Robin Hanson proceeds with "Who Likes Band Music?"
Smiling politely through yet another performance by my son's school
band tonight, I wondered: why do school bands play music so different
from what the kids, or even their parents, choose in their free time?
Music at parties, movies, etc. is pretty different. The novels kids
read in English class differ from the novels they or their parents read
in their free time, but most people accept that school novels are
deeper, subtler, etc., so that kids learn more by studying them. But
do most people really accept a similar claim about band music? What
Maybe the point of band music is that many of the instruments are relatively easy to play, or at least they are easy to play poorly. The noise drowns out the children who cannot play much at all. More children playing recruits more parental support and also more support from administrators, who like to point to participation. What numbers would you get if the students had to learn Hindemuth's sonatas for solo viola? Yes, conformity and discipline have some social value but still this does not look like a Pareto optimum to me either.