Music in General Studies - A Wingspread Conference

Chappell White


  • To explore curricular experiences in music for college and university students who are not majoring in music;
  • To create a national awareness of the need to strengthen music in general studies;
  • To develop recommendations for improving music instruction in general studies;
  • To encourage improvement in the professional status of teachers of music in general studies; and
  • To identify possibilities for post-conference programs and activities


The Johnson Foundation holds more than seventy-five conferences at Wingspread each year on a wide array of topics and issues. It is rare for music to be a topic of a Wingspread conference. This is because the Foundation focuses its attention on immediate and pressing issues confronting society -- such as arms control, immigration policy, race relations and environmental protection.

And yet we need to be reminded of what the bard of Stratford observed: "The man that hath no music in himself nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, strategems and spoils."

If Shakespeare's Lorenzo was right and the man that hath no music in himself is not to be trusted, why then do we give music so little heed in general education? Perhaps it is because music is so pervasive in our society, an almost constant background in our homes, cars and public places. The problem is that while music is pervasive, there is little awareness of what music is and how it effects society and influences the human mind, emotions and spirit. It was from this perspective that The Johnson Foundation welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the College Music Society in a conference to consider the place of music in general studies.

In the conference that took place at Wingspread we saw sights raised and inklings become convictions. The discussions served to confirm that music is a measure of society's health and vitality. In talking about the music courses they teach, participants illustrated the potential of music as a medium for exploring the range of values that art, literature and other disciplines explore. Lively exchanges focused on music's role as a vehicle for control as well as for liberation.

In the 1977 report of the panel on The Significance of the Arts for American Education, David Rockefeller, Jr., said ". . . When we let the arts into the arena of leaming, we run the risk that color and motion and music will enter our lives."

The report of the College Music Society Wingspread conference that follows will be of special interest to music educators. It will also interest any and all who are open and ready to see general studies programs give students more and better opportunities to risk developing discerning judgment about and keener responsiveness to music.

Henry Halsted
Vice President
The Johnson Foundation


The position of music in general studies has been an important concern of the College Music Society throughout its history. The Society for Music in the Liberal Arts College helped found CMS in 1958, and the teaching of general students as well as music majors has frequently been a topic of discussion in the Society's meetings and publications. The immediate background of Wingspread, however, may be said to have begun in 1977 when, on the recommendation of President Robert Werner, the Board of the Society established the position of Member-at-large for Music in General Education. At about the same time, the National Association of Schools of Music began to turn its attention to the same area, and early in 1979 issued a strong set of guidelines for NASM member institutions. At the CMS national meeting in 1979, NASM President Warner Imig reported on the new statement and led a vigorous discussion.

Clearly, the feeling was widespread that the profession of teaching music needed to turn its attention to the training of audiences and amateurs. Someone needed to take the leadership, and officers of CMS and NASM began informal talks to determine the proper steps.

The National Association of Schools of Music is an organization of institutions, and its first duty is the accreditation of programs that lead to music degrees. In other areas, as pointed out to the Wingspread Conference by NASM Vice-president Tom Miller, it can only recommend. And its membership includes only 500 of the more than 1400 colleges that offer music courses.

The leaders of CMS and NASM concluded, therefore, that the first formal steps should be the responsibility of CMS. In April of 1980 President Chappell White appointed a committee to propose a plan. By the time of the national meeting in October, a proposal for the conference had been presented to the Johnson Foundation, and more than 100 persons had been nominated in response to a call to the membership for the identification of teachers who had been exceptionally successful in courses designed for the general student.

In April 1981, the Johnson Foundation graciously offered its support, including the magnificent facilities of Wingspread. CMS President Barbara Maris appointed David Willoughby, Member-at-Large for Music in General Education, to serve as conference director. Approximately thirty nominees, of whom only one was a CMS officer, were invited to attend, along with fourteen representatives of CMS. Thus on July 10th the Wingspread Conference on Music in General Studies came into being.

Behind the creation of the Wingspread Conference lay the conviction that music in American higher education needed a new emphasis. Although music appreciation courses and amateur performance have long been part of the traditional college scene, the success of these activities in building a knowledgeable public must be questioned. Especially in the thirty years after World War II, when student enrollments were high, the best efforts of college music educators were often turned toward programs for the specialists; in such programs, it seemed, lay prestige and professional fulfillment.

