Issue 58.2 is a special one in the history of the College Music Symposium: Journal of the College Music Society. Seven years have passed since 2011 when the Symposium was first released in an online format, and during that time there were many adjustments, but never a major reconstruction. Now, as we encounter the dynamic challenges of the contemporary world, we must foster new kinds of research and dissemination, all the while maintaining academic quality. In this endeavor, the Symposium has been revised.
We seek transparency and more participation, more involvement from scholars and professionals who would like to serve as referees, reviewers, board members, or authors. Thus, we have online interest forms so that we can gather information and create databases from which our editors can recruit participants. We have made submission processes smoother, as we have updated and streamlined guidelines with a clear style sheet, along with providing several informative pages. We have made it possible for interested readers to recommend material that we might review, which could be their own books, software programs, or any items that they currently make use of in the profession or would like to learn more about. And we understand that methods of transmitting or receiving information is ever changing, so we are dedicated to staying flexible in regard to the type of media we accept. For instance, worthy audio can be transmitted through many means and does not have to be released by a recording company for the Symposium to consider it for review.
In our desire to be sensitive to the needs of our readers, who are bombarded by a flood of new periodicals and Apps and multimedia every day, we have expanded our types of reviews. To help weed through the massive amount of information and pinpoint significant resources, we have added reviews of technologies and online platforms as well as select video. We also now encourage full scholarly Review Articles that, in depth, summarize several ideas, methodologies, technologies, or analyze concepts like the State of the Art. And for the first time, the Symposium now publishes special-themed issues with guest editors, as we recognize the benefit of having several articles on a topic released together so that readers can readily explore a theme in greater detail from diverse perspectives.
Some of our members are extraordinary performers or lecturers, and we seek to formally recognize their contribution by peer-reviewing their performance, which has been captured on video, in our Performances, Lectures, Lecture-Recitals (PLL) section. The PLL component is unique among scholarly publications, as it validates work of those in the performing arts, regardless of the fact that the offering was originally conveyed through non-written media. Moreover, all material accepted for publication by PLL also receives a formal published review, and such reviews are often useful for the promotion of professionals in the field.
Last but not least are our revised Forums, which are now shorter and to the point, featuring essays, responses, and commentaries. A “symposium” is a meeting where there is knowledgeable discussion, and the fact that our journal is named Symposium manifests the significance of dialogue at the heart of our publication. The Forums component, which now has an open Comments section, permits this important, real-time discourse. As we face the serious challenges of the future for music in higher academe, it is important that we engage in a free exchange of ideas, that we explore topics, question beliefs, share experiences, and learn from each other.
Turning to the contents of Issue 58.2, we see a sampling of what is to come. Kevin Smith, in his sobering and timely Forum essay, laments the closing of his university music department, an act that has become all too common. In Hanson’s Forum, he shares his experiences teaching in a student-centered environment, and Yang explores cross-disciplinary, team teaching—all three Forums are ripe for discussion. Our six scholarly articles in this issue cover a gamut of topics, including Gutierrez’s study involving student evaluations of Music Theory courses, Attas’s examination of teaching Music Theory students, Abeles and Doyle on promotion and tenure processes, Coles’s investigation of career clarity in the music profession, Hoose’s examination of the revival of vinyl records, and Reddick’s position on popular music’s use in teaching analytical concepts.
The Reviews cover important technologies, as Sink examines Ableton Live Intro, Vaculíková explores Rocksmith, and Arlin looks at the online quizzing platform, Show It! Belck reviews a lively recording of big band performances by students from the University of Central Florida Jazz Studies Program, and Bowyer reviews a thoughtful recording of a clarinet trio from of the music faculty at the Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, Columbia. Books reviewed include Isacoff’s When the World Stopped to Listen, reviewed by Victor Rosenbaum; Slatkin’s Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, reviewed by Alexander Brown; and Damschroder’s Harmony in Chopin reviewed by Benjamin Ayotte. And one offering in our Performances, Lectures, Lecture-Recital component is published in issue 58.2, that is, Jocelyne Binet’s Cycle de Mélodies: Unearthing a Forgotten Song Cycle, which is a Lecture-Recital by Matthew Hoch (including video and full transcription), with John Nix as the reviewer. This “new” Symposium issue is diverse and vibrant and the beginning of much more to come.