02/27/07 The Enterprise of Music and Learning
From the Journal for Music-in-Education:
This first section of the Journal for Music-in-Education tells the stories of several musical artists at different points in their careers: a promising young composer, a celebrated concert pianist, an extensively recorded improvisation artist, and a recent conservatory graduate embarking on a career in world music.
These portraits are not intended to foreground the impressive trajectory of their musical accomplishments, but rather to draw out a clearer understanding of how a life in music can be defined by the deep yearning to learn, teach, serve, and connect with others. These portraits showâ€”in the words of the artists themselves and in commentary from their mentors and peersâ€”that musical endeavors take on greater depth through a broad range of social encounters, role modeling, reflective thinking, and community involvement, all of which are becoming better understood as essential to the successful education of the performing artist in society today.
Thus, the enterprise of learning music for the highly trained artist, as represented in these chapters, takes on a particular significance as a â€œtransformativeâ€model for public school education. Time-lapse documentation of Julia Careyâ€™s childhood notations presents an intriguing mosaic of how childrenâ€™s understanding of music evolves over time. Yet her simultaneously expanding interests in academic excellence and role modeling through community engagement provide the larger picture of a musician preparing herself for rich and mutually satisfying connections to people and thus for meaningful contributions to society itself. Lorin Hollanderâ€™s precocious sense of musicâ€™s interdisciplinary association with physics,literature,and psychology and his depiction of personal transformation through mentorship can help educators appreciate the potential contributions of musical understanding to young childrenâ€™s cognitive, aesthetic, and social-emotional wellness and to the solution of systemic social problems, such as the disillusionment ofour youth,cultural intolerance, or violence in our schools and among nations.
The divergent roles musicians play in society is also emphasized in the reflections by Michael Cain and Randy Wong. Both provide extensive detail of their experiences sidestepping their early classical training and choosing to â€œtake delightâ€in exploring other forms of musical genre and culture. Here again, the evolving models of musicians and music in education are seen from the perspective of how engagement in ensemble improvisation and world music outside the conventions of classical traditions can support our youth, who yearn to connect contemporary modes and media of self-expression to our changing society,as Mr.Cainputs it,â€œaround the world and around the block.â€
- Download JMIE 2007, Part I. Yearning to Connect: The Enterprise of Music and Learning [2 MB, .pdf]