On a recent “American Idol” Harry Connick, Jr. lectured Jennifer Lopez about pentatonic scales. Lopez apparently did not know what one of those was. Are you surprised? Do you care? Mr. Connick does.
This argument reflects some of the things I have written about here over the years. You do not need to be (a) educated, (b) sophisticated, (c) talented or (d) any of those things, in order to be “successful”. Ms. Lopez is remarkably attractive and very very rich and packages herself beautifully. She is an excellent dancer and maybe can sing (who knows, since so much of what passes for singing these days is what comes out of the equipment) and certainly has a large “following”. Mr. Connick is a musician and whether or not he is brilliant I will leave to my jazz friends to decide, but it is clear that he has more musical information than the other two judges.
Humanity being what it is, conflicted and all, it’s always going to be so that those who are most qualified at anything do not automatically end up on top or in charge. It is so that people do things for all kinds of reasons other than those that are best, most practical or serve the most good for the most people. In fact, we are living in a time when finding anyone who thinks of what’s best for the most people most of the time is not only very rare but, even when it happens, fraught with angst.
I heard yesterday that people in the “conservative South” think that the snow which is unusual there is a government conspiracy and that it was put there by the government because the government is controlling the environment to threaten people’s safety. They think the snow was fake. Huh?? That we live in a time when this idea should be taken seriously is just plain pathetic. Still, it was on the network news. I guess it goes along with all the other stupidity these people embrace as “truth”.
Extrapolating this to singing, if you point out that it might be better to have singing lessons based on function and you point out that being musically literate might also be useful if you intend to have a professional career, there will be people who are OFFENDED by this suggestion. (aka, Ms. Lopez). What do you do with that? Laughter is giving it more dignity than it deserves. There will always be people who are so ignorant that pointing out their obvious lack of knowledge is an affront to their sense of their own importance. Imagine, learning about jazz theory as a singer is considered insulting! And this person is JUDGING other singers??????? That’s why I DO NOT WATCH these shows.
All there is to do is read this quote from a poem by Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I’m raging right alongside Mr. Connick. I’m raging.