Concentration on the specialist, however, carried with it the danger that the musical artists of the future would have little or no public interested in their art. The responsibility of music teachers in the American college cannot be to professional excellence only; it is to the entire range of music and ultimately to the society which must be served by music. It is high time that the imagination and energy of the music profession be turned towards the education of the music public, which alone can be the basis of the musical society we hope to create.


Three position papers and a charge to the participants opened the conference on Friday evening, July 10. Robert Trotter spoke to "colleagues concerned with courses aimed at developing connoisseurs, responsive, reflective qualified listeners, those who concentrate on one of the three musical behaviors -- composing, performing and listening. Helping people develop their desire and capacity to respond and reflect demands almost virtuosic ability to keep a delicate balance of rigor and imagination, relating knowledge of subject matter, curricular planning and concern for students' growth. Since instruction almost always takes place in large groups, it also requires from both introverted and extroverted teachers a modicum of intensity. Many people who do it caringly might need two kinds of help: in curricular planning and in political matters -- that is, in their self-image of being specialists and as the self-image affects job descriptions, assignments, salaries, promotion and tenure.

"The College Music Society can develop vehicles for mutually supportive dialogue and debate, related to teachers of music for general campus and commu, nity students; publications of instructional materials, workshops, and consultative services. These need to focus on defining: what students after instruction can do and what their attitude is about doing it; what resources and instructional activities a teacher needs in order to achieve those aims; what kinds of evaluative techniques tell teachers about their students' achievements, attitudes, and readiness to integrate results of instruction into personal value systems.

"I want to pay attention to how information can serve knowledge, knowledge can serve intellectual abilities, and how all three can serve such potentially useful states of being as acquaintance with a global heritage, understanding something of its essence, valuing it as a raw material for dialogue with others. I want to sense an interplay in myself between passionate involvement and detached, quasi-anthropological observing. Three sample topics for debate of the sort I want: (1) covering repertory while offering information about details of stylistic analysis is not the essential point of such courses; (2) all musical styles are valid and approximately one-fifth of a survey course needs to be devoted to each of five repertories, one of which is Gregorian chant to Stravinsky; (3) a chronological overview of our classical heritage is an important topic and disastrous basic aim."

Vada Butcher sketched the background of "those factors and events which have helped to shape the role of general music in higher education in recent years," and then turned to the desirability and the problems in presenting folk and ethno-musicological material in introductory materials. "For the past quarter of a century at least," said Professor Butcher, "higher education has functioned as a microcosm of the larger society as it seeks viable solutions to such problems as demographic change, human rights, energy depletion, and economic instability. The professional disciplines, securely anchored by their ties to the work ethic and society's commitment to mass education, have managed to survive these ideological storms with minimal disruptions. General education, on the other hand, is frequently the center of controvesy, and often finds itself hard-pressed to defend its goals of cultural enrichment and preparation for responsible citizenship. As generalists, we are all too aware of the pressures exerted by a society which is currently preoccupied with career preparation, electronic technology, and financial security. It is painfully apparent that the prestige of general studies on the university campus is slowly diminishing under the weight of technology and the job market.

"The status of general music within this fix is not easily determined. On the one hand, its goals are indisputably consistent with the objectives of general education in America. On the other side, however, the intangibility and temporal nature of music demand special methodology. The more effective learning experiences in music do not fit easily into traditional institutional schedules. Historically, general music has not enjoyed the respect of college and university faculty. More often than not, these classes are assigned to the youngest, most inexperienced instructors, and instructional techniques in general music courses have remained seriously immune to recent developments in higher education and society in general.

"In response to global developments, many institutions have initiated introductory courses in ethnic music. However, there has been a similiar lack of success in dealing with some of the problems which attend these courses. There is a strong tendency to emphasize the diversity of our society and neglect its undertying unity. The examination of folk song as documentation of cultural history is a legitimate pursuit, but this kind of exercise frequently turns into an exploration of literature and language instead of the study of music. Such concepts as timbre, rhythm, melodic contour and simple structure can be learned through the study of any number of music cultures, but highly developed organization is more typical of European concert music. How should this be handled? And finally how can one construct a meaningful, substantive course in ethnic music for undergraduate liberal arts majors without straying into the area of ethnomusicology? I sincerely hope that there will be time for consideration of ethnic music courses, for I feel that these are the courses through which we can speak most effectively to the major social issues of our time."

