nemko deborahDeborah Nemko, Bridgewater State University
CMS Board Member for Performance

The Performance Advisory Council (PAC) is pleased to report a lively year of activities and meetings.  Our panel discussion at the St. Louis National Conference in 2014 featured a follow-up discussion to the panel on assessment in music performance from the 2013 CMS Conference. The topic, implementing the use of portfolios for music performance assessment, was first suggested by audience members following the panel presentation at the Cambridge conference.  In direct response to this feedback, the PAC proposed a panel entitled “Is the Use of Portfolios in Assessing Music Performance Outcomes in Applied Music "All That and a Bag of Chips?"”  The panel at the St. Louis 2014 conference, featuring Francesca Arnone, Manabu Takasawa, and Heather Maclaughlin Garbes, with Deborah Nemko as moderator, proposed three approaches to the topic of assessment: (1) advocacy for portfolios, (2) a blend of portfolios and traditional assessment like juries, and (3) complete disdain (!) for portfolios.  Although the actual positions were not the beliefs held by the panelists, having these positions so beautifully described by them led to a lively and provocative discussion with attendees.  Following the panel in St. Louis and in discussions with CMS members the PAC recognizes a specific interest and enthusiasm for panels and workshops on the collaboration between composer and performer.  To that end, we have submitted “Making Music Together: Composer and Performer Collaborations” for the 2015 national conference in Indianapolis.  

The PAC is pleased to see an increase in the number and quality of performance-based presentations at the St. Louis Conference in 2014 and hopes this trend will continue.  As self-identified at almost 40% of the membership, performers are a large part of the organization and programming that matches their needs and interests is essential to maintaining and increasing membership.

Some areas potential areas of focus by the PAC and CMS for the year 2015 include

  • examination of the use of the internet for collaborative “web performance,”
  • webinars for CMS on performance practice in Latin-American classical music,
  • advocacy for the inclusion of underrepresented composers in composers concerts and other parts of the conference programs, and
  • a discussion of the potential impact of the Report of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Curriculum on the future of music education as it relates to the role of the performer/instructor in academia. 

The PAC is looking forward to enhancing further awareness of the overlapping missions of music disciplines including greater collaboration with the other councils and committees. The meeting of the groups included in the “roundtables” that were held in St. Louis was a good basic step towards creating a spirit of community and communication in the organization and the PAC would like to encourage more forums for this kind of healthy exchange of ideas.  In addition, the PAC would like to see the return to the inclusion of the open forum for performance from previous conferences, a setting in which CMS members can feel comfortable providing real and necessary feedback to the organization. Panels on the first day seem to have replaced the “open forum” model entirely and, perhaps, reexamining the full-participation free-for-all that characterized the open forums of the past may be of use as we proceed as an organization and try to increase both the numbers and participation of our membership.

We live in a critical time of change and renewal in music and in the academy.  It is with thoughtful enthusiasm the PAC looks towards 2015 and beyond.