In Conversation with President Brian Kai Chin

 chin brian

Hello Friends and Colleagues in The College Music Society,

Traditionally, the CMS Common Topic is established by an incoming president once every two years. The idea behind the concept is that this theme will serve as a frame for the initiatives of this presidency and for the conferences and conversations within. I am honored to have served as Vice President of CMS to both of our most recent Past Presidents, Dr. Eileen Hayes and Dr. Mark Rabideau. Dr. Hayes responded to the national reckoning of the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and George Floyd by calling for CMS to become an anti-racist organization. Dr. Rabideau led us through the pandemic and brought CMS into this modern era while calling on us to lead change from within the academy. My hope is to continue the legacy of my predecessors by standing upon their shoulders to bring us forward into the era to come.

As you will see below, I am striving to create a Common Topic that can frame the good work of the folks of CMS while turning hard into CMS as a platform for continued growth in professional development and leadership, a safe and welcoming organization for everyone in music higher education, and for bold ideas in teaching and learning in music.

Imagine a performance pedagogy rooted in curiosity, creativity, and joy; that teaches and affirms our unique voices, nurtures our ability to create, and emboldens our responsibility to lead in our communities. The College Music Society can make a positive impact toward a brilliant future in music learning and the power of art in our communities.


Growth is about embracing the discomfort of the messy process. It’s about openness to possibility. It's about curiosity. It's about expansion, evolution, and nurturing belonging in our human-centered art form.

CMS will fulfill our GROW imperative through conversations about and experimentation with integrating lifelong learning practices into our learning, our teaching, our artistry, our practice, our cultures, and our sense of purpose and belonging.

Creativity is a shared human universal and we in CMS have chosen music as our tool to cultivate a deep impact in uniting, healing, and nurturing social belonging in our cultures. It is essential that the 21st-century musician is aware of and connected to the power of intentional socially conscious artmaking.

CMS will fulfill our CREATE imperative by leading conversations and building pathways to position the artist, and all of our unique voices, at the center of everything we do in music learning, teaching, research, and performing.

It is vital that we deliberately cultivate, support, and inspire leaders for the coming generations. We will build leaders in the areas of lifelong learning, transformative teaching, embodied performance, genre fluidity, and cultural belonging.

CMS will fulfill our LEAD imperative by being a vehicle for hosting courageous conversations, inspiring bold planning, building resource repositories, creating certification programs, expanding our professional development opportunities, organizing daring think-tank summits, and training and positioning leaders throughout the College Music Society and our institutions of learning to create a positive impact on our world.

I would like to invite you all to engage in this wide yet specific common topic. I want to use this to establish a platform for robust conversation and bold ideas. Another way to interpret the ideas of “Grow. Create. Lead.” is to look at how it plays out in our music schools in the growth of our pedagogical practices in music learning – embodiment, expanding the canon, exploring best practices in our academic and performance pedagogy; in creating cultures of belonging, and inspiring musicians to take ownership of their own creative and artistic lives; in messaging that making music is meaning-making and is a fundamental part of our brain’s development, and that music is an essential component of what it means to be human; and in leading for future generations as a community committed to lifelong growth and ongoing professional development.

I look forward to the conversations!


A close-up of a signature

Description automatically generated

Brian Kai Chin
President, College Music Society