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Milking The Mature Of Money


Guest drd
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Maybe it's simply a matter of getting through one's middle years, but I seem to observe an increasingly blatant call from all sorts of bodies - and musical ones are very much to the fore in this - for our money in subscriptions and donations of various kinds in order to spend it on schemes for young this and young that.

 

Often musical competitions, schemes, etc., have upper age limits - even where the field of endeavour in question is one which requires experience and a maturity of musical understanding.

 

This is not to say that young practitioners cannot themselves possess that experience and understanding, though the proportion of those who do probably rises with age, and certainly not to say that young practitioners do not need a certain amount of encouragement.

 

What does seem to be happening is that many members' organisations appear to be taking subscriptions, gift aid, donations, etc., with little in return, except the vicarious 'pleasure' of seeing the monies spent increasingly on schemes for 'the young'.

 

I have seen apparently 'open' schemes having a requirement for references from a college teacher in order to qualify for entry (I know that many of us continue formal studies long after full-time study, and so this is not entirely tied to age, so the proportionality issue applies again). Is not this also a bias towards youth rather than a 'level playing field' in regard to age?

 

As I said at the outset, perhaps this 'observation' is merely a form of tunnel vision increasing as one moves through life oneself!

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Wow! And I thought I was a grumpy old man!! Actually, this is a very interesting post, as I have spent the morning thinking about my will, which certainly will involve some funds going towards the young.

 

My first instinct was that it was a no-brainer: that the young were the most appropriate recipients of funds for training, in the same sense that the hungry are the most appropriate recipients for food aid and the sick for medical aid. Wasn't drd's indignation comparable to that of a young person who complains that the Organists' Benevolent Fund primarily benefits the elderly?

 

On further reflection, it isn't that clear cut. People who aren't sick don't benefit at all from medical care, whereas it is not at all clear that the middle aged don't benefit from education.

 

I suspect there is a view that the middle aged don't benefit as much from education as the young do - or perhaps that humanity in general don't benefit as much. Perhaps it is more like food aid: a well fed person would benefit to some extent from food aid, but not as much as someone on the verge of starvation.

 

So, why would money spent on training the young be better spent than on the middle-aged or elderly? Firstly, the young have a longer life in front of them, thus there is likely to be a better return on the investment; they simply have more time to give back to society. Secondly, the young tend to have no capital or income of their own to speak of, so are less able, in general, to fund their own development. Thirdly, they have the time to develop their skills, whereas adults often don't. And fourthly, it is generally considered that younger people learn faster, so you get more progress for a given amount of funding. These are, of course, sweeping generalisations.

 

Presumably the requirement for references is to ensure that the person applying is capable of benefiting from the activity being supported - i.e. giving someone at grade 3 a grant related to to studying for FRCO would be money down the drain. (Is there any point in giving anyone a grant related to .... no, don't go there!).

 

What about age limits on music competitions? Isn't this actually about levelling the playing field for the youngsters? You won't get many 16 and 17 year olds to enter competitions if half the competitors turn out to be internationally famous organists. It's like organising a schools' football league: you need separate competitions for different age groups, because the first form team wouldn't stand a chance against one from the sixth form.

 

Finally, I am not sure what is meant by the mention of getting "little in return" for charitable giving. The whole point of charitable giving is that you don't get the money back and the pleasure is necessarily vicarious. In fact, it isn't even legal for the donors to gain any benefit from their own gift-aided donations, and an organisation setting up a gift aid scheme has to assure the her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on this score.

 

Nick - trying hard not to be dogmatic, but probably failing miserably

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