The following appeared in a memo from a budget planner for the city of Grandview.

Mariam Tariq
3 min readMar 29, 2021

“It is time for the city of Grandview to stop funding the Grandview Symphony Orchestra. It is true that the symphony struggled financially for many years, but last year private contributions to the symphony increased by 200 percent and the attendance at the symphony’s concert in park series doubled. In addition, the symphony has just announced an increase in ticket prices for next year. For these reasons, we recommend that the city eliminate funding for the Grandview Symphony Orchestra from next year’s budget. We predict that the symphony will flourish in the years to come even without funding from the city. ”

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. (Argument Task for AWA section i the GRE)

Argument Task:

The memo presented in the budget planner for the city of Grandview proposes to stop the funding of the Grandview Symphony Orchestra from the coming year. The memo throws light on the financial struggle that the orchestra faced during the initial years of its establishment and on the currently prevailing economic conditions. Orchestra is a large instrument ensemble that consists of various musical instruments and are symbolic of classical symphony music. Orchestras have long been considered indispensable to the society, especially as indicators of a community’s sophistication. People have enjoyed and appreciated the grace and tranquility that the symphony orchestra offers to it’s admirers.

The memo in the Grandview city’s budget planner mentions that the Grandview Symphony Orchestra has gathered a large amount of donation as sizable as two hundred percent from the preceding year and has also noticed almost double the attendance at the park concert series. However, I feel these additions to the financial system of the orchestra, however large they may seem are not sufficient enough. The past year may seem fruitful in current perspective but the long term implications shall be severe if the funding to the Grandview Symphony Orchestra is revoked. There is no assurance that the private donations will continue or keep increasing in a progression of any sort or if current investors will continue to re-invest with same enthusiasm. As far as the attendance at the park concert is considered, there is no presage regarding the future turn out at the events.

Symphony Orchestra is a much expensive affair as compared to the donations and the concert ticket pricings are concerned. Each orchestra has a fixed cost of venue, management staff, conductors, solo artists. Not to mention the huge maintenance charges of each instrument that are technically obsolete. The memo mentions that the Grandview Symphony Orchestra has announced that it is doubling the prices of each ticket from next year. Yet, these additional increments to ticket charges will not be able to offset the previously mentioned expenses. But the biggest threat due to the increment in ticket prices is if people would be willing to attend at these hiked costs. Also, considering the trends, it is not a big leap to say that symphony orchestra’s will become a cultural dinosaur soon. There has been a substantial shift in the music industry and amongst the masses as well. The sudden popularity of pop, rap and rock cultures in the past few decades has decreased the appeal of symphony orchestra’s and are now appreciated only by elites and patricians. The grim numbers even after the increment in ticket prices could not keep apace with the fixed costs. The competing genres are comparatively more affordable, both live and and recorded.

Therefore, in my opinion cutting off the funding to Grandview Symphony Orchestra is not a smart move immediately after a year of regaining its financial stability. The Grandview city committee needs to wait and assess the situation in a more detailed manner and take time before making any hasty decisions in this regard. Apart from this, the continued funding in the Grandview Symphony Orchestra is a constant reminder to the members of the orchestra as well as the people of the city, that they still value the beauty and serenity of classical music and are willing to uphold this cultural magnate and pass it onto our future generations as well.

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Mariam Tariq

Grad student• Product Manager• Product Designer I am trying to learn how to believe in myself more, one day at a time.