Leading Change in Turbulent Times
The storm of COVID-19 has demanded that we narrow our priorities. Focus on what matters most. Fight for what we love. We should not dismiss the pains of this pandemic, as too many of us have witnessed friends and colleagues become ill or have lost loved ones to the virus’ suffocating grip. And as devastating as the mounting statistics are, the depths of the impact of the pandemic cannot be measured alone in body counts, as its far reaching impacts on culture and on the livelihoods of creatives are undeniable. Rather, we need to learn from its stark lessons of what a world void of music feels like.
For me, this has been a reminder of the rare place musicians occupy in society. We are in the business of sparking curiosity, fostering creativity, expanding the imagination, building collaborative capacity, and growing empathy. These are the ingredients that empower people to shape the human experience. These are the mindsets needed to invent a better future. And it is we, members of the College Music Society, who are privileged to carry this torch forward.
What makes me believe this?
Music is embraced throughout every culture, and everywhere music helps to construct identity. Technology provides musicians and scholars unprecedented access to global audiences and to each other. Communities gather around music to mourn collective hardships and celebrate shared moments. And parents understand the cognitive benefits their children gain when engaging in musical experiences.
Yet a convergence of existential threats – an industry-wide pivot toward a failing gig economy; the unprecedented disruption brought on by a global pandemic; an enrollment crisis attributable to crippling student debt, rising costs, and a shrinking student population; institutional structures built on racist hierarchies that center on Euro-centric culture – remind us of the work that lies ahead.