Interesting Times

January 1, 1997

Happy New Year! May this be a productive and rewarding year for you, both musically and professionally.

The College Music Society greets 1997 with reorganization completed, new programs underway, and new facilities available. We owe special gratitude to our Past President, Nohema Fernández, who has completed an impressive term at our helm. She accomplished awesome tasks with inspiring dedication, tireless work, and inimitable grace. Receiving the gavel from her in Atlanta last October made me appreciate both how well she has put CMS on the track for the future and how challenging it is to follow the standards she set. Nohema is not abandoning CMS, though—just taking up new tasks, in particular in the area of advocacy. We will have new reasons to appreciate her in the future.

The College Music Society is a very special organization. Because it includes students and teachers from across the spectrum of the music disciplines, it has a twofold distinction among our professional societies. On one hand, CMS represents the interaction of music disciplines—interaction that for some of us arises from sharing with our colleagues, and for others comes from the multiple hats we wear. such interaction leads to exciting and challenging cross-fertilization of ideas, musically and intellectually. On the other hand, the Society's special character comes from our commitment to supporting professional development and teaching. our cross-disciplinary breadth allows us to help each other become our best through our careers and give our best in our studios and classrooms day by day.

They say there is an ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." Approaching the twenty-first century, we are certainly living in interesting times. Sometimes it is easy to feel cursed. Budgets are down and enrollments rise. Technology is galloping ahead so fast that many of us fear we cannot possibly keep our grip on the reins. our population becomes more diverse until we can hardly assume any common experience as a basis for our teaching, and we wonder where we can find any common values to hold onto.

The College Music Society has never regarded interesting times as curses but has viewed them as challenges and opportunities. In changing times CMS occupies a special position to serve our profession.

When pressure grows, CMS helps folks meet new demands. The Music Vacancy List continues to be an invaluable service. Our newly formed committee for student concerns will help us find and implement new ways to equip the next generation. We have been seeking and sharing methods for mentoring. CMS workshops provide chances to retool with new music and ideas for teaching to meet increased needs.

For several years CMS has been moving to the forefront in the area of technology. Joint annual meetings with the Association for Technology in Music Instruction have provided opportunities to see and evaluate what is new in that area. We have been fortunate to have leadership in the Society and on its Board from colleagues who are experts in technology. The CMS web site gives access to information and services, and it will be providing forums and discussions on varied topics and concerns.

In the area of developing demographics and values, too, CMS helps us keep abreast of our changing culture. Our well-established and ongoing commitment to diverse musics and music worlds is reflected in such different ways as our summer institutes for world music and the planning of annual meetings to feature the local musical lives of our meeting sites. CMS has led in the area of women and gender by a variety of means, from studies on women in the profession to discussions of gender and the musical canon. By being responsive to present needs and concerns, we will enable our members and colleagues to lead the way to the future.

It is good to look back with pride on our achievements and our well-established organization and projects—but The College Music Society has never been satisfied to rest on its laurels. To continue our service and our leadership in the field, we need to maintain our alertness, exercise our imagination, and be unflagging in our energetic involvement. I hope that each of us will meet the new year with three kinds of contributions to CMS:

First, help CMS to be alert—take a moment to observe how, within your own experience, our profession faces new ideas and new needs, and communicate those with CMS through the Board, discussion with colleagues at meetings, or a letter to the Editor of the Newsletter.

Second, help CMS be imaginative—create your own vision of the best that we could become, and share your ideals and wish-lists through CMS.

Third, help CMS act energetically—participate in chapter and national meetings, contact the Board members and committees that reflect your concerns to see what you can do, and join us at summer institutes and workshops.

I salute each of you for the dedication and effort you bring to our discipline and to your colleagues every day. Have a great year!


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