December, 1985

Phillip Rhodes

The College Music Society enjoyed a very successful 1985 Annual Meeting which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 7-10, 1985. Over two hundred and fifty persons registered for the CMS meeting, and a total of over 1,100 persons attended the meetings of CMS, AMS, SEM, and SMT. The Program Committee Chair, Gerard Behague of the University of Texas at Austin, and the members of the Program Committee are to be congratulated for assembling an enjoyable and thought provoking program.

The CMS Board held its fall meeting in Vancouver on November 7. In addition to the usual business matters of the Society, the agenda for the meeting included items of critical importance to the college music teaching profession: 1) the Report of the Task Force on Music in General Studies; 2) issues concerning the preparation of college music teachers and the quality of college music teaching; 3) the content of the college music curriculum; 4) the concept of a research agenda for music in higher education; 5) matters relating to College Music Simposium.  

Each of these items is of immense importance to the Society and to our work as college teachers. These issues will be the focus of the work of the Society during the remainder of 1985 and during 1986. Reports on our progress with them will be disseminated during the coming months.

The Report of the Task Force on Music in General Studies included several recommendations for future action in this important area. Among these were: 1) bringing the music in general studies concern into a new phase of development by considering the relationship of academe to the community at large; 2) future institutes, publications, and information dissemination projects concerned with our present phase of music in general studies; 3) further exploration of music in general studies—in all its implications—and how these relate to the programs of the Annual Meetings of the National Society and the Regional Chapters.

Three recent reports on the condition of college teaching and the training of college teachers have captured the attention of the college teaching community. "Involvement in Learning: Realizing the Potential of American Higher Education", "To Reclaim a Legacy", and "Integrity in the College Curriculum: A Report to the College Community" are of great importance to our community and could have tremendous effect upon our work. The CMS Board has determined that these reports and the national debate in progress at this time simply cannot be ignored. Thus, the Society will be considering very carefully what these reports mean to music teaching in higher education. We should also note that many of the issues raised in these reports are directly related to many of the concerns and philosophies of our music in general studies program.

The National Association of Schools of Music has introduced the concept of a research agenda for music in higher education. The College Music Society will address this idea as it relates to college music teaching. We also hope to work with NASM on this project by assisting in the continuing development of a dialogue between professors and administrators.

And as always, the Society will seek to serve its membership through the dissemination of information on all of these topics. To this end, we will be appointing an editor of College Music Symposium to succeed Theodore Albrecht who has admirably handled this task during 1983, 1984, and 1985. We are also hard at work on the question of the frequency of the publication of Symposium. As is obvious, we do not lack for important issues that need a forum for discussion and consideration. We are attempting to develop the means by which the Society will be able to publish its journal as often as the issues facing the college music teaching profession demand.

Attention to the many issues and projects discussed in this message will mean increased commitments of time and energy from our officers, our membership, and our National Office staff. Accordingly, I will be requesting the assistance of all officers and members during the coming months as study groups are assembled to consider these matters. In order that the officers and membership can be well served operationally, the Board has approved a dues increase to insure that our National Office staff can be increased by one additional person. This will, of course, enhance our ability to develop services and projects. As announced elsewhere in this newsletter, a $5 increase in dues for 1986 has been approved for regular, joint, and student membership. This increase in dues, the first since 1982, will enable our staff size to reflect more adequately the tasks that the Board has asked our National Office to accomplish, and will enable the Society to focus its attention on the present concerns facing the profession.

I hope the membership will actively participate in the Society's efforts to deal with the many issues that affect the teaching of music in higher education. There is, indeed, a great deal at stake.