Originally Posted by Quirk
Perhaps it's a little naive of me, but it does surprise me that of all people, a classical musician would have such a dismissive -- no, contemptuous -- attitude with regard to issues of integrity.
Classical musicianship, more than perhaps any other single pursuit I can think of (including the clergy, or even the military) requires an extraordinary degree of personal integrity: a fierce commitment to personal excellence; a rigorous and demanding personal work ethic; respect for rules, form and structure; and as exemplified in the symphonic tradition, the ability to work in unfailing synthesis with a completely integrated team.
Even the activities of military soldiers (who perhaps come closest to the classical musician's degree of fully synthesized discipline, integrity, and teamwork) inevitably demands the ability to improvise and work somewhat independently when on the field of battle -- soldiers are somewhat more like jazz musicians in that regard, I suppose.
But the performance of classical symphonic musicians, particularly when it's all on the line -- the crucible of live performance -- requires following the code (the score, the maestro, the prescribed structure) without fail, else the integrity of the work be lost.
Even the audition process for classical musicians maintains a high standard of integrity: those auditioning for major symphony orchestras are hidden from the auditioning panel behind a screen, in order that the auditioners' judgement not be compromised by factors other than the musician's level of skill.
Anyway, the contempt for integrity as expressed by some here is somewhat sobering. Lord knows, not one of us is perfect, and not one of us is able to consistently meet his/her own personal standards of integrity, much less those that are imposed upon us. But when we are unable to acknowledge those inevitable times when we fall short of it, and when we lose respect for the very idea of integrity and mock rather than respect those who endorse it, we've gotten pretty screwed up.
Now granted, not all honor codes necessarily demand that students report those peers who violate the code -- admittedly, that is a higher, more demanding ethical standard than simply being responsible for your own conduct. But declining to impose this higher standard on ourselves is one thing; mocking rather than respecting those who do is quite another.
Hey, let me let you on in on a little secret. Do you have any idea how many classical musicians, who are in the NY Phil, or famous touring soloists, and at top conservatories, had to cheat? It isn't because they lack honor or integrity, and it isn't as that moron whnay suggested, the new, lesser generation. It's people who are doing something at a very high level who simply don't have the time to deal with idiotic theory classes or whatever else. They've made a convenant to become excellent at something, as hard as becoming an olympic athlete on both mind and body, with an industry for which the word cuthroat is utterly inadequate.
A little aside for you Quirk. In these auditions you speak so highly of, women sometimes STILL make a point to wear heals and walk deliberately on the hard wood floors (where now they've put a carpet to the audition area) to show that they're women. If that didn't happen a lot in the 70s, the NY Phil's violin section wouldn't be mostly dominated by women (and consequently, the best talent available). Also, you have only to ask any person in the industry about how corrupt the audition process can be. Sorry to blow your magical little bubble. My colleagues would be touched, though. In many sense you are right that integrity is of the utmost in music, but where school is concerned, where things often get in the way, you'd be surprised how many people cut little corners here or there because they realized that they could make something of themselves.
Athletes do this too. In the context of academia, some people cut corners to do what they really need to do. Of course it is wrong, and I know this. But I ask you, is it just to turn them in? Our concept of justice has so much to do with punishment and accountabiliy, with little consideration to how things affect the community and the over all "balance" of the universe (that sounds so lame). I know a kid or two, that if they were not allowed to graduate from Juilliard because they kept cheating on theory exams, would have had some difficulty in becoming who they are now.
There's also highly successful people in other areas who will occasionally do that because of whatever reason. It is wrong of course, but I would never report them because I don't know what their circumstances are, and why they might really need that. I don't claim to have a perfect ideology, but I just kind of leave it up to the examiners to catch cheaters, I don't police other people because I certainly don't mean to be policed. Lord knows I'm not perfect and until that moment I stop getting drunk, doing drugs, masturbating, having impure thoughts, sex before marriage, speeding, parking where I'm not supposed to and all these other outrages, permanently, then I'm not going to turn in anyone for cheating.
If you think cheating is so morally reprehensible, then you might be surprised that many of those who you admire had to cut corners to do what they really love, and funny enough, the world is a better place for it. Justice doesn't always mean punishment...