Saturday, January 17, 2009
The festschrift piece is done. Looking at a couple of musical revivals--old-time Appalachian string band music, and New England contradance music--and the institutions these revivalist musicians and dancers created to sustain them, without external support and beyond merely getting together to make music and dance, I realized that they rely on the familiar, such as the school, the newsletter, the internet (not familiar to all) and the summer music camp to pass it along. That's not surprising, as these white collar folks are capable bureaucratic managers and these familiar institutions can be run by them without much difficulty and with the kind of cameraderie that keeps the community going, so long as there's enough money to keep them going. At the same time, they build in alternatives to middle-class schooling more in keeping with the traditional cultures as they have experienced them; for instance, musical instruction tends to be by ear and imitation, rather than the method book and note reading of childhood piano or violin lessons.