Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Arts Advocacy Corner

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Arts Advocacy Corner

Article excerpt

A new school year in 2013 is beginning. Everything is changing; everything stays the same. We plan. We assess. We advocate. We make music. Vive la music!

To reflect from my rocking chair for a moment, I remember the 1965 CMEA Conference in Calgary where I presented my survey of music education in Canada, which I did mostly on the phone, talking to fine folks from coast to coast. How I wish I had Social Internet Media back then!

Seems so long ago!

We struggled then. We still do. As the writer Joseph Campbell stated: "We were then in a mess. We are in a mess. We will always be in a mess. That is exactly the way it should be."

Here we are still talking about music advocacy when we know deep down that music making is in our primordial DNA.

"Officials in charge of education curriculum and policy, get on board!" I grump to myself. "When will you get it?! Music rocks!"

So I wistfully return to my computer keyboard once again to address the Sisyphean task of music advocacy, when I actually believe that the self-evident worth of music in human experience and the natural world makes the phrase "music advocacy" redundant. Sigh!.

"It's about spirit and soul, Dummie," that still small voice of calm whispers in my ear.

Moving on...

So what's going on?

Well, "the economy and jobs" seem to be the current mantra. Just ask Stephen Harper.

In balance, Chris Hadfield and the Coalition for music Education in Canada staged a coup by having this year's "Coalition Song" beamed from space. An out-of-the-world experience! The symbolism in stating the position for music education from space was palpable and explicit for Canada. And the world. Not bad.

So let's just revel for a moment in that glory and pride . (How Un-Canadian!).

Music Makes Us

When you are on Facebook check out the Coalition's website at "Music Makes us".

Ah, social media! Better yet, join the Coalition.

I actually read the online Facebook comments and I must say that I actually "felt the buzz" of excitement of folks across Canada about music education and the "Hadfield Celestial Experience." The chats on Facebook go a long way to bringing us together as Canadians. Wow, what a "mused tribal" experience!

Yes but...

OK, after the buzz of Hadfield et al., let's reflect on some changes and reports, and current writers who are worth considering as we deal with a rapidly changing world culture, which we try to reflect smartly in our teaching.

First of all, I recommend this book: Finnish Lessons: What can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland by Pasi Sahlberg. Remember, Finland topped the world in its achievement as an educational system. This is an inspirational book, and is an antidote to what we have created in our system's obsession with behaviourist measurement of skills to the detriment of a holistic human education.

Job training. Job skills. Literacy (especially in writing and reading avoiding speech). Technology. The three R's, Et cetera. Et cetera.... This reductive stuff is what the BC Education Plan-for but one example-is about now in its "new" vision for our education system. Yawn!

OK, so we can buy into that to a degree, but how about the research that also states that we must be considered human beings with human needs and attributes of communication and social skill needs and so forth. …

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