Elaine Brody expressed a "desperate" concern that the "non-major is getting short shrift in the current academic and financial climate. " Her concern focuses largely on the graduate students who so often teach the courses aimed at general students. "Most graduate students in recent years have had the poorest preparation for such undergraduate teaching. They have been learnng more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing. They can describe in minute detail the notation of a 16th century manuscript, but ask the same students to present a Tchaikovsky symphony to a survey class and they are at a total loss.

"The future of music departments in colleges and universities today rests with the non-majors. With registrations and enrollments predicted to fall for some rime to come the only way we can garner enough students in the coming decade is to focus our attention on the non-majors. We must become service departments, enriching the lives of those students who intend to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, law, business, theology. We must engage our best professors in this task, and we must insist that their efforts be acknowledged and rewarded by central administration. We should also expand the training of our graduate Students. We should make time to give them the kind of education that will prepare them for the future as well as for research. We cannot afford to dismiss the art of teaching as inevelant to the preparation of the university scholar. He must know how to place himself in the shoes of the novice-the unprepared, the uninformed freshman who comes to him with the basis for a lifetime of pleasure.

"The severity of the cuts in the Federal budget about to be imposed on the creative arts and on artists will be a deterrent to innovative teaching as well as to artistic productivity, but we are going to have to try to maneuver around these restrictions. If we don't, if we can't, our future is bleak indeed.

"I have a suggestion, a practical way of cutting expenses in those schools where departments teach majors and non-majors in completely different classes. In biology or chemistry classes, everyone is subjected to the same rigorous discipline. Their future plans may not correspond, but they travel the same route for basic courses. The average non-major presents us with special problems because of his utterly inadequate precollege training in music. But I would sooner see these non-majors in classes with music majors than face the possibility of the virtual elimination of music departments. We must challenge this threat of total elimination on two fronts: first, we must try to combine music maj . ors and non-majors in the same classes to reduce overhead. On the second front, the graduate students must be given a thorough humanistic background. They should be grounded not only in music, but also in peripheral areas, those that impact upon the study of music and musicians: the history of art and of literature, of poetry, drama, criticism and, yes, the making of music itself. The piano, not only the phonograph, should be a required instrument for all graduate students who in tend to teach.

"The contemporary trend towards deconstructionism, the divorce of cultural history and social history and biography from music history, must be curtailed. Music does not now nor did it ever exist in a vacuum. I hope that as a result of our discussions this weekend we can become the catalysts that will effect some changes in curricula for music students in liberal arts colleges."

After a brief statement outlining the position of the National Association of Schools of Music (see introduction), Thomas Miller suggested four benefits which may accrue to the college community as a whole from the programs of the professional music school.

"First, schools with professional programs provide an extraordinarily rich concert life for the entire community. This richness includes professional quality faculty recitals and high-quatity student recitals and concerts. Universities have become significant presenters of the art of music to the general public, often at a considerable subsidy.

"Second, opportunities exist for all students to participate in music making with musicians who are training for a career. Thus both the professionally-oriented and the amateur are sensitized to the needs., qualities and aspirations of the other group.

"Third, formal classroom experience of two kinds is provided: one, courses and experiences for those with limited skills and background; and two, courses and experiences for those whose skills and background qualify them to participate with the professionally-oriented students. Formal coursework is the area generally defined as music in general studies. The definition should be broadened beyond credit-bearing courses to include both formal and informal experience.

"Finally, the school of music within the corporate scheme of a university ex emplifies an ideal relationship of music to society. It is capable of supplying highly qualified musicians to performing groups, as well as creative research and teaching positions to a range of institutions. It also influences the listening habits and cultural development of those students who will determine future listening tastes and who will patronize endeavors of professional musicians. The search for breadth of knowledge which distinguishes the university from other educational structures allows a school of music to pursue its uniqueness while sharing its universality. "

