Imagine a Clockwork Orange-type education system, where students who step out of line are subjected not to detention, but to the music of Bach, Verdi and others on a constant loop. Rather than being taught to appreciate the great artists from our past, students are taught that classical music is a punishment rather than a pleasurable experience. What better way to make somebody hate something for life than to punish them with it as a youngster?
Such an environment exists today, unfortunately. A school in Derby is using the music of Bach and Verdi, and the poetry of William Blake, to punish unruly students. To their credit, they have seen results, but at what cost? Is this an example of just how little we value the creative aspects of our culture today? Rather than study these artists in a context that would help students derive some meaning from their accomplishments, these artists are relegated to being the stimulus in some Pavlovian punishment loop.
The arts are a lot like eating spinach—if you’re forced to do it as a child, you won’t enjoy it as an adult.