Recently by Midori
To perform a piece of music successfully requires technique and artistic impulse working hand-in-hand. Logic and spontaneity are both critical elements, as are countless hours of diligent practice and rehearsal.
Music education in the schools is no different. I think we sometimes risk forgetting about the artistic side of music education. We study the most effective methods and their outcomes as determined by evaluation and assessment but we must remember that to maximize the experience, music education must be suffused with passion - passion for the music itself and passion for the delivery.
Having said this, music education is still a very broad term. In the last decade-and-a-half, it has become synonymous with the teaching and learning of music for K - 12 students in the (mostly public) schools. However, music education - and funding for music education - should not be restricted to K - 12 classrooms. Music education, by definition, should encompass imparting knowledge of both broad and specific skills about music, as well as of how this imparting should be done. A conservatory education is also a part of the field, as is professional training and workshops for young musicians to acquire tools to engage audiences in various settings and ways. Furthermore, the nurturing and teaching that these workshop leaders/moderators do is an indispensible component of music education.
For a musician, playing the repertoire, discussing it, teaching it to a fellow musician, analyzing it, are interrelated yet individualized skills. All must be taught and learned. All are indispensible components of being a professional musician. Also, we must not forget that what music means and its relevance to one's life are critical awarenesses necessary for a healthy dynamic within the profession and to enable us to advocate fully for the art form.
What is a comprehensive music education for non-professional musicians? What are the necessary steps to take to be artistically cultured and educated? What does it mean to be artistically educated?
The answers to these questions are always in the process of evolving. Education, and particularly mandatory education, is an effective agent in the formation of an individual's tastes, preferences, value systems. As societal preferences and standards of living are re-formulated and re-defined, so should be the goals/definition of music education. What was sufficient in the past is no longer so in current times and what suffices today will be outdated in the future. For example, providing an opportunity for a group of children to audit a special concert was at the forefront of progressive music education a decade ago. Now, we have moved into sequential learning, prolonged impact, and multiple exposure. The tri-partite music education in the schools, which includes appreciation, performance, and theoretical skills, is currently the way to go. In this sense, more and more emphasis is being placed on the details of the art form than ever before. To "know" Mozart meant something significantly different for a 10-year old in the 1980s in underserved areas than it does today.
My point here is that thinking about music education is not so simple. In fact, it takes a myriad of players to achieve a successful music education program in a school. How well are we servicing/enabling the providers of these programs? How are we doing in terms of supporting the mechanisms (teachers, programs, internship opportunities) that can make the K-12 classroom education function better, both today and in the future?
The basic question: "How can demand for the arts be increased?" My goodness, what a complex topic...
For starters, I would like to lay out some questions that I have concerning the subject. Most certainly, there won't be a definitive solution or a conclusion by the end of the week; however, I propose these questions to help focus my own mind and as beginning elements from which I correspond and respond to the blog.
Most importantly, how should we define "demand"? What is the method of assessment and evaluation for this "demand"? In music, is this about concert attendance? In the visual arts, is this about the number of visitors to special exhibits?
Are we somehow under the impression that the appreciation for the arts was greater in the past? On what basis do we make this assumption? If we are looking at the number of sold seats at a concert, for example, is this really an indication of the societal interest in music? Or does this tell us more about the societal changes that we face or the face of society-at-large? In other words, is the change between past and present about art or about everything else?
In the past, the arts were supported in different ways. Mozart's patrons (the "policy makers" of his day) weren't always thinking about increasing "demand" and the triangular "appreciation/availability/accessibility" status of music. But in the long run, how did their "policies" affect us? What great things they did for the world of music! The benefits their largesse brought forth were much farther reaching than their mortal selves.
What are the differences between "demand," "appreciation," and "engagement" for the arts? In engagement, I see a healthy and productive room for discussion, agreement, experimentation, and argument. These are all necessary for a true appreciation and for continuously-increasing understanding. For me, demand signifies a simpler, and therefore less effective and impacting, consumer mentality. Prioritizing simply in terms of increasing "demand," has much more to do with marketing and crowd pleasing. This is neither a very artistic nor intellectual pursuit.
Finally, I note in the opening blog by Laura Zackaras that "We argue that arts education needs to be understood in terms of its contribution to the cultural life of our country." I'd like to add that "education" alone - and, much less so that which exists within the compulsory educational system - cannot make a dent in that cause. Rather, all educational efforts must be appreciated and supported in various, comprehensive, and complementing ways. Is the purpose of arts education in the public school systems, for example, solely about increasing demand and appreciation for the arts? Art for art's sake??? Or could it also have the potential to increase understanding and motivation for a changing/changeable world? In that case, arts education could be comprehended in terms of the wealth and the health of our country-at-large, reaching well beyond our cultural life.
Sam Hope, executive director, The National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA);
Jack Lew, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent at EA;
Laura Zakaras, RAND;
James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago;
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education;
Eric Booth, Actor;
Bau Graves, Executive director, Old Town School of Folk Music;
Kiff Gallagher, Founder & CEO of the Music National Service Initiative and MusicianCorps
Bennett Reimer, Founder of the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, author of A Philosophy of Music Education;
Edward Pauly, the director of research and evaluation at The Wallace Foundation;
Moy Eng, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
John Rockwell, critic;
Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group;
Jane Remer, Author, Educator, Researcher
Michael Hinojosa, General Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Peter Sellars, director
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