From the Director's Desk

Music-Making in America
Recent Gallup Poll Contradicts Conventional Wisdom


It has in recent years or decades, for that matter been fashionable in some circles to bemoan the state of musical activity in this country. Indeed, many if not most professional musicians, music educators, and music merchants would have us believe that the sky is indeed falling on the musical world and that music-making, as we have come to know and love it in the past, is rapidly going to hell in a handbasket, due to variety of inauspicious reasons, such as governmental and community indifference, lack of adequate funding, planning, and grass roots support.

Quite frankly, we at Antique Sound Workshop have never subscribed to this "Chicken Little" scenario of the musical world. While our customer base may well not be typical of the American populace as a whole, our experience of more than thirty years in the music business, together with our experience as and ongoing daily communications with professional musicians and music educators, would seem to indicate that the current state of affairs in the musical world is in point of fact far healthier than the doomsayers would have us believe.

It was therefore not at all a surprise to us that a recent Gallup poll supported by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), an organization of which ASW has proudly been a member for many years, has unearthed some interesting statistics which, if nothing else, may well serve to contradict some of the widely-held negative beliefs about the current state of music-making in the United States. Herewith are a few interesting facts and figures from the results of this poll:

First, it would seem that we Americans are apparently making more music, on the whole, than any other nationality:

While admittedly the above statistics may be open to some interpretation, particularly in matters of cause and effect, the numbers alone are indisputable evidence that music-making is an enjoyable activity for a significant number of Americans.

Furthermore, the polled attitudes and opinions of Americans in regard to making music turned up some interesting information:

The current, widely-held popular belief that "Mozart makes you smart" has recently attracted critical commentary from some quarters. Even the most ardent advocates of this pop psych truism will, in their more honest moments, have to admit that music is no universal panacea for stupidity. Nevertheless, there is apparently still a good deal of validity in the belief that music participation can and does have some beneficial impact upon other types of learning and skill development.

In regard to children and teens, the most recent research, as published by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), of which Antique Sound Workshop has been a proud member for decades, indicates that:

Furthermore, professional educators are in wide agreement that musical activity produces any number of tangible benefits to students involved in school music programs:

The benefits of music-making are not limited just to school-age youngsters. In regard to middle-aged adults and seniors:

We suspect that the above-cited Gallup Poll facts and figures will come as no great surprise to customers of Antique Sound Workshop. Indeed, our presentation of them here may well be a classic case of preaching to the choir (or the recorder consort). However, it is probably well for those of us in the presumably insular niche of early music performance to realize that what we have chosen to do, either as a hobby, a profession, or a business enterprise, is not so unusual, esoteric, or isolated as some of us might be led to believe. In point of fact and figure, we are simply a part, albeit a very special and rapidly growing one, of the overall musical scene in the United States, one that is a good deal larger, healthier, and more widespread and robust than some of us had heretofore ever imagined.


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