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Jim Tavegia
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Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Music Educators and Music Systems

I read with great interest Mr. Marks' col in "Oct" concerning Music Educators music systems and why high end systems have not made inroads into this market. This has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my 58 years involved in the audio hobby.

All of my three grown children were involved in music throughout school. My youngest grown son, Jon, is a proficient drummer having take his last year and 1/2 from Rick Rocapriori a Berklee graduate, who told my son, "there is little more I can teach you, you just need to get out and play." In his final year of HS Jon was hurt, not realizing this was pretty high praise form one as talented and educated as Rick. He finally realized it WAS a compliment.

Our daughter, Erin, was quite a singer and actress having the leads in many school productions for drama and musical performance and still performs in local community theater when her job as Asst. Manager for Best Buy does not get in the way. See where I am going?

My oldest Son, Scott, was a store manager for Tweeter in Boston, Connecticut, and moved to Baltimore with them and is now a Berry manager of Magnolia HiFi (Best Buy High End) in Baltimore. He is as much a gear head about this equipment as I am. He has been in this business for over 15 years.

I would have to think that them growing up in this high end playback equipment home(s) of ours did directly influence that music and making it is a valuable and personally rewarding experience. When you perform music, the music touches you in a way that just pushing "play" cannot do, ever. It is a total mental and physical process that is quite rewarding.

Our youngest son, Nick (10), is now taking trumpet lessons and I hope he sticks with it. At least I got him to pick and instrument that easier to carry than a full drum kit or a Tuba.

In all of my years of knowing numerous music educators I have never known one who had a audio system worth a flip. Most of the accomplished pianists I've know who taught had some "beater" upright that was hardly in tune. I was a terrible piano player, but had an inexpensive Grand in our home. This was THEIR life. For me it as a passing fancy yet I was the one who laid down a modest amount of the green?

They would come to the house for parties and truly enjoy playing my piano and hearing music on a great system. Well, alright, a decent system. I do not nor will I ever have anything close to JA's he-man rig. I am now listening to to Vladimir Horowitz at the Met on my Rega P3. None of the teachers I knew had anything but a $100 Technics TT. If it was a cassette it was nothing more than a botom model and the grand I dropped for my old Yamaha R9 in the '70s was "too rich for their blood". They could have bought the comparable NAD seperates I had for a second system, even the NAD 20 watt integrated would have been a move in the right direction. None to be found. They enjoyed my system, but the sound of it made no emotional connection to them, to make them want even part of the experience for themselves in their homes. Go figure.

Our Minister of Music has no music system in his expensive home. He is compensated well by our church of over 1,000. We have been in our new $5 mil+ sanctuary for over 2 years that seats over 1100 in the main Sanctuary. We spent over $100K for the sound system, but what we bought will have to wait for another rant.

In the choir practice room of the old church I installed a great system of a Unison Unico integrated amp and a $1K Audio Analogue CD player with a set of Triangle Comete's from an industry accomodation when I was in the business. They were using a large boom box for practicing along with "trax" they used often on Sunday services. It was near impossible for anyone to pick out their harmony part from a deplorable sounding boom box. I got the sound committee to ante up so that when we moved into the new practice room the choir could actually improve their performance. Once it was installed they were thrilled and none of the over 50+ members had ever heard anything like it. We have a Steinway B in the new Sanctuary and hardly practicing with a boom box seemed fitting to me.

Our Music Minister has old LP jackets around his home for decoration and yet he owns no TT and no audio system. He was given a gift of a IPod yet had no clue how to get music into it. In his office yet another boom box.

When the move was made to the new practice room I was shocked to find the Unico was taken to the new practice facility, but the $1K Audio Analogue Cd player was left in the old choir room (now the children's choir room) fed into a $125 stereo receiver. <This is where your hand goes to your forehead and you just start shaking your head.>

I rushed home and took an spare $49 DVD I had in Nick's rec room and rushed back to the church and replaced it where the AA CD player had been. I took it into the Music Miniser's office and recommend that he either get a inexpensive pair of speakers for the old choir room and bring the Triangle Cometes into his office and at least buy a Jolida 1701 ($500) and a have a decent office system for him to preview new possible works for the choir to perform. It has been a year and a half and it still sits in his office on the floor. THE CHURCH WOULD BUY IT IF ONLY HE WOULD ASK.

Some times you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink is what I see from Music Educators in my life time. Trying to get music educators into decent audio equipment is like trying to convert someone into your religious preference. You might think you would be preaching to the "choir", but you are not really doing that at all.

High end or even mid-fi audio is a totally different preocupation, maybe closer to a religious experience than we think. What we think should be obvious to musicians, and talented ones at that, turns out to be totally lost on them. I have since given up the fight. I am convinced it is not about the money, they just totally miss the enjoyment and connecting of a high end music playback experience. It has never been what it is...it is what it does. I have given up on them.

Sorry for the length, but Mr. Marks touched a chord. LOL

Jim Tavegia
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