CMS Music Education Activity

January 1, 1993

As long ago as Vancouver in 1985, when I first came upon The College Music Society, the blend of music and education in the conference sessions and publications was irresistible. It became apparent to me then that music education was a broad and encompassing concept that included K-12 public and private school music and teacher education in music, but that also included the whole gamut of music instruction in applied music, history and cultures, theory, and pedagogy. Those traditionally categorized "music educators" are thus joined through The College Music Society with colleagues in many areas of specialization. CMS members are all engaged in the business of music and teaching.

Music education is thus at the core of the greater profession of "music." Still, there are those who specialize in "music education." They are involved in the spiralling process of music instruction that extends from early childhood through post-graduate and community education venues. Music teacher educators at the collegiate level uphold the content-based theory and history courses, the applied lessons and ensemble experiences. They seek to develop students for the transmission of acquired musical knowledge and skills to the mass of a largely pre-collegiate population outside the university. They turn toward ways of integrating the best of subject-specific music courses into the lives of prospective teachers who then transmit knowledge, skills, and values to children and adolescents. Specialists in music education are critical to the cycling of music and music instruction to the masses, and to recruiting the talented for "custom-line" training at conservatories, colleges, and universities.

In support of the earlier work within The College Music Society regarding collegiate programs in music teacher education, the current CMS Advisory Committee for Music Education has proposed several targeted areas of interest through the course of the 1992-94 term. We seek a more active membership by music teacher educators in the Society, to which end a letter of invitation for membership was sent last spring to all faculty coded as "music education" within the Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U.S. and Canada. We have been actively involved in developing program presentations that speak to (1) models of collaborative networks between K-12 schools and music units within the university; (2) comprehensive reviews of research on topics pertinent to K-12 and collegiate music instruction (e.g., skill development, rehearsal techniques, motivation, recruitment); and (3) historical and cross-cultural perspectives of music teaching and learning as they inform contemporary K-12 curriculum and instruction.

Our first point notes the interest we have in partnerships between collegiate programs in music teacher education and the public schools, in the collaborative and co-dependent ways in which students can be trained both in collegiate settings and "out in the field." Why do some students emerge from K-12 school music programs with interests in teaching music? What has motivated them? In what ways can collegiate programs become more attuned and able to meet the musical needs of prospective teachers on the brink of the 21st century? What model programs exist where music education majors observe and teach for more than a term or two, where collegiate students are linked with local schools from their first year onward, in building the bridges between the theories and practices of teaching music?

Regarding the second point, we would like to see increased activity in conferences and publications of The College Music Society on research in music instruction. As music historians, theorists, and performers provide much of the musical "backbone" for undergraduate music programs, music educators can offer a rich storehouse of research on instructional processes, i.e., teaching and learning music. We are calling on music educators to consider The College Music Society as a venue for sharing reviews of

research on such subjects as the development of improvisation, creative expression, memorization, sight-reading skills, conducting skills, analytical listening skills, along with topics such as modes of assessment, and approaches to the motivation of adult learners. Music educators have paid close attention to the components of effective instruction over the years, with many engaged in research on presentational style, and they have much to share with their music colleagues.

The matter of looking at the historical past, and at other cultures, in our study of philosophies and practices of music instruction is a third focus of the current CMS Advisory Committee on Music Education. We suggest that discourse in music education be centered not only on current instructional practices in American society, but also on earlier curricular trends and pedagogies. How have they evolved? Why were they dismissed? What historical lessons have we learned or have we yet to learn, regarding music instruction? Likewise, how can our understanding of music transmission in an Indian gharana, or in Japanese schools of the early Meiji period, or in Nigerian schools that blend Western with traditional musics and their instructional practices, enlighten our current thinking on music teaching and learning. Like the comparative musicology of the earlier part of this century, comparative music education may be useful to those of us who seek a better understanding of the universal nature of music learning and of the teaching that ensures it.

The label "music education" casts a much broader net than we have sometimes been led to believe. Even as it is traditionally defined, music education is the key to the raising of future musicians and music-consumers. For seven years, I have found the mission of The College Music Society appealing to both the musician and the teacher personae within me. I cannot help but think, along with members of the CMS Advisory Committee, that both the generalist's and the specialist's perspective of music education is well-served by the Society. I hope that we will continue to develop the enticing thoughts noted above, so that the blend of music and education is right for you as it was for me in Vancouver, and so that it will continue to be so.

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