Who appoints these people? People just like them…

The chief executive of the National Association for Music Education, Michael A. Butera, has lost his job for saying that ‘blacks and Latinos lack the keyboard skills needed for this field’ in his organisation. This is him.


And this is his instant successor, Michael Blakeslee.


He says: ‘In hindsight, well, gee, maybe our board should have appointed one of our very fine African-American educators or teachers. ‘All I can say is, I think I have some skill sets that will be helpful, and experiences that will be helpful… to move the needle toward a more diverse workforce in education.’

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  • He seems to have never heard of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Claudio Arrau, Bruno Gelber, Roberto Szidon, and so many others……

  • I have a couple minutes, ergo: Flora Guerra, Claudio Arrau, Rosa Renard, Alfredo Perl (Chile) Teresa Carreño, Moises Moleiro, Gabriela Montero, Sergio Tiempo (Venezuela) Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich, Bruno Leonardo Gelber, Aquiles delle Vigne, Ingrid Flitter, Horacio Lavandera, Daniel Rivera, Eduardo Delgado (Argentina) Nibya Mariño, Dinorah Varsi, Raquel Boldorini, Enrique Graf (Uruguay) Guiomar Novaes, Magda Tagliaferro, Nelson Freire, Marlos Nobre, Felicja Blumenthal, Arnaldo Cohen,Arthur Moreira Lima, José Feghali, Cristina Ortiz, Sergio Monteiro (Brasil) Ernesto Lecuona, Ignacio Cervantes, Jorge Bolet, Horacio Gutierrez, Jorge Luis Prats, Frank Fernandez, Juana Zayas, Rubén Gonzales, Bebo Valdes, Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba) Michel Camilo (Dominican Republic) And many others. The title of the article is right, seriously “Who appoints these people?”

  • NAfME is a music-education advocacy group that lobbies the U.S. Congress and state legislatures on behalf of its members, who are mostly schoolteachers. While members elect a president every couple of years, day-to-day business is conducted by a permanent staff, including a CEO.

    Butera made inane and offensive comments; he has been fired. His successor is a long-time employee who does not share Butera’s views.

    Blakeslee’s comments about “a more diverse workforce in education” are about the ranks of teachers in the U.S., who have been overwhelmingly white. He is advocating for more ethnic diversity in the field. He made no comment about music performers or the music industry as a whole.

    Hiring someone solely based on ethnicity (or, as Pedro seems to suggest, someone from outside the U.S.) as a knee-jerk reaction to idiocy would not be a helpful solution to said idiocy.

    (Whether Blakeslee should [or will] be making $250,000 per year heading a non-profit is certainly debatable. By way of comparison, the National Education Association has 41 employees whose total compensation is more than $200.000 per year. They’re another well-known lobbying group whose member dues pay those salaries.)

  • “Skill sets”? God protect us from this crap. The biggest danger in all this is the M.B.A. There is a catastrophic myth that an MBA can administer anything — we find them as CEOs and presidents of symphony societies, schools, hospital and health districts, motor corporations, crown corporations, pharmaceutical corporations…anything. If they get fired, they take the golden handshake and move to a different one. They have imprinted on their very narrow minds the myth that they have been given a blueprint (or skill sets) that allows them to administer any sort of organization. The problem, of course, is that they usually know nothing about the fundamental purpose of the organization and are deluded in thinking that any organization can be fitted into that MBA blueprint. One could look on it as a paradigm that can be adjusted, moved, to fit the organization, but the problem is that to do that you have to have a deep knowledge of that organization. God knows, Butera is utterly clueless re one straightforward aspect of his Association, and that led to an insult to two minorities in one go.

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