This post is intended to solicit some feedback for a thought that has been occurring to me while participating in Paul Burdick’s MIE course, “Performing Artists in Community Outreach.” Throughout the first three weeks of class I have become familiar with various definitions of what a ‘community’ is, but couldn’t help but notice that when one uses the term ‘outreach,’ it often only refers to select/few types of communities. These are primarily for schools and assisted living centers.
To me there are many reasons for this. For example, I can see these two types of communities as gaining the most enrichment from an outreach program, especially that of music. There is no doubt that lives are enhanced by what a performing artist can do in these venues. Beyond that I also see a need for outreach within these institutions. Schools need people to come in from the outside world to display an infinite amount of things that prove invaluable to students. Assisted living centers need our performances to among many other things provide an escape from the everyday. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what we as performing artists can and of course actually do at these facilities, but what about the other communities?
Most of the people on this planet are not in grade schools nor are they in assisted living centers? Do these people in the long mid-roads of their life not need enrichment and outreach the same way as our young and our elderly? Can they not benefit all the same or perhaps even more? Is there some way we can bring outreach to other communities, more regular communities, communities we have yet to think of? Yet to penetrate?
What do you think?
Andy Stetson is an undergraduate trumpet performance major in his senior year at NEC. As an MIE Concentration student, Andy was the lead organizer for the 2006 Music-in-Education National Consortium conference held at NEC, and has written an article titled “Hands Across The Americas: Experiencing the Transformative Power of Music in Venezuela,” which will be published in the Inaugural Issue of the Journal for Music-in-Education, 2007.