Furthering Perspectives in Music Education, General Editor’s Preface 59.2

September 20, 2019

This issue of Symposium 59.2 has a strong focus on furthering perspectives within music education. Of our five full-length articles, three of them, along with important reviews, provide insights into the nature of music in academe as well as advances in educational tools. We begin with Lee and McNaughtan and their article “Music Faculty Role and Organizational Commitment” that concludes, via data gathering and analysis, that music faculty manifest a sense of sincerity and devotion to their jobs, and a preponderance of individuals are committed professionals, internally motivated. One can argue that this commitment will be needed as faculty encounter systemic change and we move deeper into a new era of music education, where classical music, the music in which many professors are most trained--and in which their passions rests--is not well known to the students and may not be the music that the professor will be asked to teach.

Indeed, two more articles, Simon’s “Tell Me A Story,” and Larson’s “Popular Music in Higher Education,” give persuasive arguments that we must now embrace more than just a traditional, classical model. Simon notes that in composition classes most students are no longer familiar with classical forms (e.g., sonata, rondo) and he suggests that burgeoning composers find form in the structure of “story,” that is, that they use a narrative design as a tool to help create compositional balance and pace. Larson’s article, on the other hand, turns literally to the importance of teaching popular music--the music of the masses around the globe and the music that dominates the markets. He laments the fact that the movement toward including popular music at all educational levels remains sluggish and suggests that we should not fear change, as we have experienced a curriculum shift before, when jazz entered the educational mainstream in the 1960s and 1970s.

To assist educators into the future, new technologies are reviewed in the Symposium. Trevor de Clercq reviews the mobile app 1Chart, useful in creating a Nashville Number System Chart, that is, a chord shorthand used extensively in the Music Industry. Doornbusch reviews online tools, including Google’s Bach Doodle, an algorithm which “harmonizes” a newly created melody in the style of Bach. Regardless of the fact that the product is not always of the highest quality, the results can lead to interesting class discussions of style and interpretation. Nord reviews Skoog 2.0, a squishable cube midi interface that allows anyone—those with disabilities, children, elderly, “non-musical” lay people—to engage with and create music. And in Berman’s book review of Becoming Creative: Insights from Musicians in a Diverse World by Juniper Hill, we are reminded of how social and cultural factors can either inhibit or enable creativity in music, which compels us to reflect on how we might inspire our students and those with whom we interact.

As always, understanding our past is an important part of Symposium, since it helps us gauge our future. Issue 59.2 highlights women in music history and features a video interview (with written review by Manternach) of Candace Magner, the leading scholar of the singer/composer Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677). This interesting interview is interspersed with live performances of Strozzi’s works. Then Parker’s article on the great 19th century singer Jenny Lind (1820-87) shares with us Lind’s touring and business encounters alongside the showman P.T. Barnum in “Jenny Lind and P. T. Barnum: A Success Story of Music, Business, and Philanthropy.” Burkett and Wangler turn to women, music, and marketing in their article “Music and Advertising in Seventeen Magazine, 1944-1981,” which reveals how musical images have been used to sell products to young females for decades.

Along with Berman’s book review, the issue also contains a review by DeVoto of Alan Walker’s Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times, which is a publication not seen before in regard to breath and detail of coverage of Chopin’s life, talent, and capacity for improvisation. And Elder reviews Eduard Hanslick’s On the Musically Beautiful: A New Translation by Rothfarb and Landerer, which contains many improvements on previous translations of this influential 1864 musical aesthetics book.

In Forums, Beckman discusses her positive reaction to an earlier forum essay, A Single Little Bit of Beauty: Profound Words on Practice and Life from 1918; and Nolte argues that students need more practical piano experience before engaging in Music Theory in “In Support of Requiring Two Semesters of Class Piano Prior to Music Theory 1.” And we also have three audio reviews: Bowyer reviews Inner Voice by the trumpeter Aaron Hodgson; Belck reviews the 15 tracks of Don’t Blink performed by the Ben Kono Group; and Kurokawa reviews work inspired by nature in Orchestra Music, Vol. Two by Orlando Jacinto García. In all issue 59.2 manifests the diversity and focus of music professionals and educators into the 21st century.

1248 Last modified on April 15, 2020