Many Chinese kids who are inspired by art or music are encouraged to pursue careers that make more money like in computers and accounting. So what can be done to change attitudes about letting kids pursue love joy and wonder instead of money and better appearances?
butthenigotbetter 32 points·4 days ago
To be honest my go-to advice to children living in Europe who want to pursue a lifelong dedication to music is "Okay so what will you do to make a living?"
Seriously a conservatory graduate who did well in school and makes absolutely delightful music will still struggle to live off it.
It's not unique to China even if it might be even worse in China.
As much as it pains me art does not pay well unless you're one of very few lucky ones. It's sad that society doesn't value beauty but that doesn't negate how it isn't valued by society.
Demortus7 points·4 days ago
The way I see it is even if you are passionate about the arts you need a solid plan B career. If you are talented and your art hobby is sufficiently successful that you can live off of it then go for it. If not then at least you won't starve and can pursue it as a hobby.
lacraquotte France 2 points·3 days ago
Exactly. My cousin is a talented musician so he decided to study music in Belgium. Fast forward a few years: he's now 30 years old has never managed to secure a job and just returned home to live with his mum. It's a field where many are called but few are chosen.
JW00001 1 point·3 days ago
I always think that financial suffering is part of the trial to art.
ColonelEnvy 1 point·3 days ago
I teach music in a conservatory in China have degrees what have you. In this world it's imperative that the artist adapts and has income coming from many different sources. It's part art more business. Unfortunately conservatories and schools have not adapted their curriculum at the same rate and cannot adequately prepare their students to succeed in the real world. Not many people live comfortably and save for retirement only making art. Many people survive quite comfortably in the arts in a combination of performing making art publishing teaching organising events etc.
我在中国的一所音乐学院当老师， 有着和楼主一样的学历。 当今社会对于艺术家来说必要的是，要接受且能拥有来自不同渠道的收入。这更多是业务的一部分而不是艺术。不幸的是音乐学院和学校并没有相应的课程来教会学生如何在现实世界里取得成功。没有多少人单靠艺术就能活得舒适还能存下养老金的。许多过得好的艺术从业者都是靠其他的艺术相关方式，如演出、艺术创作、出版、当老师或者组织活动等等。
ObviousExpert 1 point·2 days ago
100% this as someone who chased the dream and failed
CompetitiveLoiterer 12 points·4 days ago
Letting kids pursue their passions regardless of financial considerations is cute and all but it definitely won't help with the aging population and workforce.
chinaxiha 7 points·4 days ago
you are assuming:
inspired by art or music = must have a career in that.
even kids in the west take shitty jobs and have shitty careers who try to strike it out in hollywood.
you are also assuming career in computers/accounting which have a more steady income = bad because more money = bad.
即受到艺术或者音乐启发 = 必须从事该行业。
this is dumb. let people make their own choices. if they wanna take the risk and really go for music sure. otherwise have a real job and pay bills and do it as a hobby.
Jozhou6891 5 points·4 days ago
Raise the living standard. People need to be able to feed themselves first.
CADBP 4 points·4 days ago
This is not a unique thing to China. Korea Japan also have this and even Europe and America have this. The whole thing of parents looking down at you for starting a band or something. Even in terms of visual art their is still the prence of the idea of the "starving artist" in Europe or America.
JillyPolla Taiwan5 points·4 days ago
This is correct. Why do you all think there's all these push to get students (female especially) into STEM in the USA? It's the same reason why Chinese students are encouraged to pursue hard subjects.
The idea that you should just pursue what you love and everything will work out is a relic of a bygone era in America where only a small number of well to do went to college and that even a factory job gave you a good life. These conditions no longer exist. For Chinese people who are one generation removed from starvation why wouldn't they be practical unless they're loaded?
itgscv1 2 points·4 days ago
One of the most common reasons for pushing females into stem is gender disparity in the classes. Not so much how much money is made as it’s usually something along the lines of there’s only x% women at Y company or there isn’t 50/50 representation among management or executive positions. It just so happens many of these are high paying jobs.
Thing is there isn’t a similar push to get women into high paying but dangerous work: mining offshore oil rigs some trade professions etc.
The problem with this is do you want equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Affirmative action and quotas means that someone potentially more qualified will lose out on a position solely based on physical attributes outside their control.
shenzhenren-1 points·3 days ago
Why are female students pushed into STEM in the USA? Because America has this silly idea of filling gender quotas as opposed to actually needing more STEM students. This is evidenced by the fact that very few women actually go into STEM related careers after they get their degrees and that there are now 40 people applying for every STEM job
TheBlazeZone4 points·4 days ago
Others might chime in but i believe it is the parents/recent traditions . It starts with doing excellent on the gaokao then 4-6 years at university then have a kid then work.
annadpk 5 points·4 days ago
Well my opinion is China does a good job providing people with opportunities in art/music relative to many other countries.
