While reading the Cover Story ``American Orchestras Shape Their Future,'' Nov. 22, I was dismayed that there was no discussion of the serious lack of support for arts education in American schools, especially in public schools.
Music, like all artistic, scientific, or academic disciplines, is best appreciated by those who have been exposed to and participated in its long-standing formal traditions. And unless arts education is given adequate attention in American educational plans, audiences will fail to mirror the actual diversity of our society, and will continue to decline as that diversity grows.
Educational programs or superficial appeals to diversity undertaken by orchestral institutions cannot possibly counteract the absence of a learning process during children's and young adults' formative years. Perhaps orchestras should focus their development energy on lobbying educators and elected officials to commit themselves to providing a quality education for every child. The ``classical'' music tradition contains some of the highest expressions of the human spirit. It is unfair to denigrate that tradition by inappropriate application of our current - and often justified - notions of plurality. Patrice Newman, New York
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