader must have a “Core Curriculum” (to understand the general ideas by specific area or problem as core). This is because situation in each orchestra differs just like people’s faces and they shall be conscious about the characteristic of the orchestra to prevent lacking the reason for existence. In this case, it is necessary to understand the “core” as activity philosophy or foundation, more specifically customs and disposition that are of the orchestra. Without the “core,” the organization will not have any ability to get people together nor get ahold of young people who tend to be self-centered. Junior orchestra becomes powerful when the leader confronts weakness of the orchestra and be aware of the faults.
(March 1990)

I would like to propose. Is there an identity of amateur orchestra that suit the new era today? Does identity exist in the first place for music of amateur who are idleness and incapable? I think now is the time to seriously reflect on ourselves and conduct self-analysis.

If there is no severe difference between worst professional and best amateur, this may be an insight that the era of amateurs aiming to become professionals with agony have ended. Indeed, the level or the authority of professionals has not changed. If you are musically talented amateur, you have deep respect and trust towards professionals; it is not about trivial competitive consciousness between a professional and an amateur, but a shift from “a role model” to “companion.”

Furthermore, I would like to say that we are entering the era of “competitiveness” that naive amateurs who treat professionals with contempt are decreasing these days; amateurs are not siding with professionals just because they are professionals, but more willing to learn techniques and their sense of musicality.
We must now be aware that it is inevitable to have a philosophy. Amateur orchestras especially in local areas shall seek to become “the new face of their city.”

I believe the process of making music is the most interesting part of amateur orchestra. I believe all amateur orchestras should seek for their original sound, not feeling burden to try different approaches nor to be the center of attention. Music and orchestra should be “a proper noun” and not “a common noun.” It is essential to create a strong base by solving problem on lack of chairperson and directors and excluding musical snobs especially seen in local cities.
(July 1980)