June, 1986

Phillip Rhodes

A Message from the President 

I am pleased to report to the membership that several new projects are underway which will have considerable implications for college music teachers and, perhaps, for the profession as a whole.  

Two of these projects have arisen from recent studies and reports which, within the context of higher education, seek to address the problems of 1) teacher preparation and the quality of college teaching; 2) the integrity of the undergraduate curriculum. Since the mission of the Society is to gather, consider, and disseminate information/ideas concerning the teaching of music in our colleges and universities, we feel that it is our responsibility, and appropriately so, to address these issues on behalf of the music profession.

Study Groups - At its spring meeting in Memphis (March, 1986), the CMS Board endorsed the formation of two Study Groups to undertake a lengthy and thorough consideration of these critical issues. The charge to the Study Groups has been formulated as follows: 1) A Study of the Content of the Undergraduate Music Curriculum; 2) A Study of the Preparation of College Music Teachers and the Quality of Music Teaching in Higher Education.

The work of each study group will consist of three phases: 1) the gathering of materials and information (not only facts, but opinions about and evaluation of those facts); 2) consideration of these materials; 3) the writing of a report for dissemination to the college music teaching community. In addition, the curriculum Study Group will conduct a survey of national curricular practice which seeks to 1) determine the general basis and orientation of college music curricula; 2) identify exemplary curricula based upon various cultural assumptions. As plans now stand, the findings and report of each Study Group will be disseminated to the profession through special CMS reports or special issues of College Music Symposium.

I should like to point out that it is not the purpose of the Study Groups to provide the "final answers" to all questions; they may not, in fact, provide any "answers". Rather, their mission is to serve the college music teaching profession by introducing the profession to these concerns through 1) the formulation of an appropriate set of questions; 2) undertaking a discussion of these questions and fostering an open dialogue concerning as many potential "answers" to them as the profession can imagine; 3) disseminating a report that will stimulate further inquiry as the profession may find appropriate.

In support of the Study Groups and their work, the CMS Board Members and their Advisory Committees will be available for consultation and responsible for providing information concerning the relationship of the various music disciplines to the topics under discussion. In addition, the membership of the Society will be called upon throughout the entire process for reaction to the Study Groups' deliberations.

A Concept for the Annual Meetings - The Board has also considered and adopted a concept for the study and presentation of indigenous American musics as a major component of the Society's Annual Meetings. Having said that, perhaps I should take this opportunity to clearly state that this component is not intended to replace the "normal" content of the Annual Meeting; it will, rather, function as a concurrent track of the meeting program.

The American music component of the meeting program will focus upon the indigenous musics of the city/region in which the Annual Meeting is being held. The goals of this focus will be to: 1) study the musics from the vantage point of each of the music disciplines (i.e., composition, ethnomusicology, music education, music in general studies, musicology, performance, and theory); 2) consider the problems inherent in teaching the musics to college students; 3) present as many authentic performances as possible.

Although this concept will be applied to each city/region in which we meet in the years ahead, three meetings are currently being developed as a biennial "series" intended to view the historical movement of music and culture along the traditional travel routes of the Mississippi Valley region. This series of meetings will take place in New Orleans (1987), St. Louis (1989), and Chicago (1991).

The scope of this entire undertaking is, to the best of our knowledge, without precedent among the profession's various societies. It represents an enormously complex challenge that will require careful planning and much hard work. We are convinced, however, that the potential gains are well worth the effort. I hope you will agree that this is an important venture and a concept that breaks new ground for the Society's Annual Meetings. We invite your support and participation.

In the meantime, I shall close by mentioning the 1986 Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida, (October 9-12). Professor Dale Olsen of Florida State University, Program Chair, and the CMS Program Committee have put together an extraordinarily exciting and informative meeting:- A major emphasis of the program will focus on the musics found in the southern Florida area and will include: the musics of the Caribbean Islands with their South American and African influences; the musics of Latin America, including Mexico and Central America; and music of the Jewish-American tradition. We hope you will be able to attend.