Robert Werner then delivered the forinal charge to the Conference. First relating the work of the Conference to the broad commitment of the College Music Society to "gather, consider and disseminate ideas on the philosophy and practice of music in higher education," he stressed the need to reach out to other associations. He reminded the participants of the new NASM guidelines, "based on the premise that there is a general convergence between the purpose of a musical education and the purposes of general liberal education. This gives us the philosophical background that is so important for us to work within. If we are to engage the very best minds and musicians among our faculty, we must reward them in all the ways academia has. And so it is appropriate that the College Music Society take the next step now in working with professors who are responsible for realizing these programs. You are models of the innovative and dedicated teacher in this area. It is for you now to join with us in realizing the hopes of the planners of this conference, to provide both national awareness and the means of addressing this need through your example, through your shared expe riences, and through your perceptions clearly articulated as a means of improving musical instruction for the general college student. You must find ways of involving students with music to provide them awareness of making their own value judgments about a wider range of music. This is important at all levels but particularly as we deal with what is to be the elite of our society, those who have obtained college education. They will be the next group of parents, board members, regents, and no doubt our presidents, deans and vice-presidents who make decisions about our programs. This is a rare opportunity for the profession, to take the hopes and beliefs and turn them into action and change.

"I believe the change should come basically in two areas:

"First, to provide curricular approaches, both practical and idealistic enough to capture the imagination of our profession and to give teachers the security to begin to implement new approaches or to evaluate the programs in each of his responsibilities. I use to work 'curriculum' in its very broadest meaning, not only the printed catalogues of our academic institutions or experiences as they occur in the classroom, but in the wider classroom of the community, television, ensembles and all the many ways that music is communicated and experienced.

"Second, to develop procedures for the important task of training further professionals and retraining present professionals to be able to respond to this need. We must lay a firm foundation for the development of future workshops, pubications and consultations that will continue the work of this conference.

"This is the challenge for the'80's, and it will be, as it has been in every decade, shaped by the ideals and vision of the officials instructed with this responsibility. This conference is an opportunity to respond to the challenge. We of CMS look forward to participating with you, and we hope that the experience of the next two days may serve as a basis for an even more exciting view of man's life with music in the future."


At the Second Plenary Session, the participants were divided into four discussion groups and given a specific task: to identify three priority issues. From what were evidently four quite different approaches, the groups arrived at a general consensus, at least as to the primary areas of concern.

The first issue revolves around the teacher, with emphasis on two points. First, how are new teachers of music in general studies to be trained and how are old teachers to be retrained in new concepts? Second, how can the profession be encouraged to recognize success in these courses and to give status to those who teach them? "General studies courses are not widely sought after by faculty and are not considered plums; occasionally, they are even assigned with a punitive attitude. "

The second issue concerns the objectives of a general studies course in music: in the words of one group, the "concepts to be learned;" for another group "the value of music and the philosophy of music in general studies curriculum;" for a third group, "what it is that we want the student to learn. " This entails specifically the "awareness of the roles of music and their relationship to other areas of thought and experience. " And the next step was also suggested: to discover some reliable means of determining the degree of success of a course for general students.

The third issue concerns the materials to be used in a music course for the general student: "repertories, specific works, styles." This is often a question of "breadth versus depth. How much can be included and how much should be included?"

In the discussion that followed the group reports, participants generally accepted the validity of the priority issues but brought up a variety of other related practical points. The feeling was expressed that we are not reaching a good many students whom we should reach, and this raised the issue of how general students get in music courses in the first place.

Students who are majoring in fields other than music come into music courses either to meet a portion of some core or distribution requirement or through the choice of a free elective. Thus a view of the music courses held by advisors and by specialists in other departments is of signal importance, because these people guide students' choices. Some advisors, it was pointed out, are not property in formed. "Advisors are not necessarily faculty members; they may represent the administration, they may be people who have been hired by some assistant or associate dean. That doesn't mean they know anything about what they're advising. They are simply there, probably, to fill up classes so that there is a spread of students, so that nobody has to pay anybody who doesn't have students to teach. They may have no understanding of what constitutes requirements for music and what should be suggested as an elective Course. "

On the other hand, a negative attitude on the part of advisors may be in large part the consequence of past experience, the result of poor teaching or low expectations on the part of the music department. "Many of those deans and administrators have been required in their college career to take a course in music and that's why they have little interest."

