What three scores could adequately represent the musical innovations of the past 10-15 years? Composers have become comfortable choosing from the musical smorgasbord that has accumulated over the past several centuries, so making a list is a challenge. But is it a fool’s errand?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but to teach only the composers discussed in someone else’s textbook, chosen by someone else’s narrative, would surely be an impoverished and lazy approach to pedagogy. What if we take anthologies as the beginning of discussions, not the ending?
Every spring, music schools across the country celebrate commencement. There are processions and ceremonies, brunches and barbecues. Young, talented students have performed recitals of demanding repertoire, gained valuable ensemble experience, and passed through the gauntlet of theory, ear training, and music history. Commencement speakers advise graduates to be bold, creative, and persistent as they begin their careers. During this time, few commencement speakers will breathe a word about what will happen in precisely six months’ time, when the first student loan bill arrives on graduates’ doorsteps. That particular milestone will occur without fanfare, but represents a life-changing reality of its own.
Given that each music professor achieves his or her expertise in a highly idiomatic way and must impart that expertise in a highly idiomatic way, how does one measure learning across a cohort of music school students?
How would you feel if you heard your own or a colleague’s music mashed up with the latest Katy Perry or Kendrick Lamar track? Can you envision yourself video conferencing with a group of elementary school or university students who recently posted video clips of themselves discussing new music on YouTube or who admitted that they would like to try transforming a piece from the genre into electronic dance music? These questions hint towards possibilities that some may find problematic and that others may consider appropriate and beneficial for new music, musicians, and students.
Extra Credit!! Review last year’s full week of education-related content in case there’s a pop quiz at the faculty mixer.
Fresh learning methods have opened up exciting possibilities when it comes to advancing music education and introducing new ears to new work, so we invited our regular contributors plus some special guests to each pick up a thread in this huge concept and tell us about a piece of this story that’s important to them.