In Conversation with President Keith Ward

Keith Ward

Now with summer commencing and most academic terms reaching or having reached closure, it’s time to initiate those summer projects. I hope part of your summer will be spent reflecting on curricular change, one of the pressing topics of our time. Of the many challenges today, our students need to be stylistically nimble in negotiating multiple genres, technologically savvy, and entrepreneurial. My column this week focuses on contributions to that conversation in recent years by members of The Society.

One of the better known publications advocating for change is the report by the CMS Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major, also known as the Manifesto, published in November 2014. It has engendered much discussion and has positioned itself as a catalyst for change. Curricular development also has been a major topic for CMS throughout its history. Its seminal work in the 1980s and 1990s on music in general studies was influential, and the summits on music school design, directed by David Cutler at the University of South Carolina, are important contributions to the dialogue. (The second summit is scheduled for January 2019.) Our members also have written an array of articles in the Symposium.

In this time of change, all these resources offer examples of CMS inviting you to be participatory, thoughtful, and engaged in our work of influencing music curriculum development in higher education.

The following list of sources highlights writings by CMS members in The Society’s publications. On the topic of curricular reform, it is far from exhaustive. So much has been written in academic and popular presses, and there are impressive initiatives, such as 21CM.org, run by Mark Rabideau at DePauw University, that could be cited. My goal is to offer to CMS members recent writings from our membership that The Society has published as a way to acknowledge contributions to the dialogue by CMS.   

Consider these:

College Music Society Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major. Transforming Music Study from its Foundations: A Manifesto for Progressive Change in the Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors, November 2014. The original report may also be found as Chapter 4 in Ed Sarath, David Myers, and Patricia Campbell, Redefining Music Studies in an Age of Change: Creativity, Diversity, and Integration (New York: Routledge, 2017), a book that expands upon the original CMS report.

Drapkin, M. “Recommended Course Additions to the Higher Education Music Curriculum.” College Music Symposium 57 (4 February 2015).

Goodstein, Rick E., Eric J Lapin, Ron C. McCurdy. “The Future of Arts Performance in Higher Education,” College Music Symposium 57 (22 March 2017).

Mantie, Roger, Sarah Gulish, Greg McCandless, Ted Solis, and David Williams. “Creating Music Curricula of the Future: Preparing Undergraduate Music Students to Engage.” College Music Symposium 57 (27 September 2017).

Pike, Pamela. “The Ninth Semester: Preparing Undergraduates to Function as Professional Musicians in the 21st Century,College Music Symposium 55 (4 June 2015).

Slaughter, J & Springer, D.G. “What They Didn’t Teach Me in My Undergraduate Degree: An Exploratory Study of Graduate Student Opinions of Career Development Opportunities.” College Music Symposium 55 (20 October 2015).

Stepniak, Michael.  “Beyond Beauty, Brilliance, and Expression: On Reimagining Jazz and Classical Music Performance Training & Reconnecting with the General Public.” College Music Symposium 57 (21 September 2017).

Talbott, Christy J. “The Changing Face of Music as a Career.” College Music Symposium 53 (14 June 2013).

21st Century Music School Design, a Summit produced by the College Music Society and the University of South Carolina, David Cutler, Director. Summer 2016.

How do these writings reflect or affect your current thoughts on curricular reform? Do they provide insight and inspiration? What ideas challenge you? Do you disagree with them? Are there arguments that may contribute to the conversations on your campus? How will you respond?

Happy reading!