May, 1992

Anne Dhu Shapiro

... to define the work of the professoriate narrowly chiefly in terms of the research model—is to deny many powerful realities. . . other forms of scholarship—teaching, integration, and application—must be fully acknowledged and placed on a more equal footing with discovery."

Ernest L. Boyer
Scholarship Reconsidered, p. 77

I quote this statement by Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation at the beginning of my message because it summarizes some of the very ideals for which The College Music Society stands—good teaching, the integration of the several disciplines of music, as well as of other areas in the humanities, arts, and sciences, and the application of our knowledge for the good of the communities in which we live.

In this time of transition for The College Music Society we have been focusing on clarifying our basic missions and on communicating these to the world of higher education, both within and outside the organization. A flurry of publications has resulted, some of which you will undoubtedly have seen: the January Newsletter articles by each of the national board members, accompanied by a brochure urging you to invite a colleague to join, as well as a large poster sent to each Department and School of Music, advertising both the advantages of subscribing to the Music Faculty Vacancy List issued by CMS Publications, Inc. and of joining The College Music Society. Very shortly a letter will go out to all 30,000 teachers of music in higher education listed in the Directory of Music Faculties (yourselves included).

The goal of all this activity? To make sure that all the people who can contribute to CMS, and who can in turn benefit from it, know about the organization. In this time of change in higher education, when the priorities of many administrations are beginning at last to shift in the direction of giving good teaching the weight it deserves, The College Music Society, with its concern for an ongoing dialogue about teaching, can also come into its own. There is need for both the specialty organizations, where the most advanced research can find interest groups and support, and for an umbrella organization, where the important dialogue that must go on between specialties and among disciplines, can thrive. CMS is that umbrella organization.

In the Executive Committee meetings this Spring we devoted some time to thinking about how CMS could also assume some leadership in asserting the importance of music in the larger world of higher education. As budget cuts continue in the 1990s, how will music survive? How can we best communicate the importance of music study so that it will not be among the areas perceived as increasingly irrelevant to a modern education? These are issues that need discussion, and CMS is an appropriate forum for that discussion.

To that end, we have declared as a central theme for discussion at all levels of CMS for the coming year "The Survival of Music in Higher Education." Many possible sub-topics might emerge—How best can music make itself felt in core curricula? Can we influence the better teaching of music (or in many places the teaching of music at all) in grades K-12? We're working now on a plenary-session speaker for the San Diego meeting coming from the world of higher education outside the music profession, who can put us on the spot by telling us how we're seen in the larger picture. Are we seen as a frill, as expendable? If so, can we change this image?

As usual, I would welcome hearing from you personally with whatever comments you have on any of these issues. The College Music Society is only as strong as its members and the ideas they generate.