A few conference musings


About 2 weeks ago I was at the North Carolina Music Educator's Association Annual Conference. I am grateful that I was able to attend and share my research posters as well as reconnect with teacher friends and higher ed friends. While there I overheard some very interesting comments that got me thinking. "The whole point of technology is to make our lives easier." I love technology. I love teaching with it. I do typically think it makes my life easier. But is this the primary point of technology? I'm not convinced the main point is to make our lives easier. I think technology has many, many aims including: access to information, new ways of doing things, new ways of learning, more efficient ways of doing things, more efficient ways to handle multiple things at a time, and yes, hopefully to make our lives easier.

"Concert dress. It's a level of respect issue." "We want to train students to be professional musicians so they should not be handing out programs before the concert" (parents should do that). Since we have been reading Christopher Small's "Musicking" in my Philosophy of Music Ed class these comments really struck me. These comments by parents and teachers are completely wrapped up perceptions of the "right" kind of concert. I wonder if those perceptions are really the kind of concert we should all be striving for. Is the elite atmosphere of classical concerts truly what's most important? Will there be a future for classical music if we continue to focus on concert clothes and outdated etiquette?

"I love this guy! We were in Honors Chorus together and he was at Governor's School." This was squealed by a high school girl in line to perform with the Honors Chorus. I just love what music can do for people. I love that she has made friends and acquaintances from all over the state thanks to her musical opportunities. I love that she can see someone from down the street and instantly have memories and connections with them thanks to music.

"Let your administrators and legislators know how you felt about what you heard here today." The person who introduced the Honors Chorus concert gave a beautiful speech about the importance of music in schools and our ability to advocate for music. I found it very striking that she focused on how the audience felt after the concert. Her pleas for the importance of music in schools were not based on test scores, performance in other subjects, or what music can do for troubled students. Her love of music and argument for keeping it in schools were based on how it makes you feel. This was incredibly refreshing to me.