“Is this all you do?”
“You teach the students to actually read music right?”
I’m having trouble understanding why creative, open ended composition and improvisation are equated with students not learning to read or build technique with their voices or instruments.
What if I asked the same questions to others who are not doing much or any composing or creative work. “Is teaching to read and build technique all you do?”
I am becoming curious what would happen if a music class or department decided to focus only on creative work: how music education can be a way to hear and interact with our surroundings, taking into account that each of our creative perception is unique and valid and that beauty can exist in the sounds around us, we are the composers of our soundscape and responsible for how it may or may not effect us.
What will happen if students just composed and improvised pieces for special occasions and locations around their school, to match their emotions or the feelings they want to have?
Really, let’s play it out.
For one, students may not learn to read notation, what will this mean? No more music schools as we know them? (How many of our students go on to post secondary music study?) How might new post secondary music study look?
Would there eventually be no more orchestras as we know them? Do public schools create orchestra players or do privilege, class, and cultural background do this? Do we just teach music because we were taught music (and teach it in that same fashion)? Is there not more to it?
And, what if there were no more orchestras? What would change?
Does music put food on the table? What does it do?
My creative idea for the classroom this week is for a challenge for us as music educators to continue to think about what it is we want music education to offer students who might not go on to study music. What do we believe music offers to them and us? What might a definition of music, larger than our current one include? What might our current one exclude?
I truly do not wish to lose orchestras but I would like to suggest that music education is much bigger than that issue. I feel that if we do not believe this we will fall to even more cuts. It would seem that we can no longer afford to give specialized technical training to all to benefit the few that might use it.