Visual art graduates won't become rich but a lot of the skills are marketable more so than people studying English or Humanities. In the modern world there is no such thing as a starving artist if you have some background in web design it is not too hard to find work. If parents are discouraging their kids from pursuing art entrance for this art university wouldn't be so competitive
As for music it is less marketable but compared to other developing countries and in many developed countries opportunities aren't that bad. Most Westerners are thinking when they are talking about music are talking about Chinese parents letting their kid set up a band well that is crazy. But many poorer Chinese parents won't mind their kid joining a theater troupe or becoming a classical musician. The Chinese state has boarding schools for theater or music. If a poor farm boy has the talent for music and gets into a government-funded school I don't think the parents would mind.
The thing China has got going for it is size. If you were in Jamaica you wouldn't dream of becoming a concert Pianist because you have to travel overseas to get that opportunity.
The one thing the PRC government did since the 1980s is they funded people to go study in overseas universities in all sort of subjects including art and music. In this area China stands out among many developing countries including India.
I think its more complicated. OF course most Chinese parents want their kid to take of science or engineering but given the competition in Mainland China they might realize early on that the kid is good at art and sucks in math and science they wouldn't force their kid to pursue computer science like you see among Chinese in the West. In the United States given how lax US education is until university its easy for kids to cruise through hard subjects like Math or Physics and give the false impression to parents the kid is going to have a career as an engineer. In China parents find out much earlier on whether their kid got it or not.
Jexlan 6 points·4 days ago
That's why I encourage computer science. You can make $$$ and dank apps it can be an art really
MrsPandaBear 2 points·4 days ago
To be honest I wouldn’t encourage my own child to go into the arts and I live in the US. I’ve known friends who’ve had an interest in the arts and were even talented but most never made a living in it. Some ended up retraining in a different profession.
And as difficult financially and professionally as it is to make it as an artist in the West it’s ten times worse in a third world country with little social safety net. People aspire to better things but the country is only one generation from starvation and poverty. The country has little social safety net for the unemployed and underemployed. Your children won’t get health insurance or attend decent schools if you can’t pay. Furthermore most young Chinese are burdened with caring for their elderly parents. It would be hard to survive in China on a struggling artists’ salary.
The only secure way in China go into the arts is probably through a elite conservatory. You most likely won’t make much money but at least you will be gainfully employed.
daramji_killer 2 points·4 days ago
I teach my kids how to code music. Two birds one stone :D
BlazeMiskulin United States 2 points、·3 days ago
There's a very solid foundation behind the term "starving artist".
I worked in the arts (as a craftsman) for about 25 years. You know who makes money in the arts? Virtually nobody. If one of my kids wanted to pursue a career in the arts I'd encourage them to learn a different trade and do the arts for fun.
When I was studying theatre in the late 80s a prof (who'd retired from Broadway & Hollywood and taught for fun) pointed out a statistic that stuck with me: The average annual income (from acting) for a SAG member is $200 (adjusted for inflation that's about $395).
It's also important to know that SAG membership is difficult to get. For every member there are a bazillion people who want to be actors.
They should "pursue love joy and wonder" for fun. Encouraging them to do it as a profession is simply sadistic.
Sparkykun 1 point· 2 days ago
Loving is just as important as wealth or power. Money might bring you joy power might force the teamwork though love is the glue that ties everything together. A world without love is a world where fear turned to anger where angers turned to fears (which is equivalent to hate) and where people live under shadows and in sunless caves.
AltCoinChina2 points·3 days ago
You realize it's perfectly possible to pursue art and music after university right? You can get you 'hard' degree in 3 years and graduate at 21 then spend the rest of your life enjoying your passion whilst at the same time as having a reliable profession as a back up.
Conversely you can struggle to make it in a field that rewards luck as much as skill and come to resent the passion that you loved as you limp from low paid gig to no paid gig.
Sparkykun1 point·3 days ago·edited 3 days ago
Luck is a reflection of the sorrow and anger in life often as a result of lack of belief in self because of negative thinking. On the other-hand an inflated belief in self on a basis of worries and fears will cause that sorrow and anger. A person with worries and fear upon meeting a person with sorrow or anger will think it’s an impending attack and if that same person is also feeling deep sorrow at his core he will likely attack. This deep sorrow is due to lack of belief in-self (with reasons including early childhood trauma like intense pain feelings of loss and lack of understanding for parents). All children are born with a sense of self-belief.
