CMS and Innovation

August 31, 2001

As CMS continues to reflect the concept of an "umbrella organization" in music, I've been wondering what things it might do that aren't being done for young musicians.

It seems to me that a real lack in the music area has to do with how we keep up with some of the newer possibilities for our students in the real world. Our students mostly see us guys swaggering (scurrying?) around happily ensconced in our positions, often choosing us as role models and mentors. This may sometimes, perhaps often, be doing more harm than good. There aren't that many jobs as college teachers and performers, and for the few that there are the competition is fierce.

Often our students who are not cut out to be scholars, teachers, or performers are at a loss as to what they might do in the work-a-day world that would keep them near to the music that they've learned to love. Thus, for example, at the liberal arts school where I work, students rather often come to me asking about possibilities for employment after graduation where they might indulge their love of music in some of the newer fields or in interesting, innovative graduate programs that explore new musical trains of thought. Where are these opportunities and what are the requirements of acceptance?

At this point I usually begin waving my arms in the air, mouthing various platitudes about recent advances that must be occurring, but I don't really know what I'm talking about, nor do I know enough about where to send them to look for such information.

Some examples: David Huron's remarkable program at Ohio State wherein students are studying the relationship of music to heretofore inexplicable activities of the human brain. Also there are the many fascinating activities of our buddies at ATMI. There has be tons more.

As was pointed out at last November's NASM meeting, music is a very large businesssoon to become (given demographic projections) a HUGE multibillion dollar business over the next few years. Venture capitalists and other business people are virtually jumping up and down trying to figure out how to get in on this amazing projected growth, and they haven't much of an idea where to throw their money and/or their energies. It really is an amazing, exciting time.

Maybe CMS could, in its umbrella mode, become the place where people came to find out about all the latest innovative programs related to musiceverything from the "Mozart Effect" (which isn't) to recent theories to the effect that greater brain power is involved in comprehending serious classical music (I like that one!). For example, who are the people doing this research? How valid is it? Could some of our students profit from being in a program that undertakes these kinds of studies?

How might we do this? Threaded discussions and chat rooms are obvious examplesperhaps too obvious. I like the idea of having something like the Arts and Letters Daily ( with all of this information becoming available as fast as any of us can come up with it. It includes daily articles of general interest concerning the arts, history, aesthetics, etc. The page changes as fast as its editors come across anything interesting. They keep archives of past ideas for some time.

Could CMS create such a model? When one of us learned of something relevant, we might then send it to an editor for the CMS web site who could put up links to innovative programs, ideas, book reviews, essays, and articles.

1750 Last modified on May 1, 2013
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