The CMS Committee on Advocacy has led two significant initiatives for music advocacy on behalf of the College Music Society in recent months. Their purpose was to establish a firm and enduring presence for music in the dialogue of issues pertinent to contemporary higher education. They both focused on the work of the Society related to the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE).
Taking place at the Annual Meeting in Santa Fe in November 2001 was actually the second of these initiatives: a panel presentation and open forum on Advocating Cultural Community. This panel consisted of Advocacy Committee members Sang-Hie Lee (University of South Florida) and Beverly Soll (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), and David Myers, Director of the Center for Educational Partnerships in Music at the School of Music of Georgia State University.
The purpose of the panel was to (1) draw attention to distinctive collaborations between higher education music units and their communities that have resulted in unique and lasting musical experiences for their participants, and (2) to inspire more of this work throughout the membership and institutions represented in the Society. Having its roots in the important work of CMS's College Music and the Community (CMC) and Music in General Studies initiatives of the 1980's, the subject matter of this panel helped to generate discussion that identified meaningful suggestions to both the CMS Committee on Advocacy and the Society as a whole.
These suggestions included:
1. Posting on the CMS website a list of successful projects and their goals and actionsa "Compendium of Collaborations."
2. Constructing a template outlining successful strategies for persons in addressing problems of musical experiences in their own communities to undertake.
3. Creating a summer institute or workshop on how to use this template to implement meaningful partnerships.
4. Devising additional annual meeting sessions and Newsletter articles on music and arts collaborations for the benefit of persons beyond our campuses which feature both inter- and intra-disciplinary cooperation (music composition and performance, for example).
Much that was discussed in this panel related to CMS's participation in a meeting sponsored by the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). The meeting (the first of the two initiatives) was titled "Framing Our Work: The Necessity of National Partnerships around the Engaged Campus" was held in Washington, D.C., on October 12, 2001.
Representing the Society was President John Buccheri; Board member for Music in General Studies Anthony Rauche; Past-President and current Newsletter Editor David Willoughby; and Tayloe Harding, Chair of the Committee on Advocacy. The team participated in a series of working sessions and dialogues about the need to collaborate within each discipline and among disciplines represented by professional organizations also participating in this meeting.
By recognizing the activities each of the disciplines defined as their own efforts to engage their institutions in the lives of persons beyond their campuses, nine different discipline groups learned a great deal about how each other can approach community interaction and how they can further their own goals with such vital collaborative work.
The meeting featured a number of discussions and presentations, brainstorming sessions, and small group reports. All these were undertaken in an effort to provide the participating teams with the opportunity to think differently about how their particular discipline's goals for engaging citizens out- side their campuses might be enhanced by working collaboratively with a different discipline. Topics ranged from how to reward faculty for initiating such work beyond their typical loads to how groups as disparate as religion and management and nursing might work together.
CMS team members were introduced to the thoughts and goals of other higher education disciplines. At the same time, these discussions reaffirmed our own experiences with consequential examples our own music units engaging in life and work beyond our music buildingson campus and in our communities.
When considering that higher educational music units already do a pretty good job at presenting performances for a community, or at providing service-learning activities and community music instruction for non-college students, it is not hard to imagine that purposeful musical partnerships beyond these can be developed, particularly with the other arts but also with such disciplines as modern languages, physics, or sociology. We left this meeting feeling that it is important that such multidisciplinary collaborations become a significant component of our profession.
We also know that much remains to be done in our collaborations with public and private schools beyond standard musical instruction. Consider the work of Sound Learning: a Cooperative Music Education Program, a program of the Georgia State University Center for Educational Partnerships in Musics and funded through the Texaco Tempo grant initiative. This unique endeavor features not only an instructional component for partner schools and a local professional music performing organizationthe Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, but also involves significant faculty development and audience interaction initiatives as well. This is but one example that we must commit to our CMS Compendium of successful partnerships or collaborations.
During the course of the AAHE meeting, it became clear to the members of the CMS team that two major issues emerged for the College Music Society to address:
1. CMS can advise how we can best describe ourselves and our musical sub-disciplines to non-music disciplines with whom we may share specific campus outreach goals.
2. CMS can facilitate an examination of the best ways to present college music's sub-disciplines to "outsiders" by formulating strategies that link intra-musical discipline collaboration in engaged campus efforts.
Further definition of these factors can help CMS members and their institutions pursue meaningful collaboration inside and outside music to better the lives of the persons in their own communities.
I am happy to report that collecting this information from CMS's sub-disciplines has already taken place and is published both on the CMS website on the Advocacy Committee's page and in the September 2000 edition of the CMS Newsletter. Follow-up work on implementation of the ideas reflected in this report remains to be pursued, and the suggestions made by the audience of the Santa Fe panel and open forum as mentioned above are ideal ways to begin this implementation. Each of these items is under consideration by the CMS Committee on Advocacy at this writing.
I urge you to further the dialogue by becoming informed of CMS advocacy issues and how they may pertain to and reflect your own interests.