Gregory Charles Royal: Jazz in 'Grave' Danger
The MTV/Hip Hop Generation, which is indoctrinated in electronic and non-melodious music, has placed classical music and jazz in “grave” danger, according to trombonist Gregory Charles Royal, an alumnus of the Grammy Award winning Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Royal, artistic director of the American Youth Symphony (AYS) in Washington, DC says that the growth in Hip Hop and MTV has resulted in a 30- and-under generation with no appreciation of traditional music. In fact, Royal has written a play about the subject, which was a New York JVC Jazz Festival Special Event.
“If you consider that the vast amount of college graduates over the past few years don't even register in their consciousness the sound of a cello, clarinet, French horn or flute, how can you even begin to expect them to appreciate traditional forms of music, not to mention going out and actually purchasing a ticket?” says Royal, who has lectured on American music at colleges and universities.
Royal says that the lack of general music education in the schools and the misuse of technology that allows young artists to bypass musical skill have provided what he calls the “nail in the coffin.”
“The fact that the under-30 generation can call Rap records “songs, ” even though the vast majority of them have no melody, is a barometer of how far musical standards have fallen, ” says Royal, who holds a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from Howard University.
“We in the artistic community must make up lost ground for our abandonment and lack of guidance of this generation. We must partner with Hip Hop artists and labels to lobby them to utilize acoustic instruments. We must also persuade organizations interested in the preservation of traditional music, like the Knight Foundation, to offer grants to Hip Hop producers that choose to use real instruments in their music. We have to get acoustic sounds back in the marketplace, ” says Susan Veres, Executive Director of AYS.
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