The usual campus view of music courses seems to be ambiguous. On the one hand, introductory courses in music are looked on as lacking substantive con tent; "music is like basket-weaving, not really very substantial." On the other hand, advisors may think that there are advantages for the students who have some prior musical experience, and that those students who do not have that experience are at a distinct disadvantage. "Music faculties stand accused by some of our colleagues of ignoring the study of music as cultural metaphor. They believe that if they want their students to become aware of cultural history and the way that cultural history influences lives, they will ask their students to go into art, because the iconographical approach makes it possible to recognize cultural meaning in a picture, painting, or sculpture. Music, then, is seen rightly or wrongly as deifying style and never getting around to cultural meaning." "Courses in popular culture, such as film, seem to relate directly to an understanding of experiences of life and society that perhaps makes them attractive, whereas the musical side of things seems, not too simple or too contentless, but too removed from the reality of the world." In recent years, many colleges have reduced or even abolished core requirements. "There is a tension that exists between general studies and specialization, and it seems in the last fifteen years to have gone entirely to the side of specialization. That is disastrous, given the way knowledge becomes obsolete in such a short period of time."

In addition, we face in music courses the difficulty that our "society is set on visual construct. Hence, theatre has some significance for this culture again, because the visual is involved. We are a visual people, and many of us who are not in music are against music simply because we don't understand. We don't know what it does to us. We know that it does something, but we don't need that kind of mystery stuff going on around us, and so we are directed in other areas."

One example of the usual position of music is the view of music theory cited at one institution. "The faculty does indeed say that music appreciation is a worthy pursuit for the bachelor of arts degree. But music theory is not, because music theory is thought to be a kind of grammar, equated with beginning foreign languages. We ought to counteract that. Theory is a way of thinking, a whole mode of thinking, rather than a series of consonants that we think about."

"There's got to be some effective way to deal with these various viewpoints -- either by dismissing them or combining them, but somehow overcoming them."


For the third Plenary Session, each of the four groups was asked to devise up to three potential solutions to the problems encountered in an assigned area. This was their most difficult task, and in some areas the groups were content to select an approach rather than formulate a solution. The first step, after all, is the definition of the problem and the direction of its solution.


Group A, charged with considering content of music courses in general studies, including repertoire, materials and goals, first warned that "repertoire is not really the most important aspect of talking about the content of a course for the general student in music. We should look at music as one of the vehicles for strengthening intellectual perceptions, for answering questions such as'Who am I and what is my relationship to the world?'"

Concerning their first recommendation, Group A spoke with strong unanimity: "Global music must in some way be part of our offerings. We have dealt too long with just the traditional western concert music." Again, however, there was a warning, this time against compartmentalization. "We must avoid the attitude, 'We'll have one week on non,western music and then let's get back to the real stuff. ' " Three means of organization for including non-western music were suggested: first, organization around the basic elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, etc.) using all types of music as "means of communicating ideas"; second, organization by geographical areas; and third, organization by contrast of oral and written traditions.

The second recommendation was to make more use of other resources and departments on the college campus. "We might coordinate more with Asian studies, Afro-American studies, American studies, languages."

Finally, Group A suggested that students be involved creatively in making and composing music themselves. "The more actively students are involved, the more they are going to take with them.


"If you're interested in broad repertory, you're going to have to be concerned with the rather limited repertory that our studio teachers are inclined to use. That is frequently more conservative than the repertory used by the classroom teacher, because the performer is under pressure to know a certain amount of literature, and performers get on the same kind of pedagogical track that they were put on by their own teachers.

"The thing about repertory is that we want the students to have as broad an exposure as possible rather than a limited one. It is more important that we stress a particular frame of mind, a thinking of music as a springboard for certain kinds of receptive response for looking at the world."


Group B discussed the pre-service and in-service preparation of teachers. Their three solutions were direct.

First, "the curricular approach, that is, the curriculum followed by graduate students in music who are presumably headed for teaching in general studies. It is important for graduate students to have a great breadth of knowledge, including such related areas as aesthetics and history of cultures. Practical areas which might be included are the ability to handle the piano as a teaching tool, the study of composition, and some knowledge of world music.

"The second approach is that of apprenticeship programs, which includes the type of work done by graduate assistants in many departments now, but it would not be limited to that. The kind of apprenticeship program we have in mind includes a course in pedagogy, techniques or methods, and actual teaching experience under guidance.

"The third approach is directed to people who are already college teachers currently engaged in teaching general studies. This approach involves a program of in-service seminars, conceivably sponsored by an organization such as CMS.


