I owe you all a heartfelt thank you! Bless you, every one. In all my years of blogging and hanging out on PA social media we have never a troll or bullying incident. Actually this is quite remarkable when you think about it. I do get copious amounts of daily spam on the blog which Askimet ruthlessly deals with for me. Spam can actually sometimes be quite entertaining.
You all have been so great to me and to each other for so long that the thought that a troll might appear had completely disappeared from my mind. But, the inevitable happened this weekend—thankfully not on a PA account but on an post about my new book on another group. And, it was not at all entertaining. Welcome to the internet Gail.
I was at first in shock. My first thought was that there was a grammatical error or one of those autocorrect events that happen so often. But then I noticed the name of the sender and realized that they say such things on a regular basis and sometimes even to your face. This person is a member of the same professional organization as I. This colleague is also on some of the same professional social media pages and groups I follow and definitely has reputation there.
After about 10 minutes I realized that they way to deal with a bully is to call them out. So, I posted a screenshot of the post with comment to my own social media feed. I am thankful for the many comments of support and outrage both posts garnered. I am not hurt, just saddened, that this person has so little confidence that anything that is not their way is threatening to them.
This kind of nasty-nice thing happens all over the internet. In the early days of communicating online, before social media existed, I withdrew from several pedagogy list-serves because one proto-troll regularly hijacked everybody’s conversations. Since then, I have encountered unpleasant messages on modern social media from colleagues and even not so long ago from some famous musicians who apparently think that if you can’t be them you should simply get out.
I see the effects from such thinking on my younger students as well as on adults who tell me horror stories of why they quit music. Some of them are so nervous about what I will say and how I will say it that they are initially nearly unable to function at the piano.
I don’t think that there will ever be too much teaching material out there or that the only people worthy of my time are going to be performers in top tier concert venues. I do think that making snarky comments just for the sake of being adversarial is an unfortunate trend throughout our society.
I wish the greater music world were immune but alas…