At Large

myers davidDavid Myers, University of Minnesota
CMS Board Member At Large


This report lists activities for the calendar year 2013.  I continue to appreciate the opportunity to serve College Music Society as the first at-large board member, and to participate in helping to define this position.  I am pleased that the board has supported an additional year in the first term of this position, which gives time for further conversation and review re: the role of the at-large board member.

Board Meeting and Conference Attendance

I attended the board meeting in Dallas in February 2013, where I reported on the first year’s work.  This year, I continued my efforts to dialogue with and represent the interests of various constituencies who do not have a direct board representative and who feel they would like some assurance that their concerns and interests are represented at the board level (see below).  In October, I attended the national conference in Cambridge, where I offered a presentation at the pre-conference symposium on the Artist Citizen and chaired an open dialogue session on the work of the national task force on the undergraduate music major curriculum.  During this time I met with representatives of various constituencies and attended some of their caucuses and sessionsI have also conferred with and encouraged advisory committee members for the at-large board position to propose sessions for the 2013 conference in Boston.  At least one proposal has been submitted.

Advisory Committee for at-large Board Member

Endeavoring to have direct routes of communication with leaders of various interests that might be represented by the at-large board member, my current advisory committee consists of the following members.  In each case, I have indicated their suggestions as to important avenues/directions they see for CMS.  I am impressed by these thoughtful observations.  Most notable, perhaps, is the persistent theme of collaborative communication and action-taking as a result.  

1. Peter Webster (technology) 

One item that haunts us is the removal by NASM of stated requirements for music units to include music technology competence.  Our discussions with colleagues at the 2012 and 2013 meetings revealed this to be a concern for those of us that champion good quality MUSIC technology understanding by all graduates of music programs.   The confusion seems to rest on the idea among some that technology is so pervasive in the lives of youth that certainly they understand what they need to know as music majors.   The problem is that today's youth understand some things about technology in general but not core and critical notions about music technology to enable themselves to function at a high level as music professionalsI feel that CMS should take a strong position on this question and set up some kind of interesting and meaningful interaction with NASM on this question.   Perhaps some kind of joint task force that might address this matter.

2.  Judith Jellison (music for special needs learners)

As part of its mission, CMS “promotes diversity and interaction,” and this is seen in respective activities, publications and presentations.  Most appear to focus on attributes of culture, ethnicity, and race, and this is commendable.   I’m not aware of other CMS activities that address issues concerning age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other differences among people, although there may be some.  The broader issue of diversity and a culture of inclusion requires a continuing and “fresh” dialogue, one that leads to the identification of specific concerns with respect to undergraduate and graduate programs and faculty development.  Although most campuses have offices dedicated to issues of diversity, CMS can revitalize and stimulate creative ideas regarding the broad issue of diversity in music programs, ranging from curricular issues to accessible venues for performances.

 I find that most faculty and the students they teach are unaware of disability issues ranging from attitude formation, which can lead to discriminatory practices, and strategies to improve the music learning experience.  On a regular basis, in classes and in conversations, I encounter faculty and graduate students who are teaching individuals with disabilities in studios and/or classrooms.  They feel inadequate and wish they had had some information, resources, and training in their degree programs.  Faculty have little guidance, with the exception of suggestions to include statements on their syllabi referring students to offices of services for students with disabilities.   Most are unaware of ADA requirements and other laws mandating access to programs and venues, and equally important, ways in which they can facilitate quality music experiences for their students and other individuals with disabilities on campus and in surrounding communities.

 Following the suggestions of Patrick and Peter for issues they addressed, at the conference dialogues can begin among individuals who have interests in specific topics of diversity, particularly those that have received little attention in publications and presentations.  Such a dialogue may lead to plans of action to heighten awareness and provide resources. At the local level, individuals may wish to serve as advocates and consultants on their own campuses, collaborating and coordinating efforts with appropriate offices.  Other ideas would be forthcoming in such a dialogue.

3.  Richard Schmunk (music industry)

There's a pervasive concern that music business related topics are  largely missing from the national conference program and that proposals in this subject area are regularly passed over by the program committee. The specific music industry/business academic organization is MEIEA. In the past I felt this was a weak organization and the quality of the conference was not up to the standards of other academic organizations. I have not been involved with MEIEA for several years and perhaps the committee should take a closer look at what's happening now. There may be a good opportunity to collaborate there.  Otherwise relationships with industry are good and both Robbie and Don should be congratulated for the successful Generation Next program at NAMM 2014.

4.  Patrick Schmidt (music and arts policy)

Thank you for asking for our perspectives on these topics. I wonder if there is a structural way in which a space is or can be directed at similar wide ranging discussions during the conference itself.  I hope that the work your committee on the undergraduate curriculum will generate some of that space, where key issues are presented (via a summation of the work of the committee) and then space is created for discussion.  I am sure you are already considering something where sharing of information and dialogue is at center.  It would be interesting perhaps even to have  a ‘white paper’ from the committee that would be distributed in advance.  The reformulation of the undergraduate curriculum is such a important issue. 

It seems to me that technology, pedagogy, entrepreneurship and policy are key concepts that CMS could continue to emphasize and consider in strategic ways.  They are, in my view, significant in terms of the formation of professionals (who need understandings that are cross reaching and expand and contextualize content and skill) as well as organizational needs, so that CMS can expand its role as a facilitator of ingenuity within the field. These could also be areas to jumpstart a conversation about the role of our graduate programs and what does it mean, today, to consider the ‘core needs’ of a specializing professional in the field, independent of the area of focus. 

Conference Sessions and Dialogues

1. I met with the Cultural Inclusion (CI) Committee, George Torres, Chair, and listened to their discussion on a range of issues; Pan American initiatives; recruitment and mentoring diverse faculty; minority faculty leaders; and the role of the CI Committee.  As are all groups within CMS, the CI Committee is eager to have a visible presence and to have its work and contributions disbursed among the membership.  CI is concerned that it does not have a seat on the board and is frustrated in not knowing how to communicate with the membership – particularly with the fact that all communications to the membership must go through the national office.  The mission of the CI committee is not on the CMS website.  The committee also discussed redefining the mission of CI to be more inclusive, asking its members to think about “what’s being exluded.”

2.  I attended a community engagement session and spoke with several members of the Community Engagement committee.  Though this has not previously been an identified constituency for the at-large board member, Suzanne Burton, chair, has indicated that some board representation would be useful.  I am now on the CE listserve and am paying close attention to the excellent proactive work that Suzanne and her committee are doing.

3.  I met with Rick Schmunk, the new chair of the music industry committee.  Rick believes there is a disconnect between entrepreneurship, careers outside the academy, and music business within CMS and urges more dialogue among these interests.  As indicated above, his group feels there ought to be a stronger emphasis within CMS on music industry considerations, opportunities, and information for the membership.

It is my humble privilege to serve in this important capacity and to try to be a voice for some of the interests who do not have designated seats on the board.  I thank CMS for the opportunity.