Call to speak out on bullying and psychological/emotional abuse in music

In the last few weeks, more stories of sexual abuse in musical education, including new convictions, have come to light – I will be posting a summary of these later. But the subjects of bullying and psychological and emotional abuse, whether in musical education or the wider musical world, are easily sidelined and viewed is marginal in this context. They are not, and can be just as damaging as sexual abuse. A respected journalist in whom I have 100% faith will be preparing an article or articles looking at this wider and neglected (in part because not directly criminal) issue. I am posting this to invite anyone who would like to talk about this, either in terms of their own experiences or of things they have witnessed, or general perceptions, to contact me on ian@ianpace.com . Absolutely confidentiality is guaranteed, and will be guaranteed if you seek to talk to the press on the subject.

There are too many ruined lives, wasted careers, cases of depression, self-harm and even sometimes suicide because of the callous and malicious acts of others who are protected by the aura of the classical musician. Please help to raise public awareness of these things, in the hope that in time there will be real pressure for change.

Emotional abuse is not always recognised for what it is, and there has been much less attention paid to it in an educational context. Here is an important article considering the subject, and here is an earlier scholarly article. On bullying at work, I recommend this site, this and this; and see here for bullying from teachers. The subject of bullying in the classical music world has hardly ever been addressed seriously; here is an interesting online discussion on the subject.