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Mendelssohn Piano Trios
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Itzhak Perlman News

16 year old Journalist Interviews Itzhak Perlman

Recently Kriyana Reddy, an 11th-grader at International Baccalaureate school interviewed Itzhak Perlman for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. Below is Kriyana’s article, “A Music Career is a Passionate Choice”:

While many of today’s teens look to the music industry as a source of entertainment and gossip, few are able to “make it big” and hold onto success; to hold stable careers. Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, for instance, had their fair share of fame. Now, they are known for their hairstyles, fashion choices, and relationship statuses, not for their music.

The new societal emphasis on STEM is also sidelining the possibility of stability in a music career. According to an article published in 2013 in The Atlantic, humanities and arts enrollment has decreased more than 11 percent in the last 40 years. Also, music degrees are perceived as impractical because of the recent decline of music programs in primary and secondary education. In fact, a study published by U.S. News and World Report states that funding for arts and music has been cut in 80 percent of U.S. school districts since 2008.

The statistics seem startling, but students should not be discouraged from pursuing music careers.

Teens, we must also recognize that pop and rap are not the only genres of music worth exploring. Classical music, for instance, is being redefined by contemporary styles and cultural fusions. It has become a lot more interesting than just lullabies and odes. To learn more, I spoke with Itzhak Perlman, world-renowned violinist and 2003 Kennedy Center honoree.

“The arts are not fluff. They are not on the political front burner … we must recognize that without them, we are a poor society,” he remarked. Perlman and his wife, Toby, established the Perlman Music Program (PMP) 21 years ago. The program provides students with intensive classical music education, summer camps, residencies, workshops and more. Perlman’s work with youth has allowed him to compare playing music to “speaking English in different accents.”

Young classical musicians are “adapting … playing in ways that were unimaginable 50 years ago.” In this sense, the genre is becoming just as innovative as Top 40 and dubstep.

Perlman encourages students to pursue music careers for several reasons. “Know where your passions lie, and just go with it … be a teacher and a learner … and the level of playing is increasing these days, so your potential to be great is higher,” he explained.

Teens, don’t be afraid to pursue your passions. Consider music as a valid career.

“A Music Career is a Passionate Choice” by Kriyana Reddy reprinted from the Ledger READ MORE: http://www.theledger.com/article/20150602/COLUMNISTS0427/150609894/0/search