William J. Mitchell was chairman of a panel presentation for The College Music Society at the University of Toronto on November 7, 1970 entitled Music and Higher Education in the 1970's. The panelists were Charles Hamm, Mantle Hood, James Haar, Claude V. Palisca, Robert J. Werner, and Neal Zaslaw. Abstracts of the papers they presented were also included in Symposium Volume 11.
For those of us who are still congratulating ourselves on having made it through the 1960's, it must come as a shock to learn that we are now faced with the task of deciding how best to make it through the 1970's. As Chairman of the panel discussion, I consider myself doubly fortunate: First, because I will not be obliged to state or defend a position; second, because my fellow panelists, many of whom I have known since the 1950's, have over the years demonstrated a kind of wisdom and foresight from which I stand to be one of the major beneficiaries.
Position Statements for the joint AMS/CMS Symposium on Music and Higher Education in the 1970's were distributed prior to the discussions of the panel group. They contain summaries of positions taken at the time by the participants, but in several cases the papers have been restated or amended in light of the experience of the symposium.
In planning this symposium, all of us were mindful of the fact that few, if any, are granted the debatable gifts of prophetic vision. In effect each of us is saying that on the basis of our experience with the remote and immediate past, our sometimes blurred participation in the present, we project various formats for the future. But we project these against a background of shifting, disappearing, reappearing, and newly appearing variables that lie well beyond our ken and power to shape or direct. These remarks are intended to be cautionary rather than discouraging. In any event, the heartwarming and cooperative responses of our panelists suggested to me early in the planning stages that discouragement, perhaps caution too, were not overbearing considerations.