Music Education

benedict cathyCathy L. Benedict, Florida International University
CMS Board Member for Music Education

The music education advisory board continued to build on the strategy of the mission of CMS. The board views its own mission as one that engages in outreach throughout the music education community through sessions and discussions situated not only under the auspices of CMS but through other conference and educative venues as well.  

The strength of the music education board is made manifest in the career representation of its members.  From preservice to late career representation the advisory board is poised to think through education issues from a broad spectrum, thus positioning itself to speak to multiple constituencies. 


The music education board contributed to the Symposium in an article titled “Thinking Beyond Curriculum and Pedagogy.”  This was a particularly successful endeavor as all members of the board contributed to this piece.  In this article we posed questions that were intended to provoke the thinking of how and what music education is and can be.  While there was no clear agreement among the committee itself it is this kind of discussion and willingness to address these issues that remain in flux that speaks to our dedication to the field.

Curriculum and pedagogy

We stay in contact through email discussing possible connections in venues outside of CMS. We continue to discuss among ourselves whether curriculum can be dictated and set and those ways pedagogy is embedded in all curricular models. One of our concerns is how many outside of music education in CMS have never had classes in curriculum development and pedagogical engagements. We are concerned about the ways in which philosophical underpinnings that either do not go articulated or run counter to furthering musicing environments might not lead toward deeper understandings and the desire to further one’s connection to the musical encounter.  To this end we seek to think through proposals that may address this issue at up coming conferences.

Connections to other organizations

In particular the music education advisory connection with other organizations remain strong.  The advisory board members continue to use their connections to spread the word about CMS in particular our relationship with NAfME and SMTE continues to move forward.  

At the recent Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE) meeting at Greensboro, NC there were many reminders (and shout outs) for the CMS / SMTE connection.  The theme for this conference was “Navigating Crossroads”. David Myers, as one of the plenary speakers, articulated CMS president Pat Campbell’s initiative:  CMS Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major.  Several presentations were also dedicated to reimagining and re-visioning the undergraduate curriculum. Consequently David Myers’ message from CMS served to solidify not only the theme of the conference but the beliefs and desires of most if not all of the Music Teacher Educators and graduate students at this conference.

A few particular notes:

1. Susan Conkling addressed the need for there to be a direct link to CMS on the SMTE website. This suggestion is being followed upon.

2. The main goal at each SMTE meeting is to establish action plans that are linked to the goals and mission statement of each Areas for Strategic Planning and Actions. These action goals have fostered and resulted in multiple and direct research studies, articles, and joint projects each of which are reported the following year at the conference.  Part of the discussion this year was to address the projects and research that come forth as an outgrowth of connections made at the SMTE conference that might not be directly linked back to the ASPAS.  These kind of interdisciplinary connections are at the heart of the CMS mission.  To that end, how can we keep better track of the projects that arise out of the synergistic connections that happen at CMS gatherings?  How can we better support those connections?  How can we make them more visible?  

3.  The concept of “speed dating” arose.  This idea might be incorporated as a format to present research or ideas that want to be furthered and shared.  It would be framed around ideas with the specific goal of interrogation – something in which debates were encouraged.  Indeed, issues of curriculum and pedagogy might be an excellent focus for such a format in which brief points could be make and critiqued before moving on to the next idea.

The advisory board remains committed to furthering the mission of CMS and plans to submit for program participation for the 2014 conference.