"The more or less contemptuous attitude throughout the profession toward this kind of course probably begins with the graduate students, who assume in their earliest professional contact that this is the low rung on the totem pole. We're inclined to motivate them toward wanting to deal with other musicians."

"When you talk of internships, you have to make a difference in what now is a kind of indentured servant internship. What you mean is that the senior profes, sor would work with the graduate student to counteract the contemptuous attitude."

"The word'breadth'was thrown into the discussion quite casually. It seems to be spitting into a gale force wind to think that graduate students are going to be willing to move from specialization and depth into breadth, as much as we feel that it is important. How is that going to work politically?"


Group C, charged with looking into political considerations, considered first "the status of the teacher of the course of music in general studies and the fact that this status needs to be improved. Are the rewards for teaching such courses in proper proportion with the rewards that come from doing research or teaching more advanced courses? Does the teacher of this sort of course have any power at all within the university community? We talked about enrollments. And we talked about the balances between listening, composing and performing.

"First, we recommend that music in general studies be recognized as an important speciality. On many campuses in our country, it is not considered an area of speciality. It is important that music in general studies be so recognized.

"Second, we recommend that institutions hire and promote the development of the best qualified faculty, ideally a faculty with a good balance of expertise between teaching ability, scholarship and performing ability.

"Finally, we recommend that proper recognition be given to music in general studies by professional societies and also by accrediting agencies. The music in general studies program should be given at least equal consideration with performance, theory, and history by professional organizations and by the agencies that come to do the accrediting. "


Group D, charged with investigating the format of general studies courses, identified two types, the internal and the external. "In any kind of music for general studies, internal format should comprise one or more of the musical behaviors of listening, performing, or composing. External format should involve campus musical activities containing one of the musical behaviors -- musical activities which normally have some outreach aspect such as concerts, media presnetation, and so on.

"Recommendation number one: To inventory music resources available but not currently being utilized in an attempt to bring together the various disparate elements of music on the campus in general studies. Interdisciplinary courses which integrate music with some other discipline, performing ensembles of many varieties, and performance in applied music such as voice class and piano class can be incorporated in music in general studies.

"Recommendation number two: In schools where there are major music programs as well as music in general studies, general students should be mixed with music majors wherever possible, when one situation calls for musical behaviors common to all. If the non-music major, for example, can play at a standard that is acceptable, he should be included in a performing ensemble with music majors.

"Finally, we reached a conclusion that any format which provides for growth in listening, performing, or composing can be made to work successfully in general studies by a skillful teacher. Individual students will require a variety of modes of format, both internal and external."


Much of the Wingspread Conference took place informally, with exchanges of ideas over meals, at scheduled breaks, and late into the night after the last session of the day had closed. In such a situ, ation, innovative approaches for music courses were constantly discussed, and at one point the informal merged with the formal in a "show-andtell" session highlighting original ways of reaching the student. The following is a brief sample.

Elaine Brody (New York University) organizes a course around the repertory of the Metropolitan Opera. While this is obviously of most advantage to an institution in New York, the increasing number of operas on television makes possible something similar across the country.

Following the same line of thought, Willard Hahnenberg (Western Michigan University) tailors the content of his course to the university concert series.

James O'Brien (University of Arizona) follows a traditional format in the classroom but allows the students choice in their outside activities through a system of individual "contracts."

Ken McIntyre (SUNY-Old Westbury) involves his students in rhythmic improvisation using jazz and African traditions.

Elliott Schwartz (Bowdoin College) also involves beginning students in actual performance but in a very different fashion. He has composed "Music for Soloist and Audience," which calls for the listeners to participate by clapping, humming, and speaking on cue.

Robert Trotter (University of Oregon), representing a number of innovators working to expand the repertory, places equal emphasis on the Western art repertory, the Western popular repertory, and repertories of other cultures around the world.

Gene Nichols (Northern Illinois University) has organized his students into a circus band.

Other approaches presented or discussed include the organization of jazz history by specific geographical areas, the use of computers in the organization and manipulation of sound, and the presentation to beginners of such specialized areas as acoustics, electronic music, and music theory.

The brief sharing of experiences left the impression that further investigation into the variety of approaches would open almost limitless possibilities.