AltCoinChina2 points·3 days ago
I will agree that all children are born with a sense of self-belief. I think that sense of self-belief should be nurtured and kept alive for a persons whole life. A parents job is to guide a child along a path which leads to fulfillment. Allowing a child to lay a secure foundation and then pursue other life goals is a great way to ensure that.
Sparkykun1 point·2 days ago·edited 2 days ago
There must also be self-belief which is created by having a desire to change for the better whether it’s to become a better person (explorer-oriented people) become more understanding and respectful to others (service-oriented person) or to become a respected team-player (project-oriented people)
wiiiiiener 3 points·4 days ago
Have a rich dad.
splendidrobots1 point·4 days ago
You ask a leading question. Why assume that something should be done? Why assume that financial stability is less desirable than the pursuit of joy and wonder?
Nevespot1 point·4 days ago
One thing China doesn't need is bad Western ideas that ended up fails for far too many people and even our economies.
And then again China does go too far to the opposite extreme and could use a bite of that idea now and then
But no we already have way way too many kids who dedicated themselves to being artists first and pursuing 'love joy and wonder' as 'Sandwich Artists' for 28 hours a week well into their 30s.
Study train prioritize into whatever is an in-demand money-making job. That is how you can become an artist and earn well score good hours better benefits better holiday more money to do what.. THEN you can pursue all sorts of wonder by getting your basement (the one you own) remodeled into.. a paint studio... a music studio.. a professional woodworking shop... and then with your 6 weeks of paid holidays a year from your decent job... why you can become a great artist hire a trainer/teacher/tutor too and explore all your dream hobbies.
If only I had that advice and not people telling me things like "..never mind anything forget money just pursue your dreams your visions.. what do you love to do mannnn?"
Longlius1 point·4 days ago
Being an artist requires you to be willing to defy everyone around you in the interest of pursuing a passion even to your own ruin. The question you should be asking isn't "What can we do to make Chinese parents accept their children becoming artists?" Even in the west parents roll their eyes at the prospect of their kids pursuing art instead of something 'useful.'
The question you should ask is "Why aren't many Chinese willing to stand up to their parents and authority figures?" And I think we all know the answer to that question.
oolongvanilla1 point·3 days ago
You must remember that unlike their foreign equivalents in English-speaking countries Chinese holding useless liberal arts degrees can't just get ESL jobs in China as a fall-back plan.
Sparkykun1 point·2 days ago
What makes you think liberal arts degrees are useless? What liberal art degrees are you thinking of? Wouldn’t serving people food helping out with cleaning and minding service centers also be helpful?
F8591 point·3 days ago
Encourage them to double major in art and in something lucrative but also relevant to their art. Don't split your time and energy between your passion and your backup plan; you'll achieve neither that way. Pursue art but pair it together with something tech-related. Visual art + computer science = UI design web design video game development etc. Visual art + civil engineering = aesthetically pleasing architecture (China could use more of that)
Sparkykun1 point·2 days ago·edited 2 days ago
Wow that’s great advice thank you so much this is really amazing
Art is likely inspired by earlier works (“standing on the shoulders of giants”) and practiced to a degree that makes you who you are today
jeshields1 point·2 days ago
Show them that it can be done. There is a multitude of decent art-related work out there. They CAN make a living doing what they love. Take these people for example:
These are just several out of many. But the thing that is different about them is that they worked insanely hard to improve their art and craft their market. Definitely check out Noah Bradley's advice on becoming an artist.
Art advice in a nutshell:
1) Don't go to college. (Unless you have a free ride or pretty close to it.)
2) Learn and practice practice practice as much as you can. (This Crimson Dagger Forum is GREAT for artists.)
3) Learn how to be a business-person. (If you do go to college at least minor in business.)
4) Learn to live frugally. (You can live ANYWHERE and create artwork.)
I have really been impressed with Brent Hollowell. Instead of going off to college and accumulating loads of debt he made an agreement with his parents that he would stay at home for a year (maybe 2) and his 'job' would be to get up and work just to improve. He created artwork 8 hours a day or more. Not just one piece in that time but many. It was about learning.
I also am not speaking hypothetically. I am a husband and father of four and the sole provider.I'm nobody great but I make decent money. I have not had to go looking for client work in probably over a year.
There is very little reason that most people can't do what I and many other artists have done.
Hautamak Canada1 point·4 days ago
Change society to financially reward artists. The economic value of art is tremendous. Being surrounded by beauty really does attract and inspire people to be better more productive citizens. But society does a horrible job of compensating the actual creators of that beauty. This problem is not unique to China. All societies would benefit a lot from figuring out better ways to make creating art financially rewarding for more than just the top 0.01%.