Georgia House committee looks at music industry in Savannah, across the state

If you’re interested in the music scene and music industry in Savannah, I’d recommend checking out my Sunday City Talk column in the Savannah Morning News: House committee hears about Savannah’s music industry

The 5-person state legislative committee is holding similar sessions around the state to see if there are opportunities for economic development in Georgia related to the music industry, broadly defined. In the column, I try to give a recap of the long morning of presentations by representatives of various sectors in the city.

As I note in the column, a significant percentage of the day’s speakers focused on the value of public investment in arts education generally and music education specifically.

But don’t expect any action on that from Georgia’s legislators. The state budget has cut education spending in recent years, with little sign of any willingness to restore that spending to pre-recession levels.

I wish there had been a little more talk from small business owners and entrepreneurs, but on the whole I found the speakers that I heard to be passionate, interesting, and well-informed.

I missed the 5-minute presentation by Savannah Children’s Choir director and board chair of the new Savannah Classical Academy Roger Moss, but he told me that he posed the following math/music problem:

If there are 4 beats in a measure and the 8th note gets 1/2 a beat, how many 8th notes equal a full measure of 4 beats.

One of the legislators apparently responded: “Let me call my daughter.”

Roger told me that the Children’s Choir has 2nd graders who can solve that problem.

Another point that I did not have room to mention in the column was one raised by Ryan McMaken from the Savannah Music Festival.

Ryan noted that the state of Georgia’s thin expenditures on the arts left at least $250,000 in matching funds from the NEA on the table last year. That resulted in a 50 percent cut in grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts.

You can read a lot more about that issue and other arts funding issues in the state in a 2012 piece from Special report: As money for the arts slowly dries up, Georgia ranks 49th in government funding

Given the political climate, I get a little cynical at the end of my column about the utility of last week’s meeting.

But I do think there could be something gained if we were able to hold some kind of informational and social function that included all of the presenters from that day plus others who wanted to attend.

It couldn’t hurt.