I grew up a musical snob. Probably because I was surrounded by it. It was a substantial part of the classical musical culture.
There are a few prevailing themes that are woven into the culture. a) Other musical styles are inferior b) classical musicians are more skilled c) The path to becoming a true musician involves learning classical music and technique.
For many years I assumed that it was an elitist attitude that only existed in this unique, sub-culture of music.
As I started digging into other styles of music and spending more time in other musical cultures, I began to discover the same elitist attitudes existing in Bluegrass, Jazz, Irish and other styles.
Sometimes the snobbery exists towards differentiating the group from others.
Other times the snobbery exists towards members of the same group in an effort to establish hierarchy.
Then I started seeing it in other areas of my life. Elitists, purists and snobs are everywhere! Even in sports I enjoy like biking, backpacking and running.
I’m beginning to realize that it is not the music or the sport that creates elitism and snobbery, It is simply people being people.
I have come to accept that whenever I play music for any audience, there will be a person or small number of people that will judge what I play as not sufficiently true to the style.
One of the blessings of age is increased confidence. I have become less and less interested in the opinions of that small group.
And though I suspect my students will simply age into confidence, I still tell them to prepare to be told that their tone wasn’t sufficiently classical, their bowing not sufficiently old-time, their ornaments not sufficiently irish. And when they step outside to have fun, that their pedaling cadence is too slow, their stride too long and their gear too heavy.