For the final Plenary Session, each of the four discussion groups was charged with making recommendations to the College Music Society for further steps. Again, a wide variety of approaches produced a remarkably unified and relatively small number of suggestions:

  1. That CMS seek an active cooperative relationship with the National Association of Schools of Music and other concerned organizations to carry out the recommendations of the Wingspread Conference.
  2. That CMS sponsor summer workshops and in-service seminars for those teaching music courses in general studies. These would require that "master teachers" in the area be identified as instructors, to visit classes as consultants and to organize apprentice programs for the new and less experienced teacher. The seminars and workshops should occasionally be directed to "such areas as new music and world music, and could also include techniques of presentation including full utilization of the department and university resources."
  3. That CMS sponsor a conference for music executives. The conference would consider the role of administration in creating and promoting a strong program of music in general studies and would consider specifically the question of the status of the teacher in such programs.
  4. That study and resource guides be published periodically, including bibliography and discography, and emphasizing those areas in which teachers are most likely to be ill-prepared.
  5. That an inventory be taken of music in general studies and those who teach it, and that a means be developed for identifying exemplary programs. Such an inventory would serve as information to be used in the implementation of Recommendations 2, 3, and 4.
  6. That CMS project a future conference, to be preceded by extensive research and to be addressed to "the specifics of what can and should be successful in music in general studies."
  7. That CMS encourage teachers in general education to extend their teaching to "the community at large in areas such as continuing education, recreation, or community action centers, and to establish seminars to work with other professionals in this area."
  8. That a study be developed to determine the "impact of general education courses in music on students after they have graduated."
  9. That CMS enlist the cooperation of the music industry through the American Music Conference and the National Piano Foundation to disseminate widely information concerning music in general education.

The final hours of the Wingspread Conference brought a consensus in the feeling of commitment, a consensus in the feeling of the urgency of the task, and a near consensus in the directions for future steps. In discussion among the participants, one new point of emphasis emerged beyond the nine recommendations: the need for communication, to state our case and promote our programs among those who do not know us or who oppose us, as well as to continue the exchange of ideas and debate within what was called "our real fraternity."

"Whatever results from this conference should be circulated not only to our own constituency, but to other constituencies which we have failed to reach -- academic policy makers, the educational leadership of the country, and the philanthropic foundations of the country -- all of which are highly organized and communicate within themselves."

"There is a need for proselytizing, a need for the ripple effect. We cannot get all of the teachers and administrators together at one time; there must be a network of communication, so that within reason all people are touched by what we are talking about."

In a brief closing message to the Conference, CMS President Barbara Maris shared with the participants the letters by which Howard Smither, president of the American Musicological Society, and Robert Bays, president of the National Association of Schools of Music, offered significant support from their organizations for the Wingspread Conference and its goals. She pledged for CMS the establishment of coalitions with these organizations and with others concerned about music in general studies. All the resources of CMS, President Maris continued, will be employed in communications -- Symposium, the Newsletter, and both national and regional meetings. "The concerns we have grappled with in these three days supercede all other concerns in the music profession. The musical education of the general university student must become our top priority. We must find ways of carrying out those goats you expressed earlier."

Charles Carroll, charged with bringing the Conference to a conclusion, reminded the participants that "the problems which existed when we arrived here on Friday still exist. Parnassus is still waiting to be climbed." Carroll's emphasis, reflecting a major concern throughout the Conference, was placed on the continuation of the work begun at Wingspread.

"We are all deeply involved in the problems which have been brought out during the discussions, and all are firmly resolved to continue working toward solutions in the future. Now we must return to our campuses and fight the ABC's of resistance to the kind of change which must come. This is my injunction to you as we leave today: We have walked the first mile together, defining the problems and proposing solutions. Now let us return to our home campuses and walk the second mile, spreading the good news of music in general studies."


The Wingspread Conference was a beginning.

On the day after The Conference closed, President Maris appointed a Planning Committee (Chairman David Willoughby, Robert Steinbauer, and Phillip Rhodes) to develop and refine the recommendations of the Wingspread Conference — to select the most practical immediate course for the future and to plan the next steps. At the national meeting of The College Music Society on 14–18 October [1981] in Cincinnati, this committee presented its plan. The recommendations were reduced to six areas:

  • a national workshop for curriculum development, tentatively set for summer 1982;
  • a conference for music executives, addressed specifically to the issues of administration in relation to music in general studies and to the question of the status of the general studies teacher;
  • data collection, designed to assess the state of the art, to find out what is taking place nationally through profiles of teachers, students, and curricula;
  • programs relating to music in general studies at CMS regional chapter meetings;
  • cooperation with the National Association of Schools of Music and other national educational organizations;
  • funding from corporate and private foundation sources to support activities developing emphasis on music in general studies.

