Magazine article American Music Teacher

Working Together to Prepare Music Students for 21st-Century Careers: Examining the Relationships among Musicians, Educators and Industry to Promote Music Participation in America

Magazine article American Music Teacher

Working Together to Prepare Music Students for 21st-Century Careers: Examining the Relationships among Musicians, Educators and Industry to Promote Music Participation in America

Article excerpt

In the 21st century we know career definitions are changing quickly. We know students and job markets are changing quickly. The tools with which we do business, interact socially, and even play and teach music have been completely transformed in this century.

With so much change and uncertainty, we may ask ourselves, "How can we make sure great music continues to be a part of hearts and minds?" or "How can we make sure we are giving students the tools they need to succeed in a constantly changing music world?" Regardless of whether we are preparing students for a life of enjoying music with their families or a life on stage, it is our responsibility to make sure they are equipped with the right skills, tools and expectations to meet their goals. Identifying those tools and skills for the future is a daunting, but necessary task. To quote the author Daniel Pink, "We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past."

The past is comfortable, no doubt, and since most of us were students in the 20th century, we can well relate to hours in practice rooms preparing for the ultimate career in music--performing great repertoire for giant audiences. Whether or not those solo careers materialized, we may have also held a notion that we might like to teach, maybe even in an institution. Repertoire was the rule of our training, and we did whatever it took to play solo juries and recitals. Technology products (which admittedly weren't always up to the quality standards of many teachers and performers) were often dismissed as fringe fads.

But, we're no longer in the 20th century. Even graduates of major conservatories don't usually expect to have careers of pure solo playing. Institutional positions are intensely competitive, with sometimes hundreds of candidates applying for rare openings. Even studio teachers complain about losing students to other activities.

So how do we adapt to this new frontier of musicianship? It helps to start with examining what ANY career might look like in the 21st century and then see how we all--industry, performers and educators alike--can work together to offer music in ways that compel 21st-century audiences.

Urban Existence

Although we're only 15 years in to the 21st century, certain trends have become clear. First, popular statistical analyses indicate that jobs in the 21st century will be increasingly URBAN (The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that as of 2010 more than half of the world's population now lives in cities). But for musicians, urban living has often presented a challenge--where to put a grand piano in a 700-square-foot apartment, how to practice when the neighbors (or children, or others) are asleep.

As these needs become clear, the music industry has begun to offer some amazingly realistic SILENT instruments--pianos, violins, guitars, even brass mutes, which are either purely silent or have the option to become silent and played with headphones. The IDEA of silent playing, is of course no new thing at all--Leopold Mozart was said to have practiced on a mute violin, and pianos with mute rails or even completely silent pianos (with actions but not strings) have been available since the 19th century. The difference is that now we have the opportunity to practice quietly and still enjoy a quality aural experience in our headphones.

Distance Solutions

We don't need statistics to tell us how mobile we all are--just check your pockets and count the devices! Of course mobility in the 21st century doesn't have much to do with getting on trains or planes--being mobile means delivering a service (like musical performances or teaching) over any distance at any time. Certainly, those of us who don't live in urban settings will increasingly need to rely on distance solutions.

One terrific example of a music teacher collaborating with an industry partner in this regard is the pianist Inna Faliks. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.