Sex, Drugs and Alcohol!

Philippe Thanh 03/06/2016
For some time now, we have been wondering what fly had stung the municipal managers of the department of culture of the City of Paris that they would want, at all costs, to replace individual music lessons with group classes... (See the special investigation on collective practice, published in this issue.)
The measure was first applied to municipal animation centres before returning to threaten our conservatories. Was it just to save money (a well-known song and dance) or cast off the "elitism" of classical musicians (another well-known song and dance) to create so-called "social class mixing"?

In publishing a recent report, dated June 2015, the General Inspectorate of the City of Paris paints an entirely different picture. Entitled "Mission for the prevention, reporting and risk reduction of sexual offenses against minors by officers of the city and the department", this 80-page document (whose author is anonymous and whose list of consultants remains unpublished) points out likely places and circumstances presenting such risks, from municipal swimming pools to the use of smartphones. Conservatories figure in prominent position.

Let us the say this loud and clear: everyone must agree with a community taking measures against such grievous abuses. Unfortunately, this report casts discredit on all teachers.

"Individual lessons in conservatories carry a risk of serious incidents, in particular because of the close, seductive, long-term teacher/student relationship, and in musical context marked by the commoditization of romantic and sexual relationships between teacher and student, particularly with reference to the relations maintained by famous musicians... [Here the paper version of this report shamelessly makes reference to a renowned performer and her teacher. This reference was recently removed from the online version on the website of the City of Paris]. The mission recommends limiting individual lessons in order to systematically focus on group courses". And from the same barrel, there is even a paragraph judging that musical workshops are conducive to "nightlife in the presence of drugs and alcohol."

In other words, our teachers are suspected of being potential criminals - of not teaching in order to transmit their passion for music, but rather to satisfy other passions. Should any such cases be proven, they should be treated - individually - by the justice system, but in no way what-so-ever allowing this to discredit the entire teaching faculty. The reactions of our music teachers have been numerous, especially on social networks, shocked and appalled by this mass execution that will inevitably alienate some parents towards them.

And this might well be the mechanism by which individual music lessons are finally eliminated.

As one teacher said, with as much force as acuity, these people "are capable of destroying the Mona Lisa just to crush a spider on it."

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