For each of these areas, a chairman has been appointed, and plans are moving ahead. The details of these plans are beyond the scope of this Conference Report, but it is certain that the "ripple effect" called for in the final session is already under way. The Wingspread Conference has focused attention on an essential area that has too often suffered neglect in higher education. The Conference has defined issues, sought solutions, and pointed the way toward a new emphasis on music in general studies. Above all, the Conference has provided the impetus for continued work.

The true significance of the Wingspread Conference lies ahead.


CMS Conference Committee
Barbara English Maris, President, CMS
David Willoughby, Director, Member-at-Large for Music in General Education
Chappell White, Past President, CMS

Discussion Group Moderators
Elliott Schwartz
Gene Wenner
Robert Werner
Robert Steinbauer

Discussion Group Reporters
Anne Mayer
Bruno Nettl
Dan Politoske
Thomas Miller

Publications Committee
Charles Carroll
Barbara English Maris
Chappell White
David Willoughby

Executive Secretary, CMS
Craig Short

For the Johnson Foundation
Henry Halsted, Vice President
Kay Mauer, Conference Coordinator


Gregory S. Athnos, North Park College

Raymond A. Barr, University of Miami

Elaine Brody, New York University

Vada E. Butcher, Spelman College

Charles Capwell, University of Illinois

Charles M. Carroll, St. Petersburg Junior College

R. Gary Deavel, Manchester College

Willard Hahnenberg, Western Michigan University

Warner L. Imig, University of Colorado

Dominic J. Intili, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Helen L. Lightner, New York University

Barbara English Maris, Catholic University of America

Anne B. Mayer, Carleton College

Kevin J. McCarthy, University of Colorado

Ken A. McIntyre, State University of New York at Old Westbury

Thomas W. Miller, Northwestern University

Bruno Nettl, University of Illinois

Gene Nichols, Northern Illinois University

James P. O'Brien, University of Arizona

Jasper W. Patton, Jr., Norfolk State University

Daniel T. Politoske, University of Kansas

Phillip Rhodes, Carleton College

M. Suzanne Roy, Pennsylvania State University

Allen Sapp, University of Cincinnati

Elliott Schwartz, Bowdoin College

Craig Short, The College Music Society

Robert A. Steinbauer, Kansas State University

Arthur R. Tollefson, Northwestern University

Robert Trotter, University of Oregon

Larry Warkentin, Fresno Pacific College

Gene C. Wenner, American Music Conference

Robert J. Werner, University of Arizona

Chappell White, Kansas State University

Roger Wilhelm, University of Rochester

David Willoughby, Eastern New Mexico University

George H. Zimmerman, University of Dayton



Friday, 10 July 1981

Plenary Session

Welcome from The College Music Society
Barbara English Maris, President

David Willoughby, Conference Director

Keynote Commentaries

Elaine Brody, New York University
Robert Trotter, University of Oregon
Vada E. Butcher, Spelman College
Thomas W. Miller, Northwestern University

Charge to the Conference
Robert J. Werner, University of Arizona

Saturday, 10 July 1981

Plenary Session: Instructions to Discussion Groups
Discussion Groups, Session I: Identifying Three Priority Issues
Plenary Session: Reports from Discussion Groups; Open Discussion
Plenary Session: Instructions to Discussion Groups
Discussion Groups, Session II: Devising up to Three Potential Solutions to an Assigned Problem
Plenary Session: Reports from Discussion Groups; Open Discussion
Showcase: Special Presentations by Participants Coordinated by Craig Short, CMS Executive Secretary

Sunday, 12 July 1981

Plenary Session: Instructions to Discussion Groups
Discussion Groups, Session III: Identifying Three Post Conference Activities
Plenary Session: Reports from Discussion Groups; Open Discussion
Luncheon: Summary, Charles M. Carroll, Editor, Symposium
Final Remarks and Adjournment: